The third time was closer, but still no charm for Romeoville.
The 23rd seeded Spartans fell 56-38 to No. 11 seeded Southwest Prairie rival Plainfield North Monday in an opening-round game of the Class 4A West Aurora Regional.
“We won by 24 and 27 (in league play),” Tigers coach Bob Krahulik said. “My main concern coming in was would we come to play. At times we did but we had some mental lapses, too. I don’t think we kept our foot on the gas like we could have.”
Plainfield North, now 20-7, advances to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. semifinal against No. 7 seed Neuqua Valley. The winner advances to Friday’s title game.
The Tigers jumped out quickly, taking a 15-4 lead that included three-point baskets from sophomore Kevin Krieger (12 points) and junior Jake Nowak (11 points), but Spartan junior Dwayne Griffin came off the bench and had two baskets late in the period to keep Romeoville within 17-8 heading into the second period.
Trevor Stumpe, who led the Tigers with 15 points, had a trey in the second quarter as did Abdallah Mitchell off the bench and North built the lead to 29-18 at the half.
It was 46-27 after three, but a 7-0 run fueled by five more Griffin points to open the fourth, cut the deficit to 12 (46-34), but Romeoville was unable to keep the momentum going and could not get it below double digits.
“We were 6 of 17 from the free-throw line, that’s where we lost it,” Spartans’ coach Marc Howard, whose team closes 4-23 said.
“We play good defense but we struggle with free throws and finishing at the offensive end. We’ve tried everything, from slowing it down to pushing the tempo.
“We wanted to keep it under 50 tonight. We held them to 56 but we left too many opportunities out there.”
Griffin led the Spartans with 16 points. Matt Cappelletti added nine.