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Homewood-Flossmoor proved without a doubt against Marian Catholic why it is one of the top ranked teams in the area.
The size difference between the two teams was apparent from the opening tip.
Midway through the first quarter, the score started to mirror that. A 12-0 run in the first half gave the No. 21 Homewood-Flossmoor the lead for good during a 67-58 win. The win advances the Vikings (3-0) into Friday’s championship game at Bloom.
“The kids came ready to play and that was something we talked about after the game yesterday against T.F. South,” said Homewood-Flossmoor coach James McLaughlin, whose team out-rebounded Marian 30-18. “We really wanted to take advantage of our size tonight and I felt we did that.”
With the score tied 10-10 in the first quarter, the Vikings started to take advantage of that size by out-rebounding the Spartans and scoring in the paint at will during the 12-0 run that gave them the lead for good 22-10. By the end of the half the Vikings were in control 41-22.
6-foot-4 Rashaan Surles had 12 of his 17 points in the first half. 6-7 Tai Odiase added 13 off the bench while 6-9 Lamar Wofford-Humphrey had 12 points and 10 rebounds. 6-5 Marcus Hill added 14 rebounds.
“It was important to set the tone,” Surles said. “They turned up their pressure in the second half.”
The Spartans (2-1) cut the lead to 49-34 after three, and pulled within 61-54 late in the fourth quarter but would get no closer. Spartans leading scorer Tyler Ulis had 14 of his 30 in the fourth quarter to keep his team within striking distance. He was the only Spartans player in double figures.
“They surprised us with that high zone,” Ulis said. “We got it together in the second half, started playing harder. We needed that the entire game.”