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Robinson stands tall against Foxes : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Robinson stands tall against Foxes
Sophomore's career night lifts Panthers to regional win

by Kristin Sharp


Oswego sophomore Brice Robinson had a clear size advantage in Monday night's Class 4A West Aurora Regional play-in game.
When Yorkville's tallest player, 6-foot-6 junior Kyle Shimp, got into early foul trouble, the 6-foot-7 Panther had even greater command in the paint. Robinson had previously scored a career best against Yorkville on Feb. 8, but he topped that on Monday with a 31-point effort in Oswego's 77-66 win over the Foxes.
"I played well in the (Hoops for Hope) cancer game against the same team, and played for my dad, sister and brother and this game I wanted to play for the same reasons and that drove me," said Robinson, who lost his father Brian Robinson and sister Faith to cancer. His brother Connor is in remission.
"We out-size them a lot, and whenever Shimp got out of the game they just couldn't handle our size," Robinson added.
Yorkville's season came to a close with a 14-14 overall record while Oswego advanced to Tuesday's regional semifinal game against host and third-seed West Aurora. The Blackhawks ended Oswego's season with a 66-55 victory as the Panthers finished 12-16 on the year.
Robinson scored the first four points of the game and tossed in 18 points by halftime. Despite his early scoring, Yorkville maintained a 7-6 lead after junior Cedric Payne's three-pointer and a layup from senior Nick Firrantello.
Following a pair of baskets from Robinson and junior Zach West, Firrantello tied the game at 11, but Robinson answered with two points in the paint to give the Panthers a 13-11 lead, and Oswego never trailed again on the scoreboard.
"(Robinson) was a monster tonight," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "He was a game-changer. He just changed the complexion of the game and had a big impact on the outcome of the game. His points have to come from somewhere and we had 19 assists. We got guys making plays, sharing the ball and getting it down low to Brice where he belongs, and he finished it."
Oswego led 17-11 at the end of the first quarter, but Shimp hit a three-pointer to start the second period and junior King Davis followed up with another field goal for the Foxes to create a 17-16 game.
Oswego sophomore Joe Hennessy scored two inside baskets for the Panthers to spark a 21-17 lead, and Robinson hit two more shots for Oswego before West hit a three-pointer with 4:11 left in the first half, sending the Panthers ahead 28-21.
Yorkville senior Dakota Gette (14 points) had a strong second quarter for the Foxes, scoring two at the free-throw line while adding in a pair of baskets, including the final two points of the half after creating a steal and converting at the opposite end. Oswego held a 35-29 halftime lead, but Yorkville had a fast start in the third quarter.
Yorkville junior Josh Bondurant converted with a layup and Davis added two, prompting Schnable to call a timeout just two minutes into the second half. Oswego went on a 5-0 run before Davis scored, but two Yorkville turnovers allowed the Panthers to take up a 48-35 lead and force Yorkville head coach Dan McGuire to call his players to the bench.
"I thought we did a darn good job of guarding the arc until late," Schnable said. "That's a big part of their offense. They have weapons from distance, but I thought we did a good job guarding the long ball. We had a few letdowns late, but for the majority of the 32 minutes, we guarded the arc hard. I'm pleased."
Davis hit a three-pointer and Bondurant (12 points) converted a three-point play to create a 51-41 game in the closing seconds of the third quarter, but West nailed his fourth three-pointer of the game before the buzzer to give the Panthers a 54-41 advantage going into the final period of play.
Oswego sophomore Steven Frank was fouled on a strong rebound effort and converted both free throws, and moments later West found Frank open in the paint for a 59-45 lead.
Yorkville's defensive struggles were scattered throughout the game, with both Firrantello picking up his fourth foul of the game late in the third quarter - Yorkville's seventh of the half - and Gette picked up his fourth foul with 5:26 to play in the game.
Despite the foul trouble, Yorkville pressed on, and Shimp found Bondurant for a basket before junior Kyle Domark came off the bench and hit a three-pointer with 3:53 to play for a 60-50 score.
Robinson came through with the tip-in for Oswego, but Gette hit a pair of three-pointers on consecutive Yorkville possessions to give the Foxes a chance down the stretch.
Following an Oswego timeout, Domark hit another triple for a 65-59 game. Oswego got help from Hennessy and Robinson to pull ahead 70-61, and West added one at the foul line.
Yorkville took its final timeout after Firrantello's putback, but with less than 40 seconds to play, Oswego's eight-point lead was insurmountable.
In addition to Robinson's 31 points, he had 13 rebounds and three steals. West scored 22 points while Hennessy finished with nine and Frank had eight rebounds.
For Oswego, it was the first postseason appearance for four of its five starters, and young players like Robinson enjoyed the first regional tournament in their young careers.
"This is fun. It's a good leaning experience and we played great (Monday. We deserve to be here," Robinson said. "This is a lot more excitement - and pressure - but it's good. I like it."

Notes: On Tuesday, Oswego poured 21 first-quarter points against West Aurora, but the Blackhawks forged ahead to take a 33-29 halftime lead. Robinson scored seven points in the opening eight minutes and finished with a team-best 17 points and 14 rebounds. Frank and sophomore Malique Ross scored 12 points each. West Aurora had three players score in double figures, including junior Roland Griffin's 23 points and 10 rebounds.
"We did a lot of things right. We survive and advance," Schnable said.

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