CHANNAHON – With the Southwest Prairie Conference game between Minooka and Plainfield North within four points heading into the final quarter, the league contest took a decided turn.
Making 13 free throws in the final frame, the Indians cruised to a 62-49 win against the Tigers.
Minooka coach Scott Tanaka credited the last several games leading up to the SPC meeting that made the difference.
“We changed the way we play eight games ago and we are 6-2 since then,” he said. “Since we’ve changed what we are doing, we’re a much better basketball team. Even though this is like our eighth game in seven days, the kids have been playing with a lot of grit and toughness and it showed.”
Adam Alexander made five of six from the line in the fourth quarter, en route to a 18-point night to lead the Indians.
Minooka also out rebounded North in the fourth quarter 8-5 – the only time the Indians held an advantage on the boards.
“Our game plan is actually oriented more defensively,” Tanaka said. “I think it also helped us to be in the Martin Luther King Tournament. ... we played great teams and that got us ready for a very good team like Plainfield North.”
Plainfield North coach Bob Krahulic said the biggest difference in the game was found at the free throw lines.
“The biggest difference was free throws. They were on the line all night and we weren’t,” he said. “It wasn’t called equally. They were bodying us all night and when we would body them a little bit, we’d get called for it.
“We never got into our game because of it. We were not able to play our style of basketball.”
Minooka shot 38 free throws on the night and made 26 of them. North shot 16 charity tosses, making 10.
Neal Tyrell backed Alexander with 13 points. On the other side, Kevin Kreiger led the way with 14 points while Trevor Stumpe added 13 markers.
Minooka is 11-11 and 4-3 while North moves to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in league action.