Century's Zedan Said (No. 52) starts to get mobbed by his teammates after he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with four seconds left in the SWIC eighth-grade championship. Photo by Jeff Vorva
Area grade school teams win SWIC championships
By Jeff Vorva
Century Junior High School’s eighth grade boys basketball team had a target on its back all season.
After enjoying an unbeaten campaign as seventh-graders, the Wildcats were the team everyone wanted to beat this season.
Not one of them one did.
Zedan Said made sure of it.
The 5-foot, 90-pound guard drained a 3-pointer with four seconds left to help the Wildcats sweat out a 55-52 victory over Palos South on March 11 to win the Southwest Interscholastic Conference tournament at Prairie View in Tinley Park.
“I just let it fly,” Said said. “Shooters shoot. I knew it was good when I shot it. That’s probably the biggest shot I’ve made.”
The team finished 38-0 in two seasons, both under coach Kevin Pajeau.
“Zedan has been clutch, and he’s been hot,” Pajeau said. “When we get him going, we’re tough to beat.”
Tournament MVP Quinn Durkin led the Wildcats with 25 points. Jake Tomczak added 13 and Said had 11.
Other members on the Wildcats are Nate Anton, Jake Drew, Zadok Judd, Abed Hmeidan, Matt Durkin, Karim Diab, Tommy Moore, Ryan Jabawi, Gian Picot, Solomen Mitchell and Hayden Toenjes.
Kevin Salkauskas had 23 points for Palos while Daniel Salkauskas popped in 18.
All-conference players from area schools were Diab, Quinn Durkin and Tomczak from Century; Carter Gillen and Logan Sales from Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School; Michael Kos from Conrady; Kendall McDowell and Daniel Morakinyo of Orland Junior High; Tyler Phelps and Logan Wessel of Evergreen Park; and Daniel and Kevin Salkauskas of Palos South.
In the seventh-grade title game, Oak Lawn trailed 16-10 to Evergreen Park at halftime, but stormed out in the second half and won 41-35. Shay Landers had 11 points, all in the second half, to lead the Mustangs. Danny Strelow added 10.
Other members of coach Dave Dare’s team are Charlie Williams, Conor Hynes, Guillermo Aguinaga, Ryan Westin, Cayden Balog, Daniel Garcia-Ansurez, Landon Fullerton, Nathan Brennan, Will Claussen, Lucas Olofson, Malcolm Lash, Sam Lyons, Angel Chiquito, Kamari Polk and Isaiah Delgado.
Area members of the all-conference team were Vinny Annel of Jerling; Jayshan Atkins and Kevin Hunter of Simmons; Brady Bruen, Bobby Brusek and Amari Dillard of Evergreen Park; Finn Crotty of Palos South; Taylor McDoniel of Orland; and Polk and Strelow of Oak Lawn.
Palos South’s eight-grader shocked previously unbeaten Century, 25-21, 25-15, at Grissom Middle School on March 11. It’s the fourth straight championship for the Cardinals eighth grader team.
Members of the Cardinals are Julia Koeppen, Hope Kohler, Emily Tylka, Leyalli Mansour, Nicole Stec, Kacey Fitzpatrick, Mya Slowikowski, Amelia Kadamus, Audra Zukowski, Lexi Mackey, Greta Rimkevicius and Nora Metznik. Marty Duggan is the coach.
Athletes from area schools on the all-conference team are Mia Hilburger and Heidi Wagner of Jerling; Kailey McCormick, Marilena Karbo and Christina Lavery of Century; Isabella Van Last and Jane Chan of Orland; Arianna Janowiak of Oak Lawn; Christina Morales of Conrady; Fitzpatrick and Kohler of Palos South; Quetzalli Pichardo-Aich of Liberty; and Hannah Pikus of Evergreen Park.
Palos South’s seventh graders were down most of the first set but came back and won, 25-23, 25-12, over Grissom to claim the title.
Members of the team are Ava Mackey, Jade Ervin, Teagen Jeffers, Sofia Wilson, Brooklyn Parr, Katy Zumerchik, Michelle Rozanski, Dorian Urquizo, Maggie Purtill, Makaleigh Terry, Maya Surdel, Molly Hackett and Sarah Cairo. Scott Adams is the coach.
Area all-conference players are Alexandra Kardo and Addyson Chausse of Century; Molly Goyke of Evergreen Park; Abigail Witt of Oak Lawn; Aubery Deverick of Jerling; Wilson, Parr and Zumerchik of Palos South; Peyton Pawlicki and Aliya Sulemani of Orland; Daphne Fortner of Simmons; Holly Jirka and Beason Jamhour of Conrady; and Cailey Mills of Liberty.
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