AURORA – Tim Zettinger had one of his better offensive nights of the season, and the St. Francis boys basketball team’s defense did the rest.
Zettinger finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the No. 2-seeded St. Francis boys basketball team to a 43-32 victory Wednesday over No. 3 seed Kaneland in an IHSA Class 3A IMSA Regional semifinal.
“I don’t care about the points as long as we play as a team and get the victory,” said Zettinger, who scored 12 of his 21 in the second half. “We’re a unit and we work together, and I think we really showed that in the fourth quarter.”
After Kaneland grabbed a 31-29 lead on Matt Limbrunner’s 3-pointer with 4:18 left, the Spartans finished the game with a 14-1 scoring run.
“We did a tremendous job defensively,” St. Francis coach Bob Ward said. “Our seniors really stepped up and this was a real team win.”
Kaneland staked a 4-0 lead at the start of the game after two quick baskets from senior Dan Miller and later extended their lead to 7-2 on 1-of-2 free throws from Tyler Carlson, but St. Francis fought back and put together a 6-0 scoring run to grab an 8-7 lead after one quarter.
Both teams then traded baskets for the first three minutes of the second quarter. It wasn’t until Andrew Kimball’s basket with 43 seconds left that the Spartans were able to grab a little momentum, taking a 17-14 lead at halftime.
“It was like pulling teeth between both teams the whole game,” Ward said. “Both teams defended real well and played great, but we had just enough to pull it out in the end.”
Along with Zettinger’s effort, senior Kevin McShea added 7 points and Kimball finished with 6 to lead the Spartans. Miller led the Knights with 10 points.
“This is a tough loss, but I thought we did a great job defensively,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said. “But they sealed the deal by executing and we couldn’t hit shots at the end.”
The Knights finish the season with a 16-12 record.
“We’ve got a great group of young men,” Johnson said. “They’re great in the classroom and just respectful in everything they do. I can’t say enough about them. We had a great season.”
Aurora Central Catholic 41, Wheaton Academy 37: Senior Anthony Andujar picked the perfect time to hit his first 3-pointer of the night in the first regional semifinal.
Andujar buried the shot from just beyond the top of the key to give the No. 6-seeded Chargers a 41-37 victory over top-seeded Wheaton Academy.
“I knew I was going to make it,” said Andujar, who was 0 for 4 from the 3-point arc before his game-winner. “There was a lot of guys on me, but I had all the confidence that it was going in.”
The shot capped an 18-5 Aurora Central Catholic run after Wheaton Academy held a 32-23 lead with 5:56 left.
“I didn’t think it was going to unfold like this but we felt confident that if we kept it close into the fourth quarter that we could pull it out,” Chargers coach Nathe Drye said. “Our kids are pretty resilient and we have a knack that when our guys have a chance to make a big play they step up big.”
Senior Phil Schuetz led Aurora Central Catholic with 16 points while senior Shawn Soris added 11. Junior Gordon Behr led Wheaton Academy with 13 points.