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Isaac Sherwood and Illiana North surpass Newton


Illiana Christian senior Isaac Sherwood started a new pregame routine two weeks ago.

The highlights are a 30-minute meditation and no pregame meal, but the 6-foot-10 guard is left with typical postgame symptoms.

“I’ll probably eat a whole pizza,” Sherwood said with a laugh. “I’m starving.”

But the routine appears to be working for Sherwood, who made a career-high four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 16 points in Illiana Christian’s stunning 58-56 overtime victory over North Newton in the first round of the Class 2A Bowman Regional Championship. . Wednesday night.

After the 59ers beat Bowman 58-44, the Vikings (15-9) will face Andrean (13-10) in the regional semifinals on Friday.

Sherwood entered the game as Illiana Christian’s second-leading scorer, averaging 8.7 points behind the forward. Andy Spoolman. But Sherwood has reached double figures in four of the last five games, which coincides with the timing of the change in his routine.

“I’ve never gotten into routines before,” he said. “But the last five games I started this pregame routine, stuck with it every game, and noticed a big difference in my game.”

Illiana Christian coach Tom Roozeboom said Sherwood told him about it and didn’t want to get in Roozeboom’s way.

“I told him to do whatever he needs to do to put himself and this team in the best position,” Roozeboom said. “That’s the kind of player he can be. He’s got the confidence to attack this year, he’s got a little bit of self-doubt and he doesn’t need that.”

Illiana Christian’s Isaac Sherwood (right) sets up a shot as North Newton’s Patrick Barry defends during the first round of the Class 2A Bowman Regional on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)

Sherwood had standout performances early in the season, scoring 23 points against Chicago Christian on December 16, 17 points against Bethany Christian on December 30, and 23 points against Whiting on January 2. He scored just 31 points in the next six games. however, they connect on 3 of 25 shots from 3-point range.

Sherwood went 4-of-7 on threes against North Newton and scored twice in the first quarter to continue recent trends and instill confidence early on.

“I knew my horse fell early,” he said. “The last few games I started to regain my confidence in my shooting. I knew we were going to need someone to step up and shoot, and I was able to do that.”

Illiana Christian needed every point from Sherwood to reach overtime. Senior forward Dylan Polak’s two free throws in the final period helped seal the victory for the Vikings.

Polak had his own routine at the free throw line.

“I hold the ball the same way every time I shoot in practice,” he said. “I put my middle finger on the needle. Then I bend my knees, shoot and finish on my tiptoes.”

Illiana Christian guard Isaac Sherwood drives to the basket past North Newton guard Adan Castleberry during the first round of the Class 2A Bowman Division on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024.  (For Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)
Illiana Christian’s Isaac Sherwood (left) passes North Newton’s Adan Castleberry during the first round of the Class 2A Bowman Regional competition on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)

Sherwood had a chance to end the game in regulation, but his 3-pointer from the baseline with 10 seconds left was a miss.

“Oh, I thought someone was going to come in,” he said. “I really thought I had it.”

Sherwood did not make a shot in extra time, but the game ended with the ball in his hands. North Newton’s last chance for a tie or win came on an inbounds play with 5.5 seconds left in the game. After a missed shot, the rebound landed in Sherwood’s arms and he clutched the ball tightly to his chest.

“I wasn’t going to let that thing go,” he said.

Dave Melton is a freelance reporter.


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