One bad quarter in the state basketball playoffs can sink a season. Lane (14-13) went scoreless in the third quarter and never recovered in a 55-31 loss to the Shamrocks (17-8) on Tuesday night at St. Pat's. The Indians missed seven shots and committed 10 turnovers as the Shamrocks scored 17 unanswered points to take a 41-25 advantage.
The Shamrocks will play Maine South (18-12) in the Class 4A regional championship on Friday night. The Hawks beat Von Steuben 59-38.
St Pat's trailed 25-24 at halftime but ended the opening half with a three pointer by junior Elijah Watson. The game would dramatically change after that shot by Watson.
"They hit a half court three to end the half," Lane head coach Nick Logalbo said. "A huge momentum shift. To be playing in this type of environment, you need all of the shifts you can get. That was a big swing."
"I think there's a difference being four (points) as opposed to one (point)," St Pat's head coach Mike Bailey said after the victory. "In the long run, I don’t know how big a shot it was for us but psychologically it becomes a big shot. It was a psychological lift for our guys."
"It definitely got the student section and our fans involved in the game," admitted Watson who led all scorers with 17 points. "When I made that shot everybody was pumped up."
There was one other big play in the first half. Before Watson's shot, Lane appeared to take a six point lead on basket by Zach Barth. Barth was also fouled on the play and was awarded a free throw attempt. The officials ruled the foul occurred before shot by Barth and wiped out the a basket. Barth missed a free throw, and Watson made the the long shot.
Lane struggled in the fourth quarter as well scoring only six points. The Indians made only 12-of-38 shots and committed 27 turnovers, which is a recipe for basketball disaster on any night.
"St. Pat's plays good defense," said Logalbo on the scoreless third quarter. "We got five or six great shots. They weren't clicking. When that starts happening, you have get stops defensively and they started hitting shots."
Watson was factor with four three-point hoops as the Shamrocks outscored Lane 31-6 in the second half.
"He's the heart and soul of our team," Bailey said after the win.
Watson received offensive support from starters Ismer Seferagic, Royale Ewing, and Loren Horton who combined for 27 points.
Lane was led by Admir Sulgic with nine points.
Lane rallied from a 10-0 deficit in the opening quarter to take a 25-24 lead at halftime behind Sulgic who scored nine points in the opening half.
One game might have changed the season for the Shamrocks. St. Pat's was 7-7 before upsetting rival Niles Notre Dame. The Shamrocks have now won 13-of-15 games after losing six of 10 start the season. St. Pat's generally has four juniors in the starting lineup. The Shamrocks have lost six contests by 19 points.
The win against Notre Dame pointed the Shamrocks into the state playoffs with momentum and confidence.
"They are all unbelievable athletes," said Logalbo who was impressed with the Shamrocks. "They are a great team."
"It was a matter that we lost three or four close games," said Bailey on his team's early struggles. "What we needed was a signature win."
With 11 underclassmen, the Shamrocks could be a team to watch.Video of Tuesday night Lane Tech v St. Patrick mens IHSA Regional game.