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Full steam ahead : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Full steam ahead
Oswego boys' basketball team preps for Plainfield East after 1-2 finish

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego boys' basketball team had an extended winter break thanks to two District 308 snow days on Monday and Tuesday as arctic air covered the area.

Now, head coach Kevin Schnable must make the remaining two practices even more efficient heading into Friday's home matchup against Southwest Prairie Conference favorite Plainfield East. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

"Everybody is in the same situation as far as practices go. To me, basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint," Schnable said. "We believe in the importance of periodic breaks and resting and this is perfect timing after the tournament to change from (2013) to '14 and take a break. The guys need it and the coaches need it.

"We're excited about the opportunity. We go in as the underdog against the team picked to win the league. They have four senior starters and their non-senior starter (junior Aaron Jordan) just committed to Illinois. We have a tough task."

Oswego (5-5) enters the SPC matchup after picking up a win in the final game of the Proviso West Tournament on Dec. 30 to finish 1-2 in the bracket. The Panthers opened tournament play with a 72-52 loss to Maine South before dropping a heartbreaking 55-53 game to T.F. South in consolation play.

In the final game, Oswego cruised to a 72-37 win over Von Steuben. Sophomore Steven Frank and junior Zach West poured in 17 points each while sophomore Brice Robinson (14 points) and freshman Jaylen Jones (11 points) also contributed to put four players in double figures for the Panthers. The Oswego defense had 11 steals in the game, with West, Frank and Robinson credited for three each.

"We opened with a really good Maine South team and we dug ourselves a hole. We were down 17-0 and against a team like that with their style of play, it's more like 27-0. They're just a hard team to come back on. To the credit of our kids, it's just a different stage at Proviso and I think we were just a little stage-shocked and we battled back and it was a 10-point game with four minutes to go.

"The second game was just a heartbreaker; it was a tough loss. It was not the best team we've played, but by far the most athletic team and we held around long enough to almost steal the win. It was a tough one, but we bounced back and took advantage of a down city team in Von Steuben. We knew what we were supposed to do and played right."

Stevenson defeated Morgan Park 67-55 in the title game on Dec. 31, while Bogan topped St. Joseph to take third and Proviso East defeated Fenwick to take fifth.

Tuesday's game against Romeoville was postponed due to school closings. Following Friday's game against Plainfield East, the Panthers begin a five-game road trip starting Tuesday at Plainfield North and continuing with Minooka on Jan. 17 before Oswego enters the two-day MLK Tournament at Wheaton South Jan. 18 and Jan. 20. Oswego is the No. 3 seed in the tournament behind York and Bartlett, and will open play on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. against Chicago Clemente.

"The learning curve is shrinking and there's an understanding of how we expect them to play," Schnable said. "We need to get consistent. We're so young and we just don't want to use that as an excuse. I never want our kids to use that as a crutch. Obviously our future looks bright, but it's not like the second half of 2013-14 is going away."

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