||Search Results||Watch Live||Buy Photos||Sign up||School Finder|
Before Saturday night, Matt Mikolajczak was a great shooter having a bad season. The Lincoln-Way Central senior’s shooting slump had caused Knights coach Bob Curran to play him only sparingly in Friday’s loss to Lincoln-Way North.
Mikolajczak responded in a big way with the game on the line Saturday, scoring 16 points in the final 3:44, including the go-ahead three-pointer, as the Knights rallied for a 49-44 win over host Lincoln-Way East in the Medieval Classic third-place game.
“I’ve been on and off all year,” Mikolajczak said. “It’s been a tough shooting year. Tonight, they just started falling.”
East (6-5) led 44-35 with 2:43 to go before Mikolajczak hit two free throws then buried his second and third treys of the quarter to cut the lead to 44-43.
With the Knights (7-7) struggling to find a shot in the final minute, Mikolajczak got the ball well beyond the arc on the top of the key and drilled another triple to give Central the lead for good.
“I was feeling it,” he said. “I didn’t even know it was so deep. It was just a natural reaction to let it go.”
Brad Bass (five points, 8 rebounds) had a blocked shot, Joe Newtoff (six points, six rebounds) a steal, and Newtoff and Mikolajczak combined for three free throws to seal the win.
Kevin Mampe added eight points and eight rebounds for Central.
Mike Moss (10 points, six rebounds) and Eric Spudic (six points, six rebounds) paced East.
The Griffins scored the final seven points of the third quarter, getting five from Tommy DiNaso, to take a 33-30 lead, and Isaiah Moss scored five points early in the fourth to increase the edge.
“Our subs did a tremendous job,” East coach Rich Kolimas said. “Luke Lizen, Colin O’Connell, Austin Winkler were great. We just made some poor decisions late that cost us.”
In the end, Mikolajczak took over.
“This gives us good momentum,” Central coach Bob Curran said.
“I’m really proud of (Mikolajczak). He didn’t get the playing time (Friday) and he didn’t pout about it. He put himself in position to succeed.”