• Want to receive periodic updates from the Inkspot? Sign up for our newsletter highlighting the latest headlines, top stories and more here
Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.


Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.


Whatever you are interested in, we've got it covered.


Ironmen secure spot in 4A IHSA State Finals with double-digit victory over Palatine Pirates


Community advances to the 4A IHSA State Finals for the second time in school history after defeating the Palatine Pirates 58-38 at the University of Illinois’ State Farm Center Friday afternoon.

Two Ironmen finished the night with double-digit scoring performances. Jaheem Webber posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Braylon Roman led the team with 19.

While Palatine’s Connor May had a 17-point performance, the Washington University commit found himself in foul trouble earlier, seeing reduced action in the second half. The Pirate’s second-leading scorer, Tommy Elter, finished the contest with 10 points; the rest of the roster contributed a combined 11.

In the opening quarter, the Iron and Pirates exchanged leads three times. The first ended knotted up 13 all.

Roman drained a three-pointer to open the second to put the Iron up 16-13. Community would not trail again.

Community would take a five-point advantage into the half, up 27-22.

Ironmen head coach Mr. Dave Witzig said the team was “disappointed” to head into halftime “only up by five.”

“We missed some layups,” Witzig said. “We gave up four points on offensive rebounds when we didn’t back box out like we should have.”

At halftime, the coach said, the Iron talked “fundamentals.”

Roman opened up the quarter with a three for the Iron. Nico Newsome added one of his own on the next possession.

“From that point on, it was [the Pirates] playing catch-up,” Witzig said. “We made a couple of big shots in the third quarter.”

Community posted one of their best performances from the perimeter of the season, shooting 5/9.

Roman went 3/6 from range, while Newsome went 2/3.

“Everybody has to worry about Jaheem and Noah [Cleveland] the post,” the veteran coach said. “Some of those threes were kick-outs from those guys…If you told me before the game we made five threes and [Palatine] made three, I’d say that we’re going to win the game.”

This season, Palatine, Witzig said, relied on the three ball.

“We did a great job on them,” the coach said as the Pirates went 3/18 from beyond the arc.

While the Pirates had to worry about Community in the post, those worries weren’t enough to shut down the Iron.

Community scored 30 points in the paint in a game in which the Iron’s only dunk came with 1:30 left on the clock.

But Community didn’t need their signature dunks to get Ironmen fans on their feet, it was the team’s statement denials at the rim.

Webber recorded six blocks in the game for the Orange and Black, good for 11 in the last two games.

“Our defense has obviously been a lot better these last few weeks,” the Wright State commit said. “I feel like those block shots come with that. Protecting the rim is kind of my job on the team. If we’re not all doing our jobs, something’s not right.”

The win saw all the Ironmen doing their jobs like Dexter Niekamp passing up open three looks for higher-percentage shots.

Niekamp finished the night tied with Webber in assists, with three apiece, as the Iron looked for the best shot on their possessions.

“It’s not about who scores the points,” Cleveland said. “It’s about getting the best shot for the team.”

This season, Cleveland said, isn’t about “individual stats,” but what’s best for the team.

Community shot 55% from the field and 79% from the line in the contest, going 11/14.

Newsome and Cleveland each had eight points in the win. Cleveland would record nine boards in the contest.

The Ironmen make their second State Championship contest appearance tonight at 7:30 p.m. when they face Homewood-Flossmoor.

Donate to Inkspot
Our Goal

IF YOU SHARE THE INKSPOT'S PASSION for empowering Normal Community's aspiring journalists and equipping them with viable and valuable digital media skills, please consider contributing to our cause.
Your support plays a vital role in enabling the Inkspot to invest in top-tier equipment, maintain memberships in distinguished professional organizations such as the Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association, send our students to compete at state and national contests, and attend the National High School Journalism Convention.
Your generosity is the key to providing these students with a truly enriching educational experience. THANK YOU.

About the Contributors
Inkspot Staff
Stories published under Inkspot Staff are unattributed to a single reporter because they: have been produced through a collaborative staff effort; individual staff member contribution is not easily distinguishable; and/or the story was disseminated from announcements or press releases.
Ben Kerber
Ben Kerber, Staff Writer
Ben Kerber is a senior at Normal Community High School and a member of the Ironmen football team. He is a staff writer in his first year working with the Inkspot. My Favorite Film is “Cars.” The farthest I've been from home is Hawaii. On the weekend I hang out with friends. I'd really like to meet Anthony Rizzo.    
Zachary Knox-Doyle
Zachary Knox-Doyle, Senior Staff Reporter
Zachary Knox-Doyle is a junior at Normal Community High School and plays on the school's tennis team. He is a Senior Staff Reporter at the Inkspot. One of my biggest inspirations is Candace Parker because of her insane skills on the basketball court, never back down attitude and the work she's done for ESPN behind the mic. I am most comfortable and content when I'm playing tennis and basketball simply for the love of the sport.
Donate to Inkspot
Our Goal