FINAL FOUR

Tom Batters

Richwoods used a quick, airtight defense to shut down Oswego and win the Dekalb Supersectional, 61-44, Tuesday night. The Knights (29-2) now advance to the state finals this weekend at Carver Arena in Peoria.

"There is no doubt. Richwoods is ranked No. 1 in the state for a reason," said Oswego coach Kevin Schnable, whose team shot just 22 percent from the floor. "Their defense was excellent. They didn't allow us to play to our strengths. At one point, I was happy just to get a shot off."

Richwoods came out ready to play, hitting three three-pointers (two by Aaron Davis and one by T.J. Cole) in the first quarter. They led, 23-9 at the end of the first quarter and 35-18 at halftime.

"We came out ready and focused," said Richwoods coach Mike Ellis, who is making his second trip to the state finals (second place in 2006). "We didn't just settle for a five or six point lead. We stayed aggressive."

Davis led a balanced Knight offense with 17 points. Senior Tylon Deal, who scored at the buzzer at the end of the first and third quarters had nine points. Cole had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Will Jenkins had seven points off the bench and made three of five free throws in the fourth quarter.

"Since my knee injury (a few weeks ago), I've become more focused on what I have to do to help my team," Cole said.

See the March 24 edition of the Peoria Times-Observer for extensive coverage of the Knights' state finals weekend.