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The Frankfort Station 021617

54 | February 16, 2017 |

54 | February 16, 2017 | The frankfort station Sports Lincoln-Way handily wins sectional to advance to state Frank Gogola Freelance Reporter Lincoln-Way co-op and Sandburg co-op girls gymnastics dominated at the Oswego Sectional in their own ways. Lincoln-Way’s depth helped it win the sectional championship despite the team having its worst scoring performance of the postseason Thursday, Feb. 9, at Oswego High School. Junior Una Farrell qualified for state as an individual in all five events, while junior Gabby DeVito, sophomore Barb Belka and freshman Korina Jarosz qualified in one event each. “I’m just proud of the girls and proud of the season,” said Lincoln-Way coach Kim Lago. “They’ve fought so hard this season. We had a huge injury (junior Maddie Flondor) in December, and the girls just kept fighting through and came together as a team. It just was amazing.” After finishing second at sectional the past two years, Lincoln-Way won its first sectional title since the 2005- 06 season. The program will be making its first state appearance as a team since the 2007-08 season. “I can’t wait,” Farrell said of going to state with the team after qualifying as an individual the past two seasons. “It’s going to be so much fun just because everybody’s going to be there. We’re one big, happy family. I’m just so happy I get to experience this with all of them.” Lincoln-Way’s 144.075 points were 3.875 points better than second-place Downers Grove South’s 140.200. Lincoln-Way posted the best team score in vault (36.625), floor (36.275), bars (35.800) and beam (35.375). The 144.075 is a drop from its regional-winning score of 145.475, which was down from a season-high 145.95 to win the South- • Mar 4 - Apr 15 • Saturdays, 9am - 11am • 7 Week Program • $250 Per Player • Ages 8 - 14 Lincoln-Way’s sectional title is the team’s first since the 2007-2008 season. West Suburban Conference championship. It is also the lowest score of the four sectional winners: DeKalb put up a 148.575, Prairie Ridge posted a 147.850 and Glenbrook South had a 145.450. The second-half run has continued without Flondor, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in December. She was in her first season competing for Lincoln-Way after coming over from club gymnastics, and she was expected to be an all-arounder. “She would show up to practices and push us and make sure that we were working hard,” Farrell said. “We needed to make sure that we wouldn’t let her down because she worked so hard for us.” Farrell took third in allaround (36.475), finishing 0.025 points behind the firstplace tie (36.500) between Sandburg’s Maddie Giglio and Lyons Township’s Olivia Kalata. She placed fourth on beam (9.075), tied for fourth on floor (9.200), took fifth on bars (8.925) and tied for fifth on vault (9.275). Last year, Farrell placed 28th at state on beam. She finished 32nd on vault as a freshman. “This is finally her moment to shine,” Lago said. “She knows what to expect, having been at the state series for two years. For her, this is the big part of the season, this is her exciting part, where for others it’s a lot of nerves.” Junior Gabby DeVito placed fourth on vault (9.300) to advance to state for the second straight season. She finished 26th on floor at state last season. Sophomore Barb Belka earned her first trip to state with a second-place finish on floor (9.300). It’s her first year competing for Lincoln- Way after she spent last year on a club team. Freshman Korina Jarosz will also be making her state debut after taking second on bars (9.325). Jarosz, the SWSC all-around champion, finished 11th in all-around (34.800). “We have yet to have a meet where we hit five-forfive routines,” Lago said. “That’s really our goal at state is to show everybody that hey, Lincoln-Way is a great program, and we’re somebody that everybody’s going to have to watch out for.” Lincoln-Way’s Barb Belka performs her floor routine Thursday, Feb. 9, during the Oswego Sectional. Photos by Mark Korosa/22nd Century Media Una Farrell, who will make her third consecutive trip to state, competes in the vault. Sandburg, the only other area team at the sectional, had a gymnast win all five events, but the top-heavy, young Eagles finished fifth out of six as a team. Freshman Maddie Giglio won the all-around title, and she and junior Maddy Roe qualified for state as individuals in four events each. “The two of them together give us a great 1-2 punch,” Sandburg coach Mike White said. He added: “This is valuable experience, especially for those younger ones who had some falls tonight. We had seven falls last week, so I said, ‘Let’s try and cut it in half,’ and we had eight on the first event on beam. That made it easier for me to lighten the load and say, ‘Let’s have a little fun with this, let’s work on what we need to work on.’” The highest-scoring team and top five individuals automatically qualified for state. At-large advancers will be announced on the IHSA website. Sports the frankfort station | February 16, 2017 | 55 fastbreak Boys basketball With a breakaway dunk, Shafer leads Sandburg blowout by 20 points Mark korosa/22nd century media 1st-and-3 Top Lincoln-Way co-op gymnasts to watch at state competition 1. Korina Jarosz (above) The freshman SWSC all-around champion took second on bars (3.925) at sectional Thursday, Feb. 9, taking her to her first bout at a high school state competition. 2. Una Farrell Farrell, a junior, is a veteran of state competition with two years under her belt. This year, she qualified individually in five events and took third in the allaround at sectional. 