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Maine South's Andrew Palucki celebrates with the Maine South fans after the game. Maine South defeated Evanston 74-66 in overtime in the Class 4A Maine South Sectional semifinals Wednesday. | Tracy Allen/for Sun-Times Media
The Evanston boys basketball team put on a show in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to force overtime.
But Maine South stole back the spotlight in the extra four minutes to earn a 74-66 win over the Wildkits in the Class 4A Maine South Sectional semifinal Wednesday.
Junior guard Caleb deMarigny's 3-pointer from the baseline with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in OT put the second-seeded Hawks ahead 62-59. Senior guard Sean Maloney later scored on consecutive layups, the second giving Maine South a 68-60 advantage with 1:21 remaining.
The third-seeded Wildkits, who rallied from 10 down with 2:03 remaining in regulation, were all out of comeback magic.
"Our kids played with poise and confidence in overtime," Maine South coach Tony Lavorato said. "Sean Maloney gave us a great spark, and we made some big stops."
The Hawks, who are ranked No. 23 by the Chicago Sun-Times, play top-seeded and No. 7-ranked Loyola (24-5) at 7 p.m. Friday for the sectional championship.
Maine South (25-6) led by as many as 11 in the fourth and was up 53-43 after senior guard Andrew Palucki's two free throws with 2:03 left in the quarter.
Evanston senior guard Will Jones then connected on three 3-pointers over a 45-second stretch to keep the Wildkits alive. Senior guard Nibra White sent the the game into OT with his 3 off a pass from Jones with 15.1 seconds on the clock.
Jones scored 14 of his team-high 21 in the fourth, and the Wildkits made seven of their 15 3-pointers in the final quarter.
"We could have been quicker closing out on shooters, but they were knocking down some tough shots," deMarigny said.
The first half featured eight lead changes and two ties, with Maine South going into the locker room ahead 26-22. The Hawks stretched the lead to 40-32 after three and went up 45-34 on George Sargeant's basket at the 5:32 mark of the fourth.
Sargeant finished with a game-best 22 points, 20 of which came after halftime. Sophomore guard Jon Arenas contributed 17 points, and Palucki added 13 points.
Evanston freshman guard Nojel Eastern, playing in his first game since Jan. 18, scored 17 points. Eastern, who had been sidelined with a left knee injury, made four 3s, including two from about 25 feet. Senior forward Marcus Johnson had 12 points.