Glenbard South's March continues

Can't beat March Madness.

"It's a special time of year, you know?" Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke said.

"And right now you can't take anything for granted, and so every day that you get to wake up and go practice or go play is a great day," he said.

The Raiders have at least two more days of this greatness after beating Woodstock North 65-34 in Wednesday's Class 3A Marengo sectional semifinal. On Friday Glenbard South (24-6) will play for the sectional title against Burlington Central (26-8).

After a close first quarter No. 1 seed Glenbard South's overall height advantage, and its senior experience and savvy, wore down Woodstock North. Led by Cole Hardtke with 11 points and Tavion Keith, Cade Hardtke, Ryan Harrington, Nick Plaso and Tommy Powers all scoring at least 6, 12 of the 14 Raiders who saw action scored, including reserves Ryan Vozza, Jalen Watt and Aryton Temcio.

"Early on I think we were trying to land that haymaker right out of the gate and really what we needed to do was just settle in and play our game, and I thought we did a much better job as the game went on," Wade Hardtke said of the edge in height.

A huge plus was 6-foot-1 Kevin Enright's defense on Woodstock North's 5-foot-8 Ryan Shaffter, who had made six 3s and scored 27 points in the Thunder's regional final win over Genoa-Kingston. On Wednesday Shaffter scored 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting, all on 3s. Thunder forward Cole Brey scored a team-high 10 points, with 8 rebounds, and guard Zach White scored 9.

"Coach said before the game, if you don't let him catch it that's the best way to guard him because he's so quick," Enright said.

No. 2 seed Woodstock North (17-15) hit four 3s the entire game, 3 in a first quarter Glenbard South led 14-13.

"They're good, they're real good," said Woodstock North coach Dale Jandron. "And they're long, and length gives us trouble all year long, so that makes a big difference when they guard Ryan, it's hard to get shots off. It seems like they've been here before and we haven't."

Fifty seconds into the second quarter Woodstock North's Bradley Baseggio hit a 3 to tie the score 16-16. Glenbard South then reeled off a 15-4 run to close the half. Plaso, Powers, Keith, Spencer Pyle and Ahmad Malik all scored in the run as did sophomore Cade Hardtke - on a 3 from the left wing in his first game since he was injured Jan. 19.

"I just felt in rhythm, I loved the crowd behind us. I just wanted to pull it, see what happened, it went in. I feel like that built us some momentum and then we just went from there," he said. "It feels great. Especially in March. Great atmosphere, a great time, I love playing basketball when it comes down to the wire."

This game didn't. Leading 31-20 at halftime the Raiders continued to roll. Cole Hardtke hit a 3 that didn't ruffle the twine, Enright found Cade Hardtke for a press-breaker layup, Harrington rolled to the hoop for an easy Enright assist, and so on for a 48-30 lead after three quarters.

Glenbard South has a 2000 sectional title to its credit and last played in a sectional final in 2016. Burlington Central has never won a sectional title, losing in a final last season. Both program's last appearances came, ironically, at Woodstock North.

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