ELGIN – The stakes were high for the Alden-Hebron's boys basketball during its IHSA Class 1A Westminster Christian Regional game against Harvest Christian.
Giants head coach Dale Jandron announced two weeks earlier that he would resign after the season so he could watch his son Drew play at Woodstock North.
Plus, the chance to end a 26-year drought without a regional victory was on the line.
However, A-H's season and Jandron's coaching tenure came to an end Monday when the No. 5-seeded Giants fell to the No. 4 Lions, 52-41.
Giants senior guard Bryce Lalor led the way 14 points, while senior guard Stuart Wolff led the Lions with 16. A-H finished the season at 11-16, while Harvest (17-11) moves on to meet top-seeded Hinckley-Big Rock in Wednesday's 6 p.m. semifinal.
“We missed a lot of shots in a stretch where we were down by four,” Jandron said. “And then we didn’t get any good looks and [Harvest Christian] played good defense, too.”
The play of both teams in the first quarter gave implications that it would be a physically contested matchup. Giants senior Ian Johnson said that the team fed off the energy of their coach early in the game.
“The louder he is and the more vocal he is, it just gives us more motivation because we know there’s more heart there,” said Johnson, who finished with 12 points.
The Lions entered the fourth quarter with a 35-29 lead and went on an 8-0 run midway through the final period to seal the outcome. That run, along with strong free-throw shooting, assured the Lions they would advance.
“We just wanted to power it inside,” Lions junior guard Kyle Fritz said. “[Alden-Hebron] played really aggressive, so we were hoping to get to the free-throw line a lot."