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TF South boys end basketball season at regionals after buzzer-beater loss – other local scores

TF SouthLANSING, Ill. (February 22, 2024) – Tuesday night was a microcosm of TF South boys basketball’s season: some good, some bad and a frustrating finish.

The Red Wolves led 6-0 and 10-5 early before falling into a 13-point hole entering the fourth quarter. They were still down 12 to visiting Lockport in a Class 4A Stagg Regional quarterfinal.

That’s when TF South cranked up the defense, going on a 17-5 surge to pull into a 57-all tie on senior guard Tyler Earmsmuth’s basket with 11 seconds remaining.

But Lockport’s Collin Miller banked in a 33-footer at the buzzer, giving the Porters an unlikely 60-57 win and ending the Red Wolves’ season at 11-19.

Junior guard Rashad Peeples hit four 3-pointers and led South with 14 points along with four rebounds. Senior guard Alex Lesure had 13 points and six rebounds, Earmsmuth scored nine with three rebounds and junior forward Eion Ikner had six points, seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

“We won on a walk-off buzzer beater (against Lake Forest Academy) and then here we get a walk-off buzzer beater against us,” Red Wolves coach Todd Gillespie said. “What can you do? Guy made a tough shot, a bank shot from the front.”

South made just 11 of 21 free throws. Lockport was 9-for-12 from the line.

“That’s the No. 1 killer,” Gillespie said.

It ended a season of might-have-beens for the Red Wolves. Earmsmuth and fellow senior guard Sam Townsend, a four-year varsity player, both missed significant time with injuries.

“Tyler was going to be our starter at the (No.) 2 guard,” Gillespie said. “He got hurt right away.

“Then we had some character issues where some guys were let go from the team. Then Sam … got hurt, hit his mouth, broke four of his teeth. He’s just coming back. … So yeah, it’s just been that kind of a season. Definitely expected to win somewhere around 17 games, kind of like last year.”

The good news is some younger players gained experience and will return. Earmsmuth and Lesure were the only senior starters on Tuesday, joining juniors Peeples and Ikner along with freshman Amari Dukes.

The Red Wolves ended their regular season in memorable fashion, getting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Lesure to edge Lake Forest Academy 41-38 on February 13. Peeples and Dukes led South with 12 points each.

South edged Richards 54-53 in overtime on February 12. Ikner led the Red Wolves with 15 points and Lesure had 11.

Ikner had 18 points, Earmsmuth added 13, and Lesure scored 10, but South fell 60-55 to Eisenhower on February 9.

Girls basketball

The Red Wolves’ season ended with a 62-31 loss to the host Eagles in the Class 4A Sandburg Sectional semifinals on February 13.

Rayvan Rush (10 points, 2 assists) and Brie Hawthorne (10 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds) paced South, which finished 19-13. Cherish Boothe added seven points, three rebounds, and three steals.

Girls bowling

Junior Trinity Kimmons tied for 107th at the IHSA state finals last weekend at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, rolling a 1,015 for six games (169.2 average).

She qualified for state by posting a 1,245 (207.5 average) and finishing fifth individually at the Stagg Sectional on February 10.

The Red Wolves finished sixth among 12 teams at the sectional with a 5,154 total.

Also for South, junior Dazani Holmes was 23rd (1,104, 184 average) and junior Khia Wilson finished 34th (1,073, 178.7 average).

Girls wrestling

Three Red Wolves qualified for this weekend’s IHSA girls state tournament in Bloomington with top-four finishes at the Evanston Sectional on February 10.

Sophomore Jermia Moore (24-8) won the 135-pound title, sophomore Akayla Coopwood (14-3) finished third at 140 and junior Quincy Onyiaorah (23-4) took third at 130.

TF NorthTF North

Boys basketball

The Meteors split their final two regular-season games to move to 14-10 overall and 9-4 in the South Suburban Blue, losing 63-35 to Hillcrest on February 8 and beating Shepard 60-49 on February 15.

Girls basketball

The Meteors’ best season in years ended with a 48-37 loss to Thornton in the Class 3A Brooks Regional final on February 15.

Junior forward Precious Agwu had a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds for North (17-14), which won as many games as the previous five seasons combined (including the abbreviated pandemic year).

The Meteors advanced with a 74-23 win over Brooks in the regional semifinals on February 12. Sophomore guard Lauryn Jackson paced North with 25 points and six rebounds, Agwu had a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds, and junior guard Janae Stewart scored 10.

Boys wrestling

Junior 157-pounder Joseph Merritt dropped two matches in the IHSA Class 2A state tournament last weekend at State Farm Center in Champaign to finish 24-11.

Merritt advanced to state by taking third in the Hinsdale South Sectional on February 10.

