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Homewood-Flossmoor overcomes shaky play to down Joliet Central

In the future, when Homewood-Flossmoor coach Marc Condotti wants to illustrate how he wants his team to play, he likely isn’t going to show the video of his team’s 49-39 win against Joliet Central on Friday.

The Vikings (7-5, 4-1 SouthWest Suburban Blue) didn’t exactly put on a basketball clinic but they did enough to get a win.

“We’ve had eight days to prepare and there are things we’ve been working on in practice that we are not transferring into the game,” Condotti said. “We just have some things we have been doing and when we get into the game it’s just not playing out.

“Back to the drawing board.”

With 7:15 left in the fourth quarter, the Steelmen (8-6, 3-2) pulled within 29-25 on a basket by sophomore Jason Bingham, Jr. (nine points), playing in just his fourth varsity game. Joliet Central managed to stay within striking distance despite going scoreless the first seven minutes of the first quarter and the first five minutes of the third.

Homewood-Flossmoor responded behind Destin Barnes, who scored nine of his game-high 15 points during an 11-2 run that put his team back in control, 40-27. Terrence Bradley added 13 points for the winners while Caleb Jenkins-Brady added 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Kewon Ware led the Steelmen with 11 points and Jerry Gillespie was the other player in double-figures with 10. The Vikings outrebounded the Steelmen 42-15.

“I felt as a team we were dragging so I took it upon myself to get our team going in the right direction,” Barnes said. “We felt we should have won by 20 or more and felt we played down to the competition.

“The biggest thing is we have to play harder, with intensity and limit the turnovers.”

There were 31 turnovers combined and the Vikings committed 19 of them. Still, rebounding and a stagnant Steelmen offense helped them overcome the sloppy play. The Vikings led 10-5 after a quarter, 19-12 at halftime, and 29-23 after three quarters.

“We got the pace that we wanted — we knew going up and down we’d have trouble with them,” Joliet Central coach Jeff Corcoran said. “We have to take better shots, control the glass and I think the outcome could have been different.”