It wasn’t easy for Coyle to keep its composure in the first half of Friday’s Class B semifinal against Red Oak.
Not much was going the Bluejackets way.
Tony Aska was struggling inside on both ends of the floor, most everything fifth-ranked Red Oak tried seemed to work and Coyle quickly found itself in a 13-point hole and struggling to hold on to a chance.
But the tide turned and No. 5 Coyle rode Aska and newcomer Eric Harris to an improbable 69-62 win at State Fair Arena.
“It’s real hard to stay calm,” Aska said. “I was playing high post and really couldn’t get in there to rebound. But I finally got my head in the game, figured out a way to get inside and things started going our way.”
Coyle (25-4) will play Arnett for the championship at 7:15 p.m. Sunday.
Harris, who moved from Chicago to Coyle in December, helped keep the Bluejackets in striking distance early until Aska started asserting himself.
Coyle trailed 32-19 less than three minutes into the second quarter.
Then the Bluejackets reeled off 11 consecutive points to get back in the game and another 11-0 run in the third helped lift Coyle ahead for good.
Aska and Harris combined for nine points in each of those stretches.
“I love having him on the team,” Harris said. “There isn’t anyone who can stop him.”
Harris led Coyle with 27 points, hitting 10 of 12 from the field. Aska added 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.
“I challenged Tony at halftime,” Coyle coach Josh Sumrall said. “I didn’t think we were getting everything out of him in the first half. The reason we’re playing tomorrow is that we’ve got a lot of weapons and Tony and Eric were big ones for us.”
Dylan Fazekas had 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Red Oak (27-4). Devan Crose scored 22.