Boys basketball looks to snap playoff losing streak

The+Ironmen+settle+in+on+defense+versus+Champaign+Central.+Tonight%2C+the+Ironmen+look+for+their+first+playoff+win+in+four+years.+

Photo Courtesy of: Mr. Jeff Christopherson

The Ironmen settle in on defense versus Champaign Central. Tonight, the Ironmen look for their first playoff win in four years.

The Ironmen boys basketball team plays Minooka tonight at 7 p.m. in the first round of their Regional, hosted by Bradley-Bourbonnais. 

The Ironmen are clear favorites for tonight’s matchup as the No. 1 seed in the Regional, facing-off against the No. 8 seed. Minooka has amassed a 3-27 record this season and was riding a 13-game losing streak before edging Oswego 58-56 in their most recent game on Tuesday, Feb 25. 

The approach doesn’t change for Head Coach Dave Witzig, no matter what team he’s playing. 

“When it’s a do-or-die game, it’s easy not to think about that stuff,” Witzig said, “We’re all 0-0 and we gotta find a way to win tonight.” 

Witzig’s group has been a tough one to gauge this season, as his squad has struggled to sustain momentum en route to a 21-10 record. Four consecutive wins is the most the Ironmen have been able to notch this year, which they have done on two occasions. 

One of those occasions was the Intercity Tournament. The Ironmen struck down all of their crosstown rivals to start the year, capping off the tourney with a four-overtime win versus Normal West.

Now over three months later, the attention is on the postseason. The Ironmen are currently holding a rare losing streak in the playoffs, after not escaping the first round in the past four years. That includes teams featuring Wisconsin-Milwaukee forward CJ Wilbourn as well as 1,000 point scorer Daylen Bodie. 
To make matters more difficult for the boys team, they will be missing three starters for tonight’s game. Witzig will be leaning on four-year seniors Mitchell Sauder and Breven Harden to lead the way for the shorthanded roster.

Photo Courtesy of: Mr. Jeff Christopherson
Mitchell Sauder (’20) advances the ball up court in early season play.

“It’s their senior year and usually seniors have to make big plays in March,” Witzig said. 

The 21-year coaching veteran also expects key minutes from sophomore forward Tyler Dwinal, who hasn’t seen much playing time at the varsity level this season. 

“These guys have been playing a lot and working hard in practice, and I think they’re ready to step in,” Witzig said.  

The winner of tonight’s game will play the winner of Bradley-Bourbonnais versus Yorkville on Friday, March 6.