Thorton dominates second half
Updated: March 28, 2011 12:28PM
For the first 15½ minutes, it was anybody's ballgame. But for the last 16½, well, it was all Thornton.
The Wildcats shook off an inspired Lincoln-Way West boys basketball team with a flourish in the final 21 seconds of the first half and a strong start to the third quarter to defeat the Warriors 74-43, in a SouthWest Suburban Conference Red game Friday night.
It was Senior Night at West, the school's first. The Warriors played the highly-ranked Wildcats tough for three quarters at home a year ago and saw no reason why they couldn't play with the SSC Red leaders in their final home game of the season.
West (6-21, 3-9) led at the end of a back-and-forth first quarter by a 15-13 score. The Warriors went cold and didn't score again until the 2:27 mark of the second period but their hustling defense kept them close in that dry spell. They cut a 22-15 deficit down to 22-19 and 24-21 before Thornton took over the game in the final seconds of the half.
The Wildcats turned a pair of turnovers into five points in the final 21 seconds of the half and more than doubled their tenuous lead from three points to eight at 29-21 heading into the locker at halftime.
The momentum carried into the second half as Thornton scored six points in the first 41 seconds and suddenly a close game was now a 14-pointer at 35-21. The Wildcats (21-2, 11-1) coasted from there.
"Their offensive rebounding really hurt us in the first half," said West coach Erik Long. "We missed some opportunities to have a nice lead in the second quarter and you can't miss those kind of chances against a talented team like Thornton. We made just 3-of-14 shots from three in the first half and most of them were good, open looks. We can't win if we don't shoot better than that.
"I feel like our seniors have taken our program - especially here at home - up to the point where anyone who comes in here has to watch out," continued Long. "We feel like we can compete with anybody here at our place and that is some nice progress in just two seasons."
Thornton guard Jay Parker led all scorers in the game with 23 points. Antonio Levy added 12 for the Wildcats and Brian Greene pitched in 11. Gino Manzella led Lincoln-Way West with 11 points.