ALGONQUIN – For most of the 50 years of his basketball coaching career, Jim Hinkle has maintained there are two things that never are ugly – babies and wins.
The retiring Jacobs boys basketball coach was not about to start now, when his next loss will be his final game.
Hinkle exited his team’s locker room with a smile and shook his head, anticipating the first question after the Golden Eagles had defeated Prairie Ridge, 43-25, Monday in an IHSA Class 4A Jacobs Regional first-round game at the Eagles’ Nest.
“Never, never …,” Hinkle said. “We played great defense. We couldn’t finish, but our defense kept us in the game.”
The No. 3-seeded Eagles (17-14) found enough offense in the second half to extend their coach’s career at least one more day. Jacobs faces No. 2 Dundee-Crown at 7:30 p.m. today in a regional semifinal.
“We’re in the same boat with him,” said senior forward Will Schwerdtmann, who led all players with 18 points. “We have 12 seniors and we don’t want to let each other down.”
Jacobs led Prairie Ridge, 16-13, at halftime after guard Chrishawn Orange’s 3-point play late in the second quarter. The Eagles held the Wolves (8-19) to one Michael Bradshaw free throw in the third quarter.
“Our intensity on defense was there all night,” Jacobs guard Chrishawn Orange said. “We wanted to suffocate them on defense, and that’s what we did. In the third quarter, we made some shots and pulled away.”
Nick Ledinsky scored a pair of baskets and Schwerdtmann hit a 3-pointer and a 14-footer as the Eagles widened the gap to 27-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We know if we keep the defense up, the points will come,” Schwerdtmann said. “We got the ball in transition and that led to some easier open shots.”
Schwerdtmann added his first high school dunk in transition in the fourth quarter. Forward Lake Ojo scored Jacobs’ first points of the game on a dunk.
Steven Ticknor hit a pair of 3s in the fourth quarter and led Prairie Ridge with 11 points.
“Defensively, you’d expect that since it’s the third time we played each other,” Wolves coach Corky Card said. “There weren’t many easy baskets there. They turned us over in the third and got some buckets in transition, that really got them going.”
Jacobs and D-C split during the season, with the Eagles winning in double overtime in their gym. Hinkle coached at Crown, then at Dundee-Crown when the schools merged in the 1983-84 school year. After a stint at Elgin Community College, he took the job at Jacobs and is finishing his 16th year.
“Last chance, last dance,” he said. “Let’s make it last as long as we can.”