1A boys basketball: Late first-half surge lifts Marquette past Indian Creek, into title game

Crusaders use 13-5 run in final 4 minutes of second quarter

Alec Novotney

SOMONAUK – If you take the final four minutes of the second half out of Wednesday night’s Class 1A Somonauk Regional semifinal between subsectional No. 4-seeded Marquette Academy and No. 7-seeded Indian Creek, the contest was nearly dead even.

It was, however, those 240 key seconds where the Crusaders used a 13-5 run to push out to a double-digit advantage, then held off the Timberwolves at every turn in an eventual 65-55 victory.

Marquette (24-8) advances to Friday’s 7 p.m. championship game against top-seeded Serena. The Huskers (29-3), which defeated Somonauk 70-42 in the evening’s first semifinal, fell to the Crusaders by eight in double-overtime nearly two weeks ago.

Indian Creek finishes the season 20-12.

“We were able to settle in a little bit in the second quarter, were able to get some good looks against their zone and were able to knock those shots down.”

—  Todd Hopkins, Marquette Academy boys basketball coach

“You always are worried about nerves in games, but like I tell the guys, if you aren’t nervous before games like this, you probably shouldn’t be playing,” Marquette coach Todd Hopkins said. “That said, I thought the first five minutes of the game we were playing tentative and worried too much about making a mistake. You can’t play that way.

“We were able to settle in a little bit in the second quarter, were able to get some good looks against their zone and were able to knock those shots down. Then I thought we did an excellent job of not letting them get back into the game in the second half. We kept them at somewhat comfortable distance.”

Sophomore Alec Novotney paced Marquette with a game-high 28 points, including 6 of 11 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior Denver Trainor slashed his way to 17 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Carson Zellers (six rebounds) chipped in six points and Charlie Mullen five points and a team-best seven rebounds.

Indian Creek was led by 15 points and four rebounds from freshman big man Isaac Willis, with Logan Schrader adding 12 points and four rebounds, Everett Willis eight points and five rebounds, and Tyler Bogle and Jeffery Probst seven points apiece.

“First of all, you have to tip your cap to Marquette, they played a tremendous game,” IC coach Nolan Govig said. “(Novotney) and (Trainor) played solid for them, and when (Novotney) is shooting the ball from that deep with that much confidence, there is not much you can do. He’s going to be a problem for a lot of teams over the next couple of years.

“Our style of play, when we can play our (1-3-1) zone aggressively is when we are at our best, but (not) when teams like Marquette stretch that zone with effective perimeter shooting. We like to get steals and get into transition, but we weren’t able to do that as much as we would have like tonight, and that goes back to Marquette shooting the ball so well from the outside. Also, when they get downhill on the dribble, if you help at all, they do a great job of pitching off to the open man from where the help came from.

“I’m proud of my guys; they just kept fighting. We just weren’t able to put any kind of run together in the second half to get us back into striking distance.”

In that key second-quarter spurt, consecutive triples by freshman Griffin Dobberstein and Trainor were followed by a 15-foot jumper and trey by Novotney and a layup off a turnover by Zellers.

IC was able to cut into the disadvantage numerous times in the second half, including making it 56-49 with two minutes to play, but could get no closer as Novotney swished six free throws and Peter McGrath a pair in the final minute.

“Now we have a team in Serena on Friday that has been state-ranked all year,” Hopkins said. “The are a great team that is well-coached, and we are going to have to put together a special night to compete with them, and we know that going in.”


Class 1A Somonauk Regional


Marquette Academy 65, Indian Creek 55

INDIAN CREEK (55) — E. Willis 4-7 0-4 8, Bogle 3-4 0-0 7, Lo. Schrader 5-16 0-0 12, Probst 3-5 0-0 7, McNally 3-7 0-0 6, Monarrez 0-0 0-0 0, I. Willis 6-9 3-5 15. Totals 24-48 3-9 55.

MARQUETTE (65) — Trainor 7-13 1-3 17, Zellers 2-8 2-2 6, Novotney 8-16 6-6 28, Mullen 2-4 1-2 5, P. McGrath 1-1 2-2 4, H. McGrath 1-1 0-0 2, Dobberstein 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 22-46 12-15 65.

Indian Creek (20-12) 16 9 14 16 — 55

Marquette (24-8) 17 17 16 15 — 65

3-point goals — Indian Creek 4-16 (Bogle 1-2, Lo. Schrader 2-9, Probst 1-1, McNally 0-4); Marquette 9-22 (Trainor 2-6, Zellers 0-2, Novotney 6-11, Dobberstein 1-3). Rebounds — Indian Creek 22 (E. Willis 5, Lo. Schrader 4, I. Willis 4); Marquette 30 (Mullen 7, Zellers 6, Trainor 5). Assists — Indian Creek 9 (Bogle 3); Marquette 12 (Trainor 5, P. McGrath 3). Steals — Indian Creek 5 (Lo. Schrader 2, McNally 2); Marquette 4 (Zellers 2). Blocks — Indian Creek 1 (E. Willis 1); Marquette 1 (Mullen 1). Turnovers — Indian Creek 10; Marquette 11. Total fouls (fouled out) — Indian Creek 15 (McNally); Marquette 8 (none).