Mike Reynolds didn't mince words.
Following the Galesburg boys basketball team's 57-56 loss to Moline in Western Big Six Conference action last Friday, the Silver Streaks coach took the officials to task.
"Absolute worst refs in the history of basketball," Reynolds told the Galesburg Register-Mail.
Some will take umbrage with Reynolds for being so vocal in his displeasure, but the second part to his rant might explain why he became so incensed.
"One official said at halftime we teach our kids to foul," Reynolds said. "He had a preconceived notion about us before he even got here. I bet 80 percent of his calls were against us."
Reynolds won't ever deny his team plays physical. Heck, every team in the WB6 does. Most officials allow WB6 teams to bang on each other in the post and stay aggressive. They don't blow the whistle too often and take teams out of their element.
In this case, Reynolds felt like they did.
"Unfortunately, the game was officiated like no other Western Big Six game has been," Reynolds said. "I've watched all the tapes of every Big Six game and it's never been like this."
In the end, Moline went 21 of 28 from the free-throw line, while Galesburg went 8 of 11 from the stripe.
Overcoming foul trouble: Edwardsville had Belleville East swingman Malcolm Hill right where it wanted him.
He was on the bench.
After picking up two fouls in the first three minutes of last Friday's Southwestern Conference showdown between two of Class 4A's top five teams, Hill sat out the rest of the first quarter. That was long enough. Hill returned to score 27 points and lead the Lancers to a 72-61 victory.
Belleville East is the only team to beat Edwardsville this season, and this one was largely because Hill refused to let East lose.
"Malcolm's a special player," Lancers coach Abel Schrader told the Belleville News-Democrat. "When he can focus, and he's driven and he's playing hard, he's really hard to guard. We've seen a lot of different types of defenses ... he's capable of having nights like this."
Hill, a 6-foot-7 forward who has signed with Illinois, made 18 of 20 free throws as the Lancers went 24 of 26 from the line overall. Belleville East also made 14 of 17 field goals in the second half.
"I'm not sure we did a lot of things poorly," Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo told the News-Democrat. "I just think with the schemes they run and the players they have, they're hard to defend."
Good sign for Illini: ESPN sent a broadcast team to Chicago last Saturday to showcase two of the most heralded prep prospects for a national audience.
As it turned out, the all-sports network gave Illinois fans a reason to be encouraged about the future.
In Chicago Simeon's 44-41 victory over Chicago Whitney Young -- they are the top two teams in Class 4A -- it wasn't the Wolverines' Jabari Parker or the Dolphins' Jahlil Okafor stealing the show. It was Simeon seniors Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn who did that.
The pair of Illinois signees combined for 22 points, and Tate drove coast-to-coast for a layin with 30 seconds left in regulation that gave Simeon its three-point advantage.
"Our guard play killed them," Parker told the Chicago Tribune. "Our bigs, we weren't there. But Jaylon and Kendrick, they really took it to them."
Parker, the Duke recruit who is regarded as one of the top three seniors in the nation, finished with just seven points and six rebounds. Fortunately, his teammates picked up the slack. Tate had 12 points, while Nunn had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
"That's what I do, play off Jabari," Nunn told the Chicago Sun-Times. "If he has a bad game, I pick him up."
The same can be said of L.J. Peak. With Okafor, a junior being courted by ever major D-I program, limited to eight points, Peak scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter when the Dolphins erased a 13-point deficit.
Rams sweep rivals: A strong second quarter gave Peoria Manual the edge it needed to complete a sweep of its biggest rival, beating Peoria Central 71-58 in a Mid-State Six Conference showdown last Friday.
With the score tied at 27 and four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Rams went on a 16-4 run before halftime and never relinquished the lead.
"I don't think either team had a good rhythm early on but we had a stretch in the second quarter where we played solid offense and defense," Manual coach Derrick Booth told the Peoria Journal Star.
Since it was the River City rivalry, there had to be some fireworks, too.
With Central trailing by 10 points midway through the third quarter, the Rams' Javon Lee and the Lions' Myles Boone were called for double technicals after getting tangled up. Central reserves Eriq Baird and Kyle Washington were ejected for leaving the bench.
Boone was ejected two minutes later when he was assessed a second technical for hanging on the rim following a dunk.
"Nothing compares to Manual-Central games," Booth said. "The emotion, energy and passion is unlike any team we face."
Showdown shorts out: Two of the teams in the battle for the NIC-10 championship were scheduled to square off last Friday night. It didn't happen.
An electrical issue at Belvidere left the entire school building without power, forcing the postponement of its home game against Rockton Hononegah.
Three teams -- Rockford East (8-2), Hononegah (7-2) and Belvidere (7-2) -- sit atop the NIC-10 standings, with Rockford Boylan sitting just a game back at 6-3. The real surprise may be Rockford Jefferson, which began the NIC-10 season 0-3 but now owns a 13-9 overall record and a 5-4 league mark.
The J-Hawks beat Rockford East and Rockford Auburn last weekend, creating an even tighter race in the final month of the regular season.
"It's going to be a crazy finish," East coach Roy Sackmaster told the Rockford Register Star.