Thornton’s Alonzo Verge checked out with about three minutes left in the Wildcats’ 73-50 win against Marian Catholic on Sunday in Harvey.
He had 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Verge was just one assist away from a triple-double, which is incredibly rare in a legitimate, contested game. Fifty-point scoring totals are posted more often. Someone on the Thornton bench told Verge he was an assist away.
“I wanted to go in and get that so bad,” Verge said.
Thornton coach Tai Streets wasn’t having it.
“He was begging me to get back in, I told him to sit his butt back down,” Streets said.
Verge’s passing skills are dynamite. He’s excellent at getting to the basket and dangerous from anywhere when his shot his falling. He also plays with style and attitude, always preferring the sensational to the easy. That’s fun for the fans, but sometimes a headache for Streets.
“He’s a special talent, so you have to live with some of the stuff,” Streets said. “Of course every player drives you crazy sometimes. He’s crazy, but he’s awesome. I wouldn’t want anyone else.”
Verge also had three steals. Defense is Thornton’s calling card this year. The Wildcats forced Marian Catholic (10-7) into 17 turnovers.
“[Streets] is getting on me every day about playing defense better,” Verge said. “I have to buy in on defense, I could play it a lot better. I have more work to do, that’s all.”
John White, a junior, scored 10 points in the first quarter to help Thornton (12-4) jump out to a 22-10 lead. White finished 14 points and Christian Anderson scored seven and grabbed six boards.
“We try to get it started with our defense, hound them and hound them,” Streets said. “It usually works but [Saturday against Curie] was a different story.”
Verge and Orlando Allen Jr., who scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, have developed a special chemistry on the court. The pair are connecting on several alley-oop dunks per game.
“That just comes off of practice and playing with each other and feeding off each other’s energy,” Verge said. “Tonight I wasn’t trying to be too much of a scorer. I wanted to get my team involved and do whatever it took to win.”
Curie beat Thornton 69-55 on Saturday. It was a measuring stick game for the Wildcats.
“We have to keep improving,” Streets said. “[Curie] is real good, the best team we have played so far. We know where we need to get to, we are nowhere near there yet.”
Sophomore Malik Tidwell led the Spartans with 17 points and junior Chase Adams scored 11.