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Plainfield Central's Logan Velasquez (44) is fouled by Plainfield East's Roger Tating (15) at Plainfield Central High School in Plainfield, Illinois, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. | Michael DiNovo~For Sun-Times Media
Plainfield East senior guard Roger Tating knew where the ball was going, so he jumped the passing lane.
He shook the ball free from Plainfield Central senior guard Curtis Harrington near mid-court Friday night and drove down for the layup that gave the Bengals a 61-60 lead with 27 seconds to go en route to a thrilling 63-60 Southwest Prairie victory over the Wildcats.
“My teammate was on Mitch (Young) and I knew he would try to get the ball back to Curtis,” Tating said. “Luckily I got in the passing lane.
“The layup was kind of tough, actually, with the game in your hands. If we had lost, this would really be disappointing.”
East (3-4, 2-1) led 35-23 after a first half when the Bengals led 10-0 and had another 10-point run. But Central (3-5, 1-2) refused to quit, battling back to lead 58-57 with 2:17 left and 60-59 with 1:04 remaining. The Wildcats had two three-point looks in the closing seconds to tie.
“This was fun, just not quite as much fun as we would have liked,” Central coach Steve Lamberti said. “I’m proud of our guys’ passion, spirit, effort and battle, just not the outcome. But we’re a better team now, and the kids are excited about that.”
“The second half was a different story,” East coach Branden Adkins said, citing free throws. Central was shooting in the third quarter and went 18-for-21 from the line in the second half.
“We did a nice job at the start,” Adkins said. “We were aggressive. But then we got comfortable. That may be one of our problems, we get a little too comfortable.”
Aaron Jordan scored 19 points, Myles Ward 16 and Cole Kotopka 10 for East.
Central junior center Austin Velasquez posted game highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. Harrington and freshman forward Justin Windt scored 15, with 13 of Windt’s in the second half, when he went 7-for-7 from the line after making one free throw all season previously.