Marian CatholicMarian Catholic

Boys basketball

The Spartans (20-10) wrapped up the regular season with a 73-55 loss to De La Salle on February 16. Zack Sharkey led Marian with 19 points, Jonah Weathers had 16 and James Bullock Jr. finished with 10.

Marian rolled by Nazareth 63-43 on February 13, reaching 20 wins for the sixth straight season (not including the shortened pandemic year) and 11th time in program history.

Bullock scored a game-high 17 points, Adam Shorter had 13 and Sharkey finished with 12.

The Spartans lost 52-45 to Benet on February 9 to finish 11-4 in East Suburban Catholic action. Bullock shared game scoring honors with 18 points and Sharkey had 12 points.

Girls basketball

The Spartans led 10-0 en route to a 52-23 win against the host Wildcats on Tuesday in the Class 3A Thornton Sectional semifinals. Madison Davis scored a game-high 19 points for Marian (27-7), while Jordan Bailey and Ty Jackson each scored seven.

Freshman Vesta Radziute scored 12 points and Taylor Bolton had 11 as the Spartans beat Bremen 62-13 on February 15 to win their own regional. Alainna Poisson and Davis each scored eight points.

Marian opened postseason play with a 72-16 victory against Thornridge on February 12 in the semifinals of its own regional. Davis scored 17 points and Radziute had 11 while Bolton and Milan Hall each scored nine.

Girls indoor track

The Spartans finished third at the Rockford Auburn Invitational on February 11, led by sophomore Brooklyn Holmes’ win in the 60-meter dash. Her time of 8.08 was a personal best.

Sophomore Antoinette Baker was runner-up in the triple jump with a program indoor record of 32-9.5.

Other notable efforts were turned in by: Kendyl Rainey (8.25, third in 60, PR), freshman Arredia Primar (10.28, third in 60 hurdles, PR), sophomore McKenzie Mixson (28.30, third in 200, PR), sophomore Darhya Bailey-Gipson (4-9, third in high jump), and the third-place 800 relay team of junior Kayla Robinson, Mixson, freshman Brianna Pettism, and Rainey (1:55.30).

Boys wrestling

Junior 120-pounder Chace Tankson finished 12-13 after dropping a pair of matches in the IHSA Class 2A state finals last weekend at State Farm Center in Champaign. Tankson qualified for state by taking fourth in the Hinsdale South Sectional on February 10.

Illiana Christian

Boys swimming

Junior Zack Vervlied will swim in two events at this weekend’s IHSAA state meet in Indianapolis after winning both at the Lake Central Sectional on February 10.

He’s ranked fifth in the 50-yard freestyle with a sectional time of 21.00 and sixth in the 100 butterfly at 49.85.

Boys wrestling

Senior 150-pounder Carson Ulrich wrapped up his final high school season at 27-4 after dropping his opener in the IHSAA East Chicago Sectional on February 10.

South Suburban CollegeSouth Suburban College

Men’s basketball

The NJCAA Division II No. 3 Bulldogs won their 62nd straight home game on Tuesday, beating Rock Valley 80-69.

Sophomore guard Jemel Jones scored 21 of his 33 points in the first half and finished with 14 rebounds and six assists. Sophomore guard Chris Harrison added 17 points for South Suburban (27-2) and sophomore forward LeQuan Washington had 13.

The Bulldogs wrapped up their regular-season road schedule with a 93-69 win against DuPage on February 15.

Jones (34 points, 16 rebounds) and sophomore guard Julius Byrd (10 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for SSC. Also reaching double figures were freshman forward Quentin Heady (17 points) and Washington (12 points, 6 rebounds).

Jones also was named NJCAA Division II National Player of the Week for the second time this season after averaging 32.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 4.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

South Suburban rolled by Madison (Wis.) 106-53 on February 13 as Jones had 35 points and six rebounds. Byrd scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Heady had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulldogs cruised past Illinois Valley 94-68 on February 10. Jones had a double-double of 35 points and 11 rebounds. Also hitting double figures were Washington (15 points), Tremear Fraley (12), and Byrd (10).


The Bulldogs opened their season with four straight wins, sweeping Southeastern Illinois 13-3 and 5-3 on Sunday and sweeping Vincennes (Ind.) 10-0 and 9-4 on Monday.

Keegan Bobbitt threw a five-inning no-hitter with three walks and four strikeouts in the opener against Vincennes. Christian Holmes had four hits on the day, Nathaniel MacNamara added three hits, Colson Smith homered, and freshman David Holmes from TF North doubled.

Against Southeastern, Kenneth Jones hit a grand slam, John Lemm had four hits, Clay Holmes, and Alonzo Raigosa contributed three hits and Jayden Cummings homered. Anthony Martinez picked up the save in Game 2 after delivering the game-tying hit in the fifth and the go-ahead double in the seventh.


Mike Clark
Mike Clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.