Hawks' Season Ends Against Joliet

Harper's season ended against Joliet in the Region IV Semifinals. (Jim Cummins)
Harper's season ended against Joliet in the Region IV Semifinals. (Jim Cummins)
The Harper College men's basketball team battled back from an early 19-point deficit to take a lead  in the second half in the Region IV Semifinals against Joliet but could not hang on, losing 70-65 to end the season.

The third-seeded Hawks (17-14) trailed for the first 30:27 of the game until Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator)'s 3-pointer gave them a 55-54 lead with 9:33 to play. A Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) basket made it 57-54 with 8:03 left. After Joliet's Deiondre Cunningham (24 points, 11 rebounds) nailed a three to tie it with 5:06 to play, Sexton hit a three to give the Hawks a 62-59 edge with 4:35 to play.

Cunningham answered back with a 3-pointer to tie at 62-62. Joliet turned up the defensive pressure on the next possession, forcing a turnover that led to Cunningham's sixth 3-pointer of the game to put the Wolves (21-10) up 65-62 with 3:27 left. The Hawks failed to score on their next two possessions, and Joliet's Zoran Aresnovic (14 points) went 3-of-4 at the foul line, pushing the lead to six.

Bradley Reibel (/Prospect)'s pair of free throws cut the deficit to 68-64, but Harper could not get any closer in the final minute of the game.

Walsh led the Hawks with 24 points, including a season-best seven 3-pointers. He averaged 24.5 PPG in postseason play and was named to the Region IV All-Tournament Team. Sexton and Reibel chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Hawks fell into an early 25-6 hole in the first 11 minutes of the game. After a pair of Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) baskets made it 25-10, Walsh hit three consecutive 3-pointers. Harper closed to within three points in the first half before the Wolves took a 39-31 lead into the locker room.

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