Young knocks off Joliet West to cap tremendous week

SHARE Young knocks off Joliet West to cap tremendous week

Young’s Xavier Castaneda (13) dribbles against Joliet West’s Eddie Creal (3). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times

Public League basketball teams, especially Red-West teams, stereotypically get labeled as “tough and athletic.”

No. 4 Young is both those things, but as Dolphins coach Tyrone Slaughter describes, the toughness is more mental than physical.

“We may not be physically tough, but we have the capabilities to stay at a job until it gets done,” Slaughter said. “I’m just proud of what these guys continue to do.”

The top spot in the Super 25 is up for grabs after Simeon’s loss this week. No team in the area had a more impressive week than Young, which won at Farragut and at Orr and on Saturday knocked off No. 11 Joliet West 73-64 at the Glenbard East Shootout.

“It’s the best team we’ve had since [the 2014 Class 4A state champs led by Jahlil Okafor], that team was incredibly talented,” Slaughter said. “What these guys have is everyone does their job. We enjoy coaching them.”

Lucas Williamson led the way for Young (14-4) with 21 points and eight rebounds. Junior Javon Freeman added 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Dolphins received major contributions from freshman Tyler Beard and sophomore Myles Baker (10 points).

“We haven’t been healthy all year so they’ve had to step up,” Williamson said. “They are playing above themselves, they aren’t your average freshmen and sophomores.”

Young dominated the second half and led 38-23. The Tigers (17-2) closed the gap to just seven points in the third quarter and took a 57-56 lead on a rebound and basket from junior Eddie Creal with 4:34 to play.

“Our guys never panicked when they tied it or took the lead,” Slaughter said. “We knew they were going to make a run. They are too good of a basketball team not to make a run.”

Joliet West is clearly one of the most talented teams in the state, but they’ve been undone at the free throw line. The TIgers were 12-for-27 from the line in the loss to Bloom at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament in December. Saturday was even worse, they shot 14-for-40.

“It’s a big confidence thing,” Joliet West senior Trevian Bell, a Wisconsin-Green Bay recruit, said. “I missed two big free throws and then [Teyvion] Kirk missed two and it gets to everyone. We need to just forget it and have amnesia. We’re a completely different team when we are hitting free throws. We do that and we are one of the best teams in the state, there is no way to stop us. It’s really frustrating.”

Bell led the Tigers with 19 points and six rebounds. Center Tabyous Casterberry had 13 and seven rebounds and Kirk finished with 12 points.

Naperville North upset No. 2 Evanston 65-63 in the third game of the day. Senior Youcef Merabet led the Huskies with 20 points.

Jacobs center Cameron Krutwig put on a Player of the Year caliber performance in the first game of the shootout. The 6-9 Loyola recruit had 16 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in the Golden Eagles 67-55 win against Hillcrest.

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