Tina Akouris’ basketball notebook

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Joliet Central is solidly in the race in the Southwest Suburban Blue, tied with Bolingbrook for second place. It’s a good spot to be, considering the Steelmen have been without one of their leading scorers at times this season.

Junior guard Jonah Coble has been disciplined twice for violating team rules. Coble missed the first half of a 42-40 victory Dec. 7 at Lincoln-Way Central. Coble violated team rules again and sat out four more games, starting with the Steelmen’s Jan. 18 55-51 overtime victory at Bolingbrook.

Central coach Jeff Corcoran said Coble has returned, and his first game back was a 56-53 victory Jan. 31 over Lincoln-Way Central.

Corcoran said Coble is coming off the bench and will have to work his way back into the starting lineup. Corcoran said Coble was practicing during the suspension.

On the mend

Joliet West senior Brandon McCullum took a nasty fall during the Tigers’ 59-58 overtime loss Jan. 29 at Homewood-Flossmoor.

With 53 seconds to play in the third quarter, McCullum was going up for a rebound, lost his footing and somehow did a 180-degree flip onto his head and neck.

McCullum was down and the game was stopped for about five minutes. He was helped off the court and left the game.

On Monday, Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said McCullum’s condition is improving and he may return this week. Yaklich, though, would not comment on whether McCullum suffered a concussion.

It’s not so bad

It seems Joliet West standout Morris Dunnigan’s 26-point effort in that loss to H-F went for naught, since the Tigers were leading until early in the second half when the bottom fell out. That’s not how Yaklich sees it.

“Our second and third quarters offensively were awful, but we’re a really good basketball team and I’m proud of my players,” Yaklich said. “Effort-wise, they played as hard as they could. We have to find one or two ways to play smarter.

“I know I have a great basketball team. You find out these things in close games like this on the road.”

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