3. Gabby DeVito The junior's fourthplace finish on vault at sectional was enough to earn her a second shot at individual state competition. Jon DePaolis Freelance Reporter As Lincoln-Way East junior guard Sam Shafer stole the ball and stormed down the court Tuesday, Feb. 7, heading toward the basket alone, he was reminded of a similar moment that happened just a few weeks ago. “The first game [against Sandburg in January], I had a steal and a breakaway dunk [chance], and I missed it,” Shafer said. “I don’t know what happened. But tonight, I had to get it back. I got the steal, and I knew right when I stole it, I was going to slam it.” Shafer leaped into the air, ball in hand, and slammed it through the basket to give the Griffins a 50-32 lead with just four minutes left to play. He brought the Frankfort crowd to its feet. Shafer said it is all instinct once he’s in the air. “I just feel like I’ve got to get up there, and everything else will take care of itself,” he said. Shafer scored 22 total points in the game — 15 in the second half — and the Griffins blew out the Eagles 56-36 in a SouthWest Suburban Conference matchup. Shafer also had five rebounds, two steals and an assist in the game. “The first time we played them, I took them really lightly,” Shafer admitted, as the Griffins fell to Sandburg in a close contest earlier in the season. “I didn’t think we were going to have a problem, and then they came out and showed us what they had — and they beat us. In this game, I just wanted to show them what we’re made of, and I knew what we were capable of.” But while the Griffins’ scoring was prolific against Sandburg, their defense was the biggest factor of the game. The stingy Griffins forced Sandburg to try and work inside, as the constant rotation and height of the Frankfort squad left few opportunities past the arc. “We were very prepared,” Shafer said. “We didn’t let them get as many outside shots. We wanted them to score inside. When they drove, they didn’t have much height. So, we blocked it or got a rebound.” East coach Rich Kolimas said the defensive effort was the difference. “The story of tonight was our defense,” Kolimas said. “We just put the clamps on [the Eagles]. There were some possessions where they held onto [the ball], and they were trying to score for 45 seconds. But they still couldn’t score. They wound up shooting a three, and a couple times they made them, but I was delighted with our defensive effort. “We are developing some pride in our defense. You take a lot of comfort in that, because you’re not going to shoot the ball well every night. But you can play defense every night.” Despite the score differential at the end of the game, Sandburg was very much in control for most of the first quarter. The Eagles got off to an 8-2 lead through the first three minutes of the game thanks to a game-opening 3-pointer by senior Edmond Mila and five points from junior Barlow Alleruzzo. But the Griffins battled back to take an one-point lead before a 3-pointer by Sandburg’s Sami Ismail ended the first quarter, giving the Eagles a small 15-13 advantage. Then, after tying the game at 15 early in the second quarter, the Griffins rotated in bench players and began to run a perimeter offensive. The results were immediate, as senior forward Dan Mulhollan hit a two-point jumper, and junior forward Brandon Petkoff drained back-to-back 3-pointers to give East a 23-15 lead midway through the quarter. “We thought it was the guys off the bench that really helped us,” Kolimas said of the second quarter surge. “Brandon Petkoff and Dan Mulhollan — those two guys really contributed. Then, we got a little rhythm going offensively. We moved the ball a bit better and got some good looks.” With 28.7 seconds left in the first half, Shafer hit a 3-pointer from the right side to give the Griffins a 28-19 lead going into the break. It may as well have been a dagger, as Shafer would score early and often in the second half to completely take the Eagles out of the game. “They stifled [Shafer] a little bit in that first half, and he came out fired up in the second half,” Kolimas said. Sandburg coach Todd Allen also credited the Griffins defense after the game. “They are really good, and they are playing really well right now,” Allen said of the Griffins. “I knew they were going to be ready to go against us, and I think we stole one from them [in January]. Sam Shafer was very good tonight, and he carried them. He’s a good player, and I thought he really came to play tonight. Leading the way for the Eagles was Mila, who scored 15 points and had two rebounds. “Edmond played really well against them the first time, too,” Allen said. “He shot the ball well, and he’s been struggling a little — so it was good to see.” Alleruzzo finished with eight points and five rebounds, while Jason Pygon added four assists and two steals. Chris Toth and Max Winans each scored two points. “Unfortunately, 36 points is not going to beat a good Lincoln-Way team,” Allen said. “Defensively, I didn’t think we were very good in the second half. We’ve got to keep the game in the 40s for us to have a chance. We just weren’t able to do that tonight, and give credit to Sam Shafer and [the Griffins].” But the Eagles also showed team unity late in the game when reserves got in, with Sandburg’s starters cheering on their teammates voraciously. “We have a good group of kids, and I enjoy coaching them,” Allen said of that team unity. “It’s good to get those kids some playing time, because they bust their butts just like everybody else for six months during the season. It’s unfortunate it had to be in this type of situation, but it’s good to get them in.” Lincoln-Way East improved to 17-9 overall and 4-3 in the conference with the win. The Griffins played Stagg on Friday night in what Kolimas called “an important ballgame,” because the playoff seeds were to come out the following week. East was on a very nice win streak, with victories over tough programs like Lockport Township and Homewood-Flossmoor. “This team is a joy to coach,” Kolimas said. “They are competitive and get along with one another. They work hard, and so it is really fun to coach them. We’ve seen steady improvement throughout the year, and hopefully we peak at the right time.” Listen Up “That’s really our goal at state is to show everybody that hey, Lincoln-Way is a great program, and we’re somebody that everybody’s going to have to watch out for.” Kim Lago — Lincoln-Way gymnastics co-op coach on looking ahead to state competition TUNE IN Girls gymnastics Friday, Feb. 17 • A deep LIncoln-Way co-op gymnastics team sends both newcomers and older competitors to state. Index 53 — Girls Basketball 47 — Athlete of the Week Compiled by Editor Kirsten Onsgard, kirsten@frankfortstation. com.