Thornton needed Justin Taylor. Without the versatile Taylor, sidelined because of an ankle injury during the regional final, the Wildcats didn’t have their usual firepower on offense. They managed just 45 points Friday during their four-point loss to Homewood-Flossmoor. Looking to next season, the departures of seniors Taylor and Jamani Pierce leave gaping holes. However, coach Troy Jackson, who heavily relies on his seniors, has an immensely skilled 2015 class at the ready.
Lack of size hurt Mount Carmel. The Caravan heavily counted on guards David Nichols and Christian Searles this season. Nichols responded with a wonderful season and Searles, when healthy, was a force. However, when the shots didn’t fall, as was the case Friday night against St. Rita, the Caravan’s lack of an inside presence was exposed. Mount Carmel finished 7-of-53 from the field vs. St. Rita in falling 55-35.
Southland deserves more respect. Many folks in the media surmised the region suffered from a lack of talent this season. Regional competition proved otherwise, though. Hillcrest gave defending Class 3A state champion Morgan Park all it could handle Friday in a 63-61 loss. So too did Stagg on Friday against Simeon, falling 47-45 to the four-time defending 4A state champ. In fact, Hillcrest and Stagg had chances to win in the final seconds but came up short. No, the Southland, once again, was rich in talent.