Jeremy Harrington blocks out noise, leads Curie past Joliet West

Curie junior Jeremy Harrington grew up in Joliet. So he knew exactly what to expect when the Condors faced Joliet West on Saturday at the Romeoville Shootout.

SHARE Jeremy Harrington blocks out noise, leads Curie past Joliet West
Curie’s Chikasi Ofomo (23) dunks in the fourth quarter against Joliet West.

Curie’s Chikasi Ofomo (23) dunks in the fourth quarter against Joliet West.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Curie junior Jeremy Harrington grew up in Joliet. So he knew exactly what to expect when the Condors faced Joliet West on Saturday at the Romeoville Shootout.

The Joliet fans were relentless, reminding everyone who would listen that the best player on the rival team was also a Joliet kid.

“I didn’t let it get to me,” Harrington said. “It was a big game, and I knew I had to show up if we were going to have a chance to win. I tuned it all out and just focused on basketball.”

Harrington scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead No. 5 Curie to a 65-61 victory against the Tigers.

“He’s starting to come into his own,” -Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “He’s one of our leaders. The best part is he’s a hard worker, and he really knows the game . . . until he starts taking crazy threes.”

Joliet West (9-10) led 57-55 with 3:30 to play after a steal and layup by freshman Jeremiah Fears.

A three-pointer from Harrington and two free throws by sophomore Carlos Harris put Curie ahead 63-57 with 1:47 left, but the Tigers made one last charge.

Junior Aaron Brown scored in the post, then a steal and layup by Fears pulled -Joliet West to 63-61. The Tigers had a chance to tie or take the lead on their last possession, but Harris blocked a three-point attempt by Toby Onyekonwu in the final seconds.

“This is what we’ve been asking of Carlos all year,” Oliver said. “He can step up and take control of the team, and he’s starting to feel comfortable doing it.”

Harris finished with 16 points and five rebounds, and Chikasi Ofoma, who briefly attended Joliet West last year, added eight points and six rebounds for the Condors (17-2).

Onyekonwu didn’t play with Joliet West at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. He’s a transfer from Plainfield East and was only recently ruled eligible. This was his fourth game. He scored 36 and 33 points in his first two games. The Condors held him to 20 points and eight rebounds.

Aaron Brown, a rapidly improving 6-4 junior, helped the undersized Tigers battle Curie’s bigs in the post. He had 15 points and five rebounds.

“The last four games he’s started and he’s embraced that he’s an undersized post player,” Joliet West coach Jeremy Kreiger said. “He knows how to take advantage of the tools he has.”

Fears finished with 13 points and four steals, and sophomore Justus McNair added nine points and four rebounds.

Joliet West gained Onyekonwu but lost junior Jayden Martin to an injury last week. He was the team’s best player at Pontiac. Kreiger said they’ll find out this week how long Martin will be out.

The Tigers lost to No. 18 Oswego East 59-57 on Friday. They are much better than their record indicates.

“These are all learning experiences,” Kreiger said. “We’re a youthful team playing two of the best teams in the state. Mike Oliver’s teams are always tough and physical. So to be in a one-possession game with a chance to tie or take the lead, that’s everything we want.”

Curie lost to No. 3 Simeon in the Pontiac title game and to No. 2 Kenwood on Tuesday. The Condors beat Bogan and Benet in between those games.

“Anytime you can get a win on the road in this type of atmosphere, it is a good thing,” Oliver said. “We got back into the win column, and now we can get ready for Hyde Park on Tuesday.”

Watch the final minute of Joliet West vs. Curie:

The Latest
Texas Sen. John Cornyn was authorized by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to open talks with Democrats to “negotiate the possibility of gun legislation that will spare us the tragedies we’ve seen,” Sen. Dick Durbin said.
When asked if roster expansion is something that could be implemented before the league’s eight-year CBA expires in 2027, Engelbert responded with her thoughts on team expansion.
Heuer and the Cubs think Tommy John surgery may answer questions about the reliever’s declining velocity.
Adan Casarrubias Salgado — also known as “Tomatito,” “Star” and “Silver” — is charged with conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Convincing the General Assembly to support more programs down the road could turn out to be nearly impossible if this fails.