NORMAL — History was recognized at halftime of Normal Community’s boys basketball game Friday night.
The Ironmen made a little more history before the night concluded.
On a night when three of the school’s fall sports (volleyball, boys soccer and boys golf) were recognized for their state tournament appearances, coach Dave Witzig’s squad became the first boys basketball team in school history to reach the 20-win mark before the calendar turned to February.
The sixth-ranked Ironmen dispatched Peoria Notre Dame, 48-33, in workmanlike fashion to run their record to 20-1 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12 Conference.
“That’s something special,” said senior forward Alex Peacock, who led NCHS with 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. “Coach was telling us the school record is 27 wins. With seven games left, we’d like to get them all.”
NCHS raced to a 20-5 lead early in the second quarter to register a sixth straight win since losing to state-ranked Rockford Auburn on Jan. 17.
“There have been some games where we haven’t gotten off to a great start,” Peacock said. “But tonight was a great start.”
Six-foot-7 senior Tyler Seibring added 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks as the Ironmen left an impression on Notre Dame coach Tom Lacher. Other than Neenah, Wis., which featured three Division I recruits and beat the Irish by 30 points in November, the Ironmen are the best team he’s seen this season, he said.
“They’re as good a team as I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Lacher said. “Not just from a talent standpoint, but also from how well-coached and disciplined they are. Just a very solid fundamental basketball team.”
The Irish suffered their seventh loss in the last eight games to fall to 7-16, 2-5.
Notre Dame took advantage of NCHS’ poor second-half shooting and cut the deficit to 10 points on senior forward Peter Hanley’s 3-pointer with 4:20 left.
Peacock answered with a steal, breakaway slam and completed the three-point play for a 42-26 advantage with 3:27 left to put the game away.
“That was the first time we’ve played Notre Dame in the conference and gave us a little different look than we’re used to seeing with some zone defenses,” Witzig said. “It was a quality win. We have seven regular-season games left; you’d love to make a good run to win the new Big 12.”