Vincent Rainey delivers late and Thornton knocks off Kankakee

Vincent Rainey was the leading scorer in some of last season’s biggest games. That experience is certainly helpful, but everything has changed for Rainey and Thornton this year.

SHARE Vincent Rainey delivers late and Thornton knocks off Kankakee
Thornton’s Vincent Rainey (2) moves the ball into the front court around Kanakee’s CaRon Johnson (1).

Thornton’s Vincent Rainey (2) moves the ball into the front court around Kanakee’s CaRon Johnson (1).

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Vincent Rainey was the leading scorer in some of last season’s biggest games. That experience is certainly helpful, but everything has changed for Rainey and Thornton this year. 

“It’s been a big switch,” Rainey said. “Last year I was just a pick and pop shooter. This year I have the ball in my hands and they are counting on me to play defense and be a leader.”

Rainey came through when it counted in Thornton’s 38-32 win against Kankakee on Tuesday in Harvey. The senior made three of four free throws in the final 1:30 and scored the basket that put it out of reach for the Kays. 

“We just had to be feisty,” Rainey said. “We had to come out as dogs and finish the game.”

Neither team had much success offensively. Kankakee was 9-for-51 shooting and Thornton was 13 of 41. 

“Two great defensive teams,” Thornton coach Tai Streets joked. “That was an ugly, ugly game. That’s how we have to play. It’s going to be tough all year for us. We just have to find a way to win. I’ll take it a win any way I can get it. It’s going to be a struggle.”

Thornton (2-3, 1-1 Southland) turned the ball over 21 times. With all the missed shots and turnovers, rebounding was crucial. Thurman Thomas, a 6-4 senior, stepped up for the Wildcats with 15 rebounds. 

“I knew I could use my athleticism to crash the boards,” Thomas said. “That’s a big win for us. We need it to boost our momentum and get us going.”

Rainey scored 16 points and Tiyuan McDaniel added seven. 

Kankakee (4-1, 0-1) is playing without its leading returning scorer and rebounder, 6-4 senior Devon Prude. He’s out with an injured ankle and is expected back this weekend. 

“Missing [Prude] didn’t show in the first few games but it showed tonight,” Kankakee coach Chris Pickett said. 

Junior Larenz Walters led the Kays with 13 points and CaRon Johnson added seven. 

“We shot badly against Carbondale the other night but we were able to make baskets when it counted,” Pickett said. “That didn’t happen tonight.”

Kankakee only managed one field goal in the fourth quarter. But Thornton only had two. 

“I’m going to keep at them,” Streets said. “I’m not ever going to give up. You never know. No one is great, besides Simeon.

Watch the final minute of Kankakee at Thornton:

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