by Danny Tiffany 42Fifty Staff Writer
On the last day of February, a classic rivalry unites. Oswego verse crosstown rival, Oswego East, this time, for a shot to go to the regional final. Oswego rolled into the contest with a struggling 4-23 record, but beat Minooka on Monday night for a shot to play East. Oswego East came in having a very good season with a 19-7 record. Oswego East was the sure favorites, especially after winning the first meeting.
Rolling into the regional semis, many overlooked Oswego. With a record of 3-24, it’s hard not to overlook them. Oswego East had home court, but the crowd was nearly split. Oswego didn’t have to travel far, thus leading to plenty of orange in the crowd. Everyone was amped up, records meant nothing at this point, there was a shot to the final on the line. This was what playoffs are all about, packed house, loud, and a lot of energy. Everyone was ready to go.
The game got off to a bit of a slow start, neither team got their shooting going. Oswego got up early, but East quickly went on a 9-0 run to end quarter one. The Wolves led 10-7 after one. After a slow start, Wolf Pack student section was on their feet. Suddenly, the Wolves were hitting shots. Oswego needed to get going. Dylan Engler, Junior forward, arguably Oswego’s best all around player, started to hit. Oswego got down, but as Engler started to knock down shots, Oswego gained confidence, they crawled back and trailed by 10 at halftime. After one half of play Oswego East was up 29-19.
One half down, one to go. A lot of that was being said by people around the building. The Wolves knew there was plenty of time to go, but they were already starting to feel it. It didn’t take long for East to increase the lead, junior guard Ray J Dennis, who had just received an offer from Northern Illinois, was heating up. As he had 19 points at the end of the third quarter, Oswego East maximized that lead to 16. They were one quarter away.
Oswego was never able to find a rhythm in the fourth quarter, East was getting points from the bench. The Panthers didn’t go on a run, and Engler wasn’t hitting shots. The Panthers saw the final seconds tick down on the clock knowing that was it. Three seniors had just played their final game. It was over, Oswego East won 60-45. Dennis led the way in scoring, and as the season ends for the Panthers, it continues on for the Wolves. East improves it’s record to 20-7, while Oswego’s ends at 4-24.
Tiffany covers sports articles surrounding the community. He can be reached at email@example.com or contact the publication directly at firstname.lastname@example.org