Bolingbrook boys suffer tough end to season
Late lead slips away as Raiders fall in regional championship
BOLINGBROOK – Bolingbrook’s boys basketball team had a season that included more than 20 wins and a SouthWest Suburban Blue conference title.
But after those highs, the season ended on a low with a 66-63 loss to Geneva in the championship game of the Class 4A Plainfield East regional Friday.
“It’s tough. It’s not the way we wanted it to end,” Bolingbrook head coach Rob Brost said. “We had a couple tough breaks down the stretch and missed some free throws down the stretch that cost us.”
The Raiders (21-6) led 43-32 entering the fourth quarter and still led 53-43 with about three and a half minutes left in the game, but they couldn’t hold off the Vikings (24-5).
“I think we maybe tensed up a little bit,” Brost said. “We missed the front end of a one-and-one when we were up five. Then they come down and hit a three. We’re up four, miss the front end of a one-and-one and they hit another three. From there, it was a possession game back and forth for the last minute or two.”
Geneva’s Nate Navigato hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to give the Vikings a three-point lead. Prentiss Nixon got off a potential tying shot at the buzzer, but it just missed the mark.
“They did exactly what we drew up,” Brost said of the final play, “but the bottom line is it should not have come to that. They missed two free throws on the night, and we missed 11. That right there is the difference.”
Nixon finished with 24 points, and Gage Davis added 16 for the Raiders, who won the outright SWSB title with a 12-2 record. It was the second straight year Bolingbrook made the regional title game.
“We’re disappointed with the finality of if,” Brost said. “It would be much easier if we weren’t such a close-knit group and if we had not developed those relationships over the course of the season.”
The game signaled the end of the high school careers for Davis and fellow seniors Josh Dillingham, C.J. Redmond, Shakur Triplett and Kenny Williams. Davis, Dillingham, Redmond and Triplett were all two-year varsity players, and Williams spent three years on the varsity team. Seniors Ray Gonzalez and Ryan Wynn, key role players, also donned the Bolingbrook uniform for the last time.
“We’re obviously disappointed with Friday’s game, but we are so proud of Ryan and Ray and the other five seniors,” Brost said. “They helped build the tradition of our program.”