Corliss beats King, eyes return trip to Peoria

The road to Peoria is a little more challenging this year for Corliss, which finished fourth in Class 2A last season.

SHARE Corliss beats King, eyes return trip to Peoria
Corliss’ Na’Shawn Townsen (2) shoots the ball over King.

Corliss’ Na’Shawn Townsen (2) shoots the ball over King.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The road to Peoria is a little more challenging this year for Corliss, which finished fourthin Class 2A last season.

The Trojans didn’t meet eventual champ Orr till thestate semifinals a year ago, but could face theirPublic League rival in the Joliet Central Supersectional next week.

Right now though, Corliss is more focusedon the process than the bracket. The Trojans rode a swarming defense to a 62-46 win over King Tuesday in the Class 2A Carver Sectional semifinals.

Corliss (17-10), which plays the Bowen/Dyett winner in Friday’s final, had 17 steals a few hours after getting its marchingorders from coach Harvey Jones.

“We had a long discussiontoday about worrying more about our defense than our offense and letting our defense lead us,” Jones said. “Defense wins championships and we’re onlyworried about (that).”

Jadon Williams paced the Trojans with 18 points, sixsteals and four rebounds. Jaquan Reed added 11 points and five steals, while Javonte McKenzie contributed 12 points and three steals.

“It’s a typical game,” Williams said. “Coach was like, we’ve got to lock in on defense to get the job done.”

Corliss never trailed and the game’s only tie was at 2-all. A 9-0 run made it 11-2 and the Trojans kept stretching their lead till they were up 28 at 43-15 midway through the third quarter.

Williams was equally locked on offense, hitting 8 of 11 from the field.

“I was in the gym doing the Mikan drill,” Williams said. “Coach said, ‘You can’t keep missing layups.’ ... I did that (work) before the game and it just translated into the game.”

Using a small rotation before clearing the bench down the stretch, Corliss ran the break when the opportunity arose but also was content to work its halfcourt offense.

“We want to be patient,” Jones said. “Throughout the year we were careless, didn’t take care of the ball as much.”

There were some tough times for Corliss, being a 2A team in a conference with big-school powers Curie, Simeon, Morgan Park and Bogan.

“We were struggling a little bit during the regular season but now we’re rolling,” Williams said.

King (25-9), which upset sectional top seed Phillips to win its own regional, kept chipping away at its deficit in the last 12 minutes. A 7-0 run got the Jaguars as close as 56-43 in the final minute.

David Abdullah scored 18 points off the bench for King. Davarrion Reynolds added 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

But Corliss wasn’t going to let its downstate hopes slip away.

“Whoever comes out of that (Marshall) Sectional, we’re just going to be ready to play,” Jones said. “Right now we’re worried about Dyett and Bowen.”

“We’re just worried about getting to Peoria,” Williams said. “Whoever is in our way, we’re going to to try our best to get past them.”

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