On a night when gusting winds and snow kept many home and warm, the consolation side of the men’s intramural pre-holiday 3-on-3 basketball tournament came to a heated finish Tuesday night at the Field House.
UISSC advanced to the semifinal game after defeating Team Esteban on Monday, earning the chance to battle Omelettes with a title trip prime for the taking.
Because of inclement weather, officials closed the Field House early Tuesday evening, but just enough time was left to get the last few scheduled intramural games in before the championships.
The foursome of Nick Kron, Reed McManigal, Caleb Recker, and Clark Anderson proved too much for the Omlettes. The UISSC quartet combined for an offensive fury through the first half of the contest, mixing their long-range game with an array of acrobatic drives to the basket for a 15-10 win.
The squad then took the third and final matchup, 15-8, to move on following a close second contest.
“We try to drive first,” UISSC player Kron said. “We just try to find who is open. There’s no one who really takes over.”
The Omelettes took the show early, flashing an impressive 3-point game while employing quick first steps on the dribble to set up drives to the hoop.
The UISSC and Omlettes split the first two games of the best-of-three program.
Fatigue was anticipated to be a large factor in the final game of the series. UISSC players prepared themselves by substituting after every two points.
The fresh legs made all the difference, and UISSC earned the majority of its points off turnovers and hustle plays when Omelettes players began to falter.
“We were getting pretty tired toward the end there,” Anderson said. “Playing two games before didn’t help either, but the way we did subs helped.”
The UISSC defense also was crucial. McManigal served as a catalyst for UISSC, racking up several steals throughout the three games played.
“It’s all about finding the things that the other guys don’t want to do,” he said.
The pre-holiday 3-on-3 tournament is scheduled to conclude tonight in the Field House, when
UISSC will take on Blue Chips for the tournament championship.
UISSC players said they are ready to get back to action in the final round after previously falling out of the winner’s bracket and making a successful run while continuously facing elimination.
“We’re just trying to do the little things right,” McManigal said.