Hilltoppers — 2014 boys regional champions in a 'barnburner,' 73-65
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PULASKI — A packed Mount Pulaski gymnasium with nearly
equal-size fan-bases really got into the high-intense and
hard-fought regional championship boys basketball tilt, with the
outcome not decided until the closing moments.
The Mount Pulaski Hilltoppers and the Sangamon Valley Storm put
on a top-notch spectacle, featuring almost every facet of the game:
inside and outside shooting, clever passing and dribbling, soaring
rebounds, fast breaks, textbook maneuvers, magical steals — but also
with lots of turnovers and fouls generated by quick and
nearly-ferocious full-court pressure by all the players throughout
the highly-charged contest.
Both resurgent teams — each coming in with over-all losing records —
showed up to win and each played well enough to take away the prize,
with the benches from both teams contributing mightily to the game
while giving the starters a breather along the way.
It was often a rough and tumble game which at times, as Hall of Fame
and long-time NBA LA Lakers' sports announcer, Chick Hearn, would
remark: "The mustard is off the hotdog" — the players being not the
only ones to blow plays, as the referees blew a few calls
themselves. But both coaching staffs were in control of their teams,
which saw opposing players often lending a hand to his spilled
opponent who had gone crashing to the floor.
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Indeed, it was great to witness the customary long line of
contestants from both teams shaking hands with their opponents
and opposing coaches following their fierce challenge that had
just come to an end. Moreover, both schools featured excellent
cheerleader squads, each putting on a marvelous show with their
The Hilltoppers move on to the next level, Tuesday, March 4, at
the Ridgeview Sectional, at 7 pm — weather permitting!
[By PHIL BERTONI]