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 Tuesday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2014. There are 162 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Everybody is invited to go on a moonlight excursion next Monday evening on the steamer New Boston. The trip will be from Davenport to Muscatine and back.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The mayor and bridge committee let a contract to the Clinton Bridge company for a $1,125 iron bridge across Sears canal near Milan.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Injunction proceedings to compel the Central Association to keep a baseball team in Rock Island for the remainder of the season were contemplated by some of the Rock Island fans, but they decided to defer action.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The first of the new and more powerful diesel engines built for the Rock Island Lines for the proposed Chicago-Denver run, passed thru the Tri-Cities this morning.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island Rescue Mission is negotiating for the purchase of the Prince Hall Masonic Home located at 37th Avenue and 5th Street, Rock Island.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Quad Cities Container Terminal is being lauded as a giant business boon that will save several days and hundreds of dollars on each goods shipment to the coasts. The Quad Cities Container Terminal is the final piece of the puzzle that opens up increase access to world markets, Robert Goldstein said.








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