Boys Basketball: Jahlil Okafor powers Young past Richards

Updated: February 28, 2012 10:57PM

Jahlil Okafor brought the hammer down.

With Illinois coach Bruce Weber watching, the 6-11 Young star sophomore scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half in powering the host Dolphins past Richards 60-39 in a Class 4A regional semifinal Tuesday.

The Dolphins (15-9) advance to play Catholic League power St. Rita in a 4-seed versus 5-seed Friday.

Still playing without its full complement of players, Young led just 14-12 after he first quarter. After a scoreless first quarter, Okafor finally got untracked midway the second quarter with a tough leaner in the lane. It sparked a quarter-closing 12-0 Young burst that propelled the Dolphins to a 31-17 lead at the break.

He was just getting warmed up. Okafor helped turn the game into a rout by scoring 10 consecutive points from the end of the third quarter to the start of the fourth quarter. Okafor, who added 11 rebounds and three blocked shots, scored on an impressive array of power moves, dunks (four) and a beautiful fade away jumper in the lane as the Dolphins led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter.

He also had help. Junior guard Scott Kinsley drilled two early three-pointers in scoring eight of his 10 points in the first quarter. Kingsley also made two gorgeous feeds that results in monster dunks by senior forward Nate Brooks.

Senior swingman Jordan Smith added nine points, six rebounds and three steals.

The night belonged to Okafor. He ended his personal run with a final monster dunk in the lane.

Richards (16-12) had no inside response for Okafor. They tried to combat the Dolphins’ interior advantage by bombing away from the three-point line. Lavante Smith scored six of his team-best 10 points in the first quarter. Danny Gardner hit two three-pointers in adding six points.

Otherwise, the night belonged to Okafor. Paul White, another highly-regarded 6-7 sophomore, saw his first action in nearly a month late in the game. He finished with two points. Junior forward Tommy Hamilton Jr., who has not played the entire season, did not dress for the Dolphins.

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