SXU sports summary

Opponents set for men’s, women’s basketball teams

St. Xavier University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams last Wednesday learned the identities of their first-round opponents in their respective NAIA Division II national tournaments.

The men were to meet Cincinnati Christian University this past Wednesday at the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. The Golden Eagles, who qualified for the 32-school national event for the first time, were unranked in the final national poll, while the Cougars occupied the No. 7 position.
Each club captured the championship of its conference tournament, SXU (29-4) doing so with an 85-74 upset of top-ranked Cardinal Stritch in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference final. Cincinnati Christian scored an equally impressive title-game win by beating No. 2-ranked Indiana University-Southeast for the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crown.
IU-Southeast knocked the Cougars out of the 2013 NAIA National Championship in the second round.

An outbreak of heartache

  • Written by Ken Karson

Eagles come up short in two more contests

Thirty-five years ago, the Eagles rock group hit the top musically with “Heartache Tonight.”
Last week, another group of Eagles reached bottom in a psychological sense, and the heartache was spread over two nights.
Sandburg’s sad songs on the basketball court actually extended beyond its two most recent contests, which ended in gut-wrenching SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue setbacks against Homewood-Flossmoor (56-53) and Bolingbrook (54-51) on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. Those dual defeats were preceded by several other frustrating finishes.

Watching their guarding grow

  • Written by Ken Karson

RedHawks’ defense continues to excel on eve of playoff

Marist’s “D” has rated an “A-plus” of late.
Actually, RedHawks coach Gene Nolan has long considered defense one of his basketball team’s strong suits this season, but even he was impressed with what Marist did over the last five games of its regular schedule.
During that span, every one of its foes shot less than 40 percent from the field and four of them were unable to crack the 40-point barrier. The team that did, St. Viator, managed to defeat the RedHawks, but its output in a 49-40 East Suburban Catholic Conference victory last Wednesday in Arlington Heights represented a season low for a single contest.
And the Lions were no slouch - while topping the 70-point mark in over a dozen outings this winter, they lost only once in league play and finished second to state-ranked Marian Catholic in the ESCC standings.

A last championship for Chappetto

  • Written by Ken Karson

Bulldogs coach will step down from post at season’s end

Richards’ last regular-season game had more finality attached to it than usual.
When the Bulldogs bested District 218 sister school Eisenhower 108-87 at D-Wade Court Friday night to collect an outright South Suburban Conference Red championship, it could have easily been viewed as the latest example of basketball business as usual. After all, the league crown was Richards’ ninth in a row, giving it more consecutive league titles than any other Bulldogs athletic program has ever managed.
“When you’re going through it, you get so bogged down in the negative stuff [that] you tend to lose sight of the good a lot,” Richards coach John Chappetto said. “Nine [straight] conference championships is a really good thing.”
What made it particularly special to the veteran leader was that it was also the last one he’ll enjoy as Bulldogs boss. Early last week, the 43-year-old Chappetto notified Richards athletic director Ken Styler that he would be stepping down as varsity coach at the end of this, his 12th, season. The announcement was made public on Friday.
“There’s so many factors and a million reasons why, I guess,” Chappetto said. “You put it all together and it’s time.”

No place like home

  • Written by Ken Karson

Spartans’ surge inches them past Mustangs

Dorothy and Toto weren’t the only ones who longed to be home.
Oak Lawn basketball players have enjoyed performing in front of Spartans fans this winter, so much so that opponents have found road wins increasingly difficult to come by. Evergreen Park was the latest foe to discover the magic Oak Lawn weaves on its own floor.
When the two South Suburban Conference Red neighbors met Friday night in a regular-season finale, the Mustangs were in control much of the way. A slew of first-half free throws boosted them into a nine-point lead by intermission, and Evergreen was still ahead by that same margin when the clock showed less than five minutes remaining in the contest.
But just when an unfavorable outcome seemed in the offing for the home team, it rallied. The Spartans allowed only two Mustangs field goals over the final 4:40, although Jordan Brown’s hoop at the 51-second mark did give Evergreen a 63-60 lead.