Hope ends Harvest Christian's season in 1A sectional semifinals

After having endured two one-day postponements over the past five days in their postseason run thus far, Harvest Christian's boys basketball team retained a positive attitude.

"You've got to roll with the punches (sometimes)," Harvest coach Bryan Bradshaw said with a little bit of a laugh as his squad arrived for their Class 1A sectional semifinal against Chicago Hope after traveling from their Randall Road campus on Elgin's West side Tuesday night across town to Elgin High School.

It was postponed due to a public safety threat that forced the evacuation and closure of all District U-46 facilities plus the postponement of all events at those buildings on Tuesday night. That came after their regional final vs. Ida Crown at Walther Christian in Melrose Park was moved from last Friday to Saturday due to the Skokie-based Jewish School being unable to play from Sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday for religious reasons.

By the time their Wednesday evening battle came to an end with Harvest on the losing end of a 56-47 decision to the Eagles, Bradshaw took a more religious view of his team's effort as it saw their season come to an end at Chesbrough Fieldhouse.

"When the season ends you don't talk about X's and O's, you talk about the memories made and the No. 1 message I (had) for the guys is basketball is just a game," Bradshaw said. "It's not your identity, It's not who you are and Jesus is the king and that doesn't change when you lose a basketball game and I just wanted to share that message with them because it puts everything into perspective when you do."

Bradshaw's frame of reference came after seeing his team (25-10) rally from a 13-point deficit (42-29) a minute into the fourth by going on a 17-5 run that brought them within 47-46 after senior Lions guard Daniel Winkleman (team-high 15 points) knocked down three straight charity tosses with 2:07 left.

It was at that point that Hope (22-8) closed out the contest on a 9-1 run by going 7 of 9 at the foul line. It featured junior guard Cam'ron Centeno's game-high 20th point and a pair of makes by senior forward Mateo Young (13 points) which sent Hope to Friday's sectional final vs. Chicago Marshall (16-10) who bested Hinckley-Big Rock (26-8) 59-49 in Wednesday's second semifinal.

Centeno said that his team's mindset remained despite the one-day delay.

"It doesn't really go away. You got a game (that) you've got to win (to advance)," Centeno said. "I (knew) I had to get my teammates the ball. If a teammate is open, I got to hit them. It was a heck of a game."

Fellow Harvest senior guard Ben Lothery added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists while junior forward Kaden Meeker added 6 points and 12 rebounds in the losing effort for the Lions who tied the 2014-15 team (25-5) coached by Andre White, Sr. for most wins in a season.

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