Pontiac, IL—Joliet West led Bloom by three points at halftime. It was the last game of the first round on Tuesday at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
The Tigers didn’t go into the locker room at the break. Coach Jeremy Kreiger kept his team on the bench. They received some instruction and there was a brief talk, then they went back out to warm up.
“It worked,” Joliet West’s Jayden Martin said. “Every time we go in the locker room we sit down and have the same conversation. We get sore and kind of stiff. Keeping us out here we were in the same environment and it kept us focused.”
The Tigers never trailed in the second half and broke the game open late in the fourth quarter to upset Bloom 62-51.
Martin finished with 23 points and seven rebounds. Skylar Crudup scored 13 and freshman Jeremiah Fears added 11.
The Tigers have been terrific at Pontiac since Kreiger took over. This is Joliet West’s second tournament with the young coach at the helm. The Tigers have beaten Simeon, Bloom, Benet and Bloomington and only lost to Curie, the eventual champs in 2019.
“There is nothing like Pontiac,” Kreiger said. “We love it. We want to make every moment of this season meaningful. We will never leave Pontiac it is a staple for the Joliet West program.”
Sophomore Gianni Cobb led Bloom (7-3) with 15 points and Kamarion Cobb had 11. Emondrek Erkins-Ford had 10 points, five rebounds and six blocks.
Joliet West is just 5-6 and lost to Bloom two weeks ago in Joliet.
“We’re a better team than our record showed and we needed to show everyone that tonight,” Crudup said.
New Trier 65, Peoria Manual 44: There are some high expectations for New Trier here in Pontiac this week. The Trevians took care of business in the first round. Dartmouth recruit Jackson Munro scored 18 and grabbed nine rebounds. Jake Feigen scored 22, he was 6 of 8 from three-point range.
Simeon 65, Plainfield North 28: The Wolverines started slow but Plainfield North wasn’t able to take advantage. Ten players scored for Simeon. Jayquan Adams led with 11 points and Miles Rubin scored 11. Wes Rubin added eight points and seven rebounds.
Oak Park 81, Warren 55: The third non-competitive game in a row. A rough stretch in the middle of the day at Pontiac. Justin Mullins scored 31 points and had eight rebounds. Sam Lewis added 13. That guard combo is one of the best in the tournament. Andrew Dolan scored 19 for the Blue Devils.
St. Charles North 70, Danville 46: The Vikings jumped out to a 16 point lead early but North Stars big man Ethan Marlowe stepped up and led a 15-0 run in the second quarter to get his team back in the game. Marlowe finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
“We have a lot of juniors and seniors that have never played at Pontiac before,” Marlowe said. “The teams in this tournament are going to come out and give you their best so that was definitely a wake-up call. But we’ll be ready for the next game.”
Curie 80, Bloomington 60: It was a good performance from a very young Bloomington team, but the Condors pulled ahead with a big fourth quarter. Chikasi Ofoma scored 23 and Jeremy Harrington added 17. The future is bright for the Purple Raiders.
Benet 72, Pontiac 35: I look forward to the day that Pontiac wins its opener. I’m going to borrow a photograph from the Pontiac newspaper, write it up and lead the Sun-Times high school sports site with it. This wasn’t that day. The Redwings were impressive. Brady Kunka scored 16 and Nikola Abusara and Weston Stephens each added 12. Kerr Bauman led Pontiac with 11. They are young, it could be an interesting couple years for the hosts.
Lake Forest 47, Tinley Park 39: Asa Thomas scored 18 and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Scouts into the quarterfinals. Sam Gibson added seven points and nine assists. Nick Harrell scored 22 for the Titans.
Lyons 55, Conant 18: The Cougars, who were coming off a first-round win over St. Ignatius, did not have a field goal in the final 17:11 of the game. They finished 4 of 37 from the field (10.8%), including 2 of 25 from three-point range (8%). Read all about it.
Rolling Meadows 67, Lemont 59: Illinois coach Brad Underwood was at this one. The Mustangs survived a tough challenge from a very young Lemont squad. Cam Christie scored 27 for Rolling Meadows and Orlando Thomas finished with 25 points and six rebounds. Mark Nikolich-Wilson pitched in with 10 points and nine boards. Matas Castillo scored 17 for Lemont and highly-regarded sophomore Nojus Indrusaitis added 13 points.
