Thornwood holds off Lincoln-Way NorthMarcus Agee of Thornwood goes around Corey Krupske of Lincoln-Way North.
Updated: March 23, 2011 9:28AM
After watching his players let Lincoln-Way North get back into the game with an 18-point second quarter, Thornwood coach Paul Slavich said he "got on them a bit" at halftime.
Darrell Combs certainly listened.
Combs scored 12 third-quarter points, including seven in a 28-second span, to help the Thunderbirds pull away for a 63-44 SouthWest Suburban Red win in South Holland.
"We wanted to come out for the second half with more energy," Combs said. "We wanted to come out on fire and get a big lead."
Leading 29-26 a minute into the third quarter, Combs, who scored a game-high 20 points, helped the hosts quickly stretch the margin to double digits.
He hit a jumper, was fouled and converted the three-point play. 28 seconds later, he buried a trey while being fouled and turned it into a four-point play and a 36-26 lead.
"We ran a play where I spot up in the corner and it works all the time," Combs said. "I can't remember ever scoring seven points that quick."
Combs added five more points in the third as the T-birds (11-9, 7-3) stretched the lead to 49-35.
Lincoln-Way North (8-16, 2-8) never got within single-digits in the fourth quarter.
"We had to give them a little kick in the butt at halftime," Slavich said. "We had to pick up the intensity and we did. I'm really happy with how Khapri (Alston) played. He's starting to come around."
Alston had 14 points and seven rebounds and Johnte Shannon added 14 points for Thornwood.
Trailing 16-6 after the opening quarter, the Phoenix got a boost off the bench from sophomore Corey Krupske, who connected on all three of his of shot attempts in the second period, including two 3-pointers.
Lincoln-Way North was a sizzling 7-of-10 from the field in the second quarter and pulled within 27-24 at the half.
In the end, though, Combs was too much to handle.
"Combs is the real deal," Lincoln-Way North coach John Terry said. "We competed well, but Thornwood is the superior team. You have to give them credit."
Krupske and Lance Payne led the Phoenix with eight points each. Daryle Morgan (6 rebounds) and Riley Pakosz each scored seven.