PALATINE, Ill. – Trailing 70-67 with 3:17 to play in the game, the Harper College men's basketball game surged ahead with a 9-0 run and held on for an 82-76 victory over Mid-Michigan Community College in the Region IV Quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
The Lakers' Erick Layton (team-high 24 points) stole the ball from Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) and scored to make it 70-67. The Hawks (17-13) answered with a pair of Walsh free throws to make it 70-69, and on the next possession Walsh found Charles Wright (Cheyenne, Wyo./Cheyenne East) under the basket for a layup to make it 71-70 with 2:32 to play.
After another stop on the defensive end, Walsh split a pair of free throws to push the lead to two. Reibel intercepted Cody Johnson's pass and found a streaking Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows )for a layup and 74-70 lead. Trevor Gernaat (19 points) missed a 3-pointer on the other end, and Harper's Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) buried a jumper with the shot clock winding down to push the lead to six. The Hawks went 6-of-6 from the foul line in the closing minute to secure the win.
"We all had stretches in this game where one of our guys took over for a few minutes," Reibel said. "Kevin's (Sexton) shot with the shot clock winding down was the biggest one."
Walsh scored 18 of his game-high 25 points after halftime while Gaedele and Reibel scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Harper seized control early with an 18-10 lead on a Walsh 3-pointer with 12:20 left in the first half. The Hawks led 32-24 after a Gaedele three with 7:10 remaining in the half, but Mid-Michigan (15-13) responded with a 10-0 run capped off by a Gernaat basket to take a 34-32 lead with 2:17 remaining in the half. Sexton's 3-pointer ended the run and gave Harper a 35-34 lead at the break.
Mid-Michigan took control in the second half and grabbed their biggest lead of the game at 50-41 with 14:23 remaining.
"We got lazy on defense late in the first half," Walsh said. "Once they got the lead in the second half, we put the clamps down on the defensive end, and that turned the momentum a lot."
The Hawks move on to face Joliet in the Region IV Semifinals at 7 PM Friday night on the campus of College of DuPage. The winner moves on to the Region IV Championship on Saturday at 3 PM.