Warren coach Chuck Ramsey won his 400th career game Wednesday with a 65-50 victory over Hersey in the Stevenson Class 4A regional semifinal.
JOE LEWNARD FILE PHOTO | Staff Photographer
Warren seniors Darius Paul and Nathan Boothe didn't know T-shirts were coming after Wednesday night's Class 4A Stevenson boys basketball regional semifinal in Lincolnshire.
But the Warren players all got them with a "400" on the front after retiring coach Chuck Ramsey achieved that milestone victory 65-50 over Hersey.
"I didn't know until now but that's a huge deal for him," Paul said of his coach who has only lost 141 games in his 19-year tenure at Warren.
"I wasn't aware of it either - but it's a great honor for him," Boothe said.
But the T-shirts and milestone were harder earned for the top-seeded Blue Devils (23-3) than the final score indicated. They fell behind 13-2 and didn't take their first lead on No. 15 Hersey (13-15) until there was 3:17 left in the third quarter.
But that was part of a 26-4 tear fueled by Paul and Boothe that put Warren in Friday's 7:30 p.m. regional final against No. 8 Stevenson (17-10), a 48-41 winner over Prospect. The 6-foot-8 Paul (15 rebounds, 4 assists) scored 13 of his team-high 16 points and the 6-9 Boothe (10 rebounds, 9 blocked shots) scored all 13 of his points after halftime.
"We didn't really panic much because we went through it last year," Boothe said of a first-game escape against Highland Park. "We knew we didn't come out good and we just played better."
Hersey came out red-hot as Sean Reszotko (17 points) hit the first two of his five 3-pointers, Vuk Vukovic scored half of his 14 points and Justin Jobski (11 points, 9 rebounds) scored off a miss for a 15-4 lead.
"I really thought we did a nice job of getting them moving and those shots were wide open," said Hersey coach Steve Messer of his team hitting 6 of its first 8 shots.
"We were going right at them and we were supposed to be fearless," Reszotko said after going 5-for-11 behind the arc. "I thought we were in the first half and we played hard."
Stefan Vucicevic, Jobski and Quinn Orlandi battled inside to limit Paul to 3 points keep Boothe scoreless in the second half. But Warren started attacking inside to shoot 17-for-28 in the second half.
Jobski's rebound basket gave Hersey its last lead at 36-34 with 3:42 left.
Paul's baseline drive started Warren's tear that ended when Jameris Smith (13 points) hit 2 free throws for a 60-40 lead with 3:40 left.
"I really felt like we could win this game if we came out like we did," Reszotko said. "It's tough but we played hard."
Mitch Munda added 10 points and JoVaughn Gaines scored 9 to help ensure the T-shirts were broken out.
"Every game is going to be scary," Ramsey said. "Somebody is going to be inspired and going to want to knock you off. It's about playing good basketball."