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St. Bede senior Brad Groleau (No. 44) lunges for the ball as Bureau Valley senior Jordan Monier (right) also reaches for it Wednesday during the Bruins’ 77-40 victory in the Class 2A Bureau Valley Regional. Groleau scored a game-high 21 points. NewsTribune photos/Genna Ord
Bureau Valley’s Tommy Johnston (No. 33) takes a shot as St. Bede’s Damin Smith defends Wednesday during the Bruins’ 77-40 victory in a Class 2A Bureau Valley Regional semifinal. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
MANLIUS — The St. Bede boys basketball team has its second chance.
After the Bruins fell to Fieldcrest in last year’s regional title game, St. Bede moved into its second straight regional final on Wednesday.
In Wednesday’s second Class 2A Bureau Valley Regional semifinal, the No. 2-seeded Bruins rolled past No. 3-seeded Bureau Valley 77-40 to move into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. championship where St. Bede (23-5) will play top-seeded Seneca (24-4), which beat No. 5-seeded Hall 42-40 in Wednesday’s first semifinal.
The Bruins are looking to win their first regional title since 2000.
“We’re 23-5 and it’s nice to win the conference, but this is what’s important,” SBA coach Mike Kilmartin said of playing in the regional championship.
“They’re the No. 1 seed and they are supposed to beat us. They play good defense, and we’ve got to get the ball inside and we’ve got to be able to shoot on the perimeter.”
After a back-and-forth start to Wednesday's game, the Storm took a 7-5 lead with 4:34 left in the first quarter.
From there, however, it was all St. Bede.
The Bruins went on a 72-33 run to end the game, including a 20-4 surge to end the first quarter that gave SBA a 25-11 lead.
Behind seniors Brad Groleau and Joe Pyszka, the Bruins pushed the lead to as many as 23 points in the second quarter, including 41-18 at half.
“We shot (58) percent (29-for-50), but what I was pleased with was we got the ball up and down the floor with only (11) turnovers, which is pretty good for as fast as we play,” Kilmartin said. “We got the ball inside enough and, of course, Groleau hit a bunch of 3s.”
Groleau drained five 3-point shots and finished with a game-high 21 points, while Pyszka added 19 points. Senior Damin Smith chipped in 13 points for the Bruins, who played everyone in the win.
The Storm were led by nine points from sophomore Parker Neuhalfen.
“St. Bede is a good team and they came out and executed really well,” BV coach Jason Marquis said. “Tonight, though, is more about those seniors and the kids,” Marquis added. “They came and worked hard. Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids in the state of Illinois who deserve a better outcome than what they are going to get. One of our assistant coaches said, ‘There’s only going to be one group of 15 boys who is going to be happy with the outcome this season and the rest will be disappointed.’ Unfortunately, we were disappointed a little earlier than we would’ve like.”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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