The Springfield Southeast boys basketball team didn't dwell on a humbling 20-point loss to Lincoln.
The Spartans used it as motivation.
Springfield Southeast bounced back with a 62-42 victory over Chatham Glenwood, followed up with a 67-54 victory at Jacksonville and now has its sights squarely on winning the Central State Eight Conference.
The Spartans (17-5) share first place in the league at 11-2 with Lincoln, one game ahead of Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin. Southeast has three league games remaining, including rematches with Glenwood and Jacksonville.
"The conference is still up for grabs," Southeast coach Lawrence Thomas told the Springfield State Journal-Register. "We pride ourselves on being a player in the conference."
It should be a fight to the finish. Lincoln (21-4) still has home games remaining against Rochester and Sacred Heart-Griffin and closes the regular season at Springfield Lanphier.
"They're good. They're really good," Springfield coach Matt Reed told the State Journal-Register about Lincoln. "Of the Lincoln teams I've seen -- my second year (2007) they made it to state -- this is as good of a Lincoln team, other than the one that went to state, that I've gone against."
Southeast isn't too shabby, especially when the Spartans are hitting 3-pointers.
Southeast turned a one-point lead into an 11-point edge in the second quarter against Glenwood on the strength of four 3-pointers. Senior guard Herman Senor hit three treys in a 93-second span and freshman D'Angelo Hughes added the fourth.
Hughes had missed 12 straight 3-point attempts over a three-game span.
"It was very important when Herman made those early on," Thomas said. "It calmed everybody down. We needed senior leadership. Both of our seniors were big. Jagger Anderson (10 points) was solid tonight."
Holding on for dear life: East St. Louis did what hadn't been done. The Flyers put Belleville East in dire straits in a Southwestern Conference game.
That seemed to bring out the best in the Lancers.
Trailing by as many as 23 points in the third quarter last Friday night, Belleville East chipped away at the lead until pulling within 88-85 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Malcolm Hill and James White. East St. Louis turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and fouled Hill with 6.6 seconds left to ensure he didn't attempt another trey.
Hill missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and after a scramble for the rebound, the Belleville East bench was slapped with a technical foul.
The Flyers' Travon McCray made both free throws to finish off a 90-85 victory and hand the Lancers their first conference loss.
"I was pleased with our effort in coming back," Lancers coach Abel Schrader told the Belleville News-Democrat. "But we played no defense for the first three quarters. You aren't going to beat anybody giving up 90 points.''
Flyers coach Tony Young wanted a better defensive effort, too.
"We didn't execute well down the stretch. I know we played three good quarters, but it's the fourth quarter which counts,'' Young told the News-Democrat. "... We've got to be able to finish and we didn't do that tonight.''
The Flyers held on and extended their winning streak to 11 games, two of which have come against Belleville East. The other was in the semifinals of the Collinsville Schnucks Holiday Classic.
Hitting their stride: Normal Community coach Dave Witzig didn't ask for numbers. He wanted an impact.
He got that from senior guard Callen Boddie and Marquet Newsome.
Boddie scored just two points and Newsome didn't have a field goal -- he went 9 of 10 from the line -- but they helped push the Ironmen to their 14th straight victory as they knocked off Moline 62-43 last Saturday.
"They really pressured Moline's guards and got the ball where it needed to on offense," Ironmen coach Dave Witzig told the Bloomington Pantagraph.
Normal Community (18-6) overcame a 17-10 deficit on the road.
Out for the season: Last weekend, Niles North reached the 20-victory for the third straight season and the fifth time in program history.
How much further the Vikings can go remains to be seen now that 6-foot-2 senior guard Lorenzo Dillard has been dismissed from the team.
Niles North coach Glenn Olson confirmed Dillard, who had started all season, is suspended for the remainder of the season, but the coach did not specify why, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
According to the Skokie Police Department, Dillard was arrested and charged with domestic battery Jan. 27.
Without Dillard, the Vikings (20-3) beat Maine West 56-54 last Friday to capture at least a share of the Central Suburban North Conference with an 8-0 league mark.
Irish eyes are smiling: The Mid-State Six Conference has a surprising new leader.
Tied at 44 in overtime last Friday at Peoria Manual, Peoria Notre Dame's Nic Reynolds buried a 3-pointer as part of a scoring surge that carried the Irish to a 60-54 victory. PND is not 3-1 in the MS6 and 13-10 overall.
"When (Reynolds) took the shot, I wasn't sure that's the shot in my head that I necessarily wanted at the time," Notre Dame coach Tom Lacher told the Peoria Journal Star. "If he makes it, I'm good with it. And he buried it. He is our leader, and was going to take us home, and he did."
Reynolds then added a three-point play and went 4 for 4 at the stripe, scoring 10 of his 20 points in overtime.
"We were hungry coming into this game," Reynolds told the Journal Star. "Then when we went into overtime, we just said we weren't leaving here without a ‘W,' and that's what we did."
The Rams (14-6, 3-2) led 25-15 at halftime, but the Irish outscored them 20-8 in the third quarter.