Due to weather related issues, in some areas there may be delayed deliveries of your Monday issue of the NewsTribune.
If road conditions are severe enough, your delivery person may not be able to deliver your NewsTribune at all on Monday.
In this case, your Monday edition will be delivered with your Tuesday newspaper.
We ask you to be understanding for the safety of our carriers.
St. Bede boys basketball coach Mike Kilmartin (left) talks with his son, Derek, and three of his grandchildren Tuesday after earning his 400th career victory with the Bruins’ 47-45 win over Morris in the Coaler Turkey Tournament in Coal City. NewsTribune photo/Anthony Soufflé
COAL CITY — Mike Kilmartin walked off the court Tuesday in Coal City and was intercepted by his biggest fans.
The longtime coach walked right into a hug from his son Derek and three of his grandchildren, who proudly displayed their handmade signs that read, “PAPA 400” and “WIN.”
It was just one of the reasons Kilmartin had to smile.
After he began coaching varsity basketball nearly 36 years ago, Kilmartin won his 400th career game Tuesday as his St. Bede boys basketball team opened its season with a 47-45 victory over Morris in the Coaler Turkey Tournament.
“I came back into coaching because I missed the competition and because I wanted to win 400. It was important to me,” Kilmartin said. “When I started coaching, I didn’t think I’d ever coach this long, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of good players over the years.”
With the victory, Kilmartin now has 316 wins in boys basketball and 84 victories in girls basketball.
He qualified the Mendota boys basketball team for the Class A state tournament three times and the MHS girls in 1999, when the Lady Trojans placed fourth.
“This was definitely a big win, and everyone on our team had the 400th win on our minds,” senior Joe Pyszka said. “We wanted to win it for coach.”
It was a win that not only members of Kilmartin’s family watched in person, but also a handful of his former players.
“It’s a great accomplishment for him,” senior Damin Smith said. “Four hundred wins is really tough to do. He came in (the locker room after the game) crying and we all tried to hug him. It’s great for him.”
Tuesday’s game also was a great season-opening victory for the Bruins.
After St. Bede fell behind 10-0 less than three minutes into the contest, the Bruins rallied to take control in the third quarter and held off Morris down the stretch for the win.
“Early in the game, I think we just had a lot of jitters with it being the first game,” said Pyszka, who finished with a team-high 15 points and 12 rebounds. “Later in the game, we definitely calmed down and just played our game.”
St. Bede (1-0) slowly chipped away at the deficit until it surged ahead in the third quarter. After a back-and-forth quarter, Bruin senior Brad Groleau hit a pair of free throws with 57 seconds remaining in the third to give SBA the lead for good.
However, Morris didn’t go away.
The Redskins hung close and pulled to within a point on two separate occasions in the fourth quarter, including 43-42 with 2:39 to go in the game.
The Bruins appeared to have put away the contest after a basket from Pyszka and a putback from Smith increased the lead to 47-42 with 28.7 seconds remaining.
However, Morris senior Ben Ortiz hit a 3-pointer that pulled it to 47-45 with 13.3 seconds left.
With time running out, the Redskins attempted to foul St. Bede, but Morris hadn’t committed enough fouls to send the Bruins to the foul line for bonus free throws.
Instead, Morris spent nearly 11.1 seconds fouling the Bruins before it finally got St. Bede into the bonus.
When it did, St. Bede’s Taggart Venegas missed a bonus free throw, which was rebounded by Ortiz as Morris called timeout with 1.8 seconds remaining.
Out of the timeout, Morris sophomore Austin Patterson dribbled to just shy of midcourt and launched a 3-point attempt from the corner that hit the backboard and missed to seal the SBA win.
In addition to Pyszka, Smith had 12 points for the Bruins, while Morris was led by Patterson’s 22 points — including 18 in the first half — and 15 points from Ortiz.
Notes: In the four-team round robin tournament, the Bruins will play at 7 p.m. Friday against Coal City and finish the tournament at 5:30 p.m. Saturday against Gardner-South Wilmington. … St. Bede starting point guard Grant Bosnich warmed up but did not play in Tuesday’s season opener. The senior injured his ankle during warmups at last Friday’s St. Bede scrimmage. … Despite having its football team playing for a Class 5A state title at 10 a.m. Saturday against Lombard Montini, Morris had only two players listed on its 13-man roster who didn’t play due to football.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
Login to your account:
If you'd like to comment on this article, please log in or click here to subscribe.