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Moline survives UT upset bid in regional opener


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Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2013, 11:34 pm
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By Steve Tappa, stappa@qconline.com
Jeff Schimmel grabbed the closest locker room wall to lean on during Monday night's post-game chat with the media.

Nobody could blame the Moline boys' basketball coach. Not after a knee-buckling upset bid by Class 4A regional host United Township.

Three days after losing the regular-season finale by 21 points at Wharton Field House, the Panthers came up a fourth-quarter Moline press short of pulling off the postseason-opening shocker, in a 52-47 thriller at the Panther Den.

Fourth-seeded Moline (19-12) swept the three-game season series to survive to face Western Big 6 Conference rival, top-seeded and four-time league champ Rock Island (22-4) at 7:30 tonight.

In a contest featuring four ties and eight lead changes, and neither team leading by more than six points, fifth-seeded UT (5-22) had a five-point edge at 43-38 with 4:45 remaining.

However, normally anchored by a 1-2-2 zone defense, the Maroons responded with full-court pressure out of a timeout to force four UT turnovers and spark a 10-0 run to regain the lead for good.

"I don't know if we've shown that against UT this season, but I thought we needed some energy there," Schimmel said about Moline's two minutes of mayhem, with Derrick Stabler (12 points, seven rebounds) and Drew Owens (eight points, six assists, four steals) both getting steal-and-layup combos in the deciding spurt.

"They'd done a nice job pressuring us, and we turned the tables on them and sped them up. We had some fouls to give there, too, so I figured even if we didn't get any steals or deflections, it was time to get aggressive, and the risk paid off."

Moline also withstood a last-minute Panther comeback, done in by a turnover on a fastbreak and a pair of open 3-point attempts that rimmed in and out.

Indeed, Schimmel was unable to breathe easy until 1.9 seconds remained and big-man Brandon Vice (11 points, 10 rebounds) nailed a pair of free throws for the final tally.

"It's too bad because we play with pressure every day in practice," UT coach Marc Polite said. "That's just the signs of youth sometimes, getting guys in the right spots and getting the right guys to step up and go get the ball.

"We still had our opportunities. The fastbreak we threw away. The missed layup. A couple of open 3-pointers rimmed in and out. We told the guys this after the game, 'We haven't been in that situation much this year.' So this was another awesome learning experience heading into next season, and I guarantee we'll make those plays next season."

Trevor May paced the Panthers with a game-high 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Lamont Mitchell led UT with 8 rebounds. Jed Wood contributed 11 points in the win.

"We had some kids play their hearts out," Polite said. "We have some crushed kids right now. But they'll bounce back. We'll get back in the gym, and we'll be better because of it next season."

The 6-foot-6 Vice was a difference-maker late, too.

Foul trouble and a better Panthers defense held the Moline junior without a shot in the first three quarters. In the final period, though, Vice was 4-for-4 from the field and scored all of his points.

"It was tough to sit there and watch," Vice said. "It was stressful and exciting. But I just needed to bide my time and take advantage when I got my chance."

Vice and the Maroons did just that and now get to play Rock Island again. Moline took their arch-rivals to overtime two weeks ago before falling.

"We were close last time, but this is a new game on a neutral floor," Schimmel said. "It might give us confidence knowing we can play with those guys, but we need to execute like we did the second time we played them, because they're the No. 1 seed for a reason."

















 




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  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.






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