Sandburg 36, Highland Park 34: The Eagles lost to Christ The King yesterday but it didn’t count. I had too much going on to follow all the reasoning. I guess because CTK was a replacement team? But then why play the game? Anyway, the Eagles win today and advance. Ryan McPolin scored 12.
Bolingbrook 60, St. Francis 53: Josh Aniceto scored 15 for the Raiders but this has been an interesting couple days for St. Francis. Clearly a team to keep an eye on this season. Brandon Yarusso scored 16.
Clark 72, Proviso West 54: The Jones brothers delivered big performances in the quarterfinals. Mikell had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Mikqwon had 17 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
Kenwood 81, Hammond Central, Ind. 50: Huge game from Trey Pettigrew. The Nevada recruit scored 30. He was 13 of 22 from the field. Davius Loury added 15.
Romeoville 59, Chatham Glenwood 54: The Spartans advance. Troy Cicero had a big game with 26 points and Meyoh Swansey scored 11. Deonte Cunningham filled up the stat sheet with eight points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Perspectives-Leadership 55, Thornwood 51: A solid run for Perspectives at the Dipper. They are into the semifinals. Jabari Sanders scored 16 and Mathew Neal added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Hyde Park 65, Fenger 57: This is a final score that should earn Fenger some respect around the area. The Titans can clearly hang with some of the city’s better teams. Cam Wiliford and Damarion Morris each scored 13 for the Thunderbirds and Isaiah Hall led Fenger with 26 points.
Thornton 69, TF South 57: The Wildcats are winning but they certainly aren’t dominating opponents. Will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days when the competition goes up a notch. Ty Rodgers had 24 points and six rebounds and Vincent Rainey scored 14.
Hillcrest 66, Ag. Science 40: The Hawks are playing like the favorites. Bryce Tillery continued his hot streak, leading the way with 15 points and five rebounds. Isaiah Green and Marcus Glover each scored 12. James White led the Cyclones with 12 points.
Prospect 55, Notre Dame 39: Owen Schneider doesn’t get much attention, but he’s been very good whenever I’ve watched him. He scored 20 to lead the Knights to this quarterfinal win. Bryce Coleman had 14 for the Dons.
Glenbrook North 68, Deerfield 40: This is an eye-opener. Not surprised the Spartans won, but the 28 points is a shocker. Blake Lidskin led the way with 17 points.
Glenbrook South 87, Glenbard North 45: Cooper Noard dropped 29 points, he was 5 for 10 from three-point range. Nick Martinelli added 21.
Libertyville 43, Fremd 36: The Wildcats are having a really intriguing season. Clearly a team with some backbone. Jack Huber scored 13 and Chase Bonder had 12.
Mount Carmel 59, Pattonville, Missouri 55: Another huge game for DeAndre Craig. The junior scored 31. Elijah Jointer grabbed 19 rebounds to help the Caravan win. Mount Carmel is still unbeaten, they knocked off Boylan in the semis and will face Morton, IL for the title tomorrow.
Normal 68, North Lawndale 48: A rough one for the Phoenix in the quarterfinals. Zach Cleveland, one of the best players in the state that doesn’t play in the Chicago area, scored 27 points. He’s a Liberty recruit. Trey Redd added 13. Ronald Chambers led North Lawndale with eight points.
Wheaton Warrenville South 35, Brother Rice 33: Watched a clip of the end of this one. The Crusaders had the ball and a chance to win at the end but the Tigers deflected a pass to seal the win. Tyler Fawcett scored 14 and Braylen Meredith added seven points. It will be WW South vs. Normal in one semifinal.
Huntley 55, United 46: Aiden Wieczorek scored 18 and there was some serious damage done by the Red Raiders in my favorite stat category. They assisted on 14 of their 18 buckets.
Geneva 53, Guilford 47: Christopher Suger scored 14 and Jimmy Rasmussen added 13.
Naperville Central 65, Plainfield East 61: Mantas Zilys scored 23 and Jonah Hinton added 22 points. I need to get out and see the Redhawks. Joshua Whitehurst scored 14 for the Bengals.
Larkin 56, Barrington 51: The Royals win the title. Free throws were the key. Larkin was 19 of 25 from the line to seal the win. Damari Wheeler-Thomas scored 25.