Roycemore makes big strides
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS Sunday Feb 17 2013 Roycemore's Elijah Cannon (35) passes by Fasman Yeshiva's Dovie Levinson (11)during the Class 1A Christian Liberty Regional opening-round game. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:17AM
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — The Griffins reached unfamiliar heights on Monday night.
Roycemore’s 41-40 overtime thriller over Yeshiva in the first round of the Class 1A boys basketball Christian Liberty Regional left Tim Anstett struggling to recall the last time the Griffins won a state series game.
“You’d have to ask someone who’s an archivist from the school,” said the sixth-year coach. “Certainly, we haven’t won one while I’ve been here, and I know we hadn’t for quite a while.”
Making the Griffins’ win even more remarkable was that Roycemore usually averages five wins a season, according to their coach. Thus, according to Anstett’s calculations, the Griffins have already doubled their average win total.
“There was a big jump,” senior guard Jackson Paller said. “Last year, we had a decent team. We got a couple of wins, but we never really, to be honest, it never really felt like we were going anywhere, and then that state (series) game last year wasn’t all that close (an 84-60 loss to Chicagoland Jewish). It’s amazing the jump that we’ve had in the span of one year.”
Roycemore handled the uptick in success the right way, according to Anstett.
“They’re excited. You might have noticed,” Anstett said. “They’re doing really well with it. They’re handling it because it’s a place they haven’t necessarily been before, but they know that that’s where they want to be.”
The players weren’t the only excited bodies filling Christian Liberty on Monday night. Their fans were equally excited, stomping their feet and roaring during Yeshiva’s crunch-time free-throw attempts.
“They haven’t seen any wins like this either,” Anstett said.
Junior guard Randy Hewitt was quick to credit the fans for a couple of pivotal Yeshiva missed free throws toward the end of the game.
After one missed free throw, which could have helped Yeshiva take the lead with just 14.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Hewitt shouted to the fans, “I can hear you,” as he walked over to the bench for a timeout between free throws.
“They did their job perfectly. I couldn’t ask for more from the fans,” Hewitt said. “I love the crowd cheering when you’re playing and stuff. After you make a huge shot, there’s no better feeling.”
As for the advice Hewitt gave his teammates at halftime, he simply told them it could be done.
“We came on the bus and the entire day, we were just talking about how bad we wanted to win,” Hewitt said. “I think in the beginning it just got to everyone’s heads. Everyone was thinking about it so much. They were overthinking their own moves and stuff. They locked up. They got their stuff together. That’s what I told them to do. I told them this game is easily winnable and we pulled through.”