Balanced Thornton grounds T-birds
Updated: March 22, 2011 4:54PM
With all-around scorer Reggie Smith now suiting up for Marquette, Thornton's Jay Parker and his teammates know that balanced scoring will be a key for the Wildcats.
Playing their first home game of the season Friday in Harvey, five different players scored at least seven points for Thornton in a 56-46 win over district rival Thornwood.
"It's real spread (on offense) on our team," Parker said. "Everybody can score so we just run our offense, and everyone gets their buckets. We don't really feed it to one guy."
Parker led No. 12 Thornton (4-0, 1-0) with 11 points while also pulling down seven boards and dishing out four assists. Antonio Levy (10 points, 6-for-6 free throws), Bernard Brame (nine), Brian Greene Jr. (eight) and Stefan Beard (seven points, seven rebounds) all chipped in for the Wildcats in both teams' SouthWest Suburban Red opener.
As for the balanced offensive attack, Thornton coach Troy Jackson likes what he sees.
"We don't need anybody to be the man,'" Jackson said. "Everyone on the court can score. We've just got to get that cohesiveness and have a little more patience on offense as a team."
After holding as large as a 12-point lead in the second half following a Brame dunk off an inbounds play, Thornton struggled to contain Thornwood's Darell Combs.
The junior guard hit two three-pointers and scored inside to bring the Thunderbirds within six points at 44-38 with 4:36 remaining in the game.
Combs added on three more points to cap off his own 11-0 run.
"(Darell's) a good player, a really good player," Parker said. "Our defense was a little off. We didn't play Thornton defense. Usually when we do that, we can lock anybody down."
Following Combs' second shot from beyond the arc, the Wildcats answered. Parker hit a baseline jumper off a pass from Levy, Charles Knowles nailed a pull-up jumper, and DeChaun Williams knocked in a put-back off an offensive rebound.
Levy hit all six of his free throw attempts in the final minute to shut the door.
"We've just got to keep playing together and minimize our turnovers," Jackson said. "Play as a unit and not have a one-man team or somebody trying to take over. Just play together."
Combs finished with a game-high 21 points for Thornwood (2-3, 0-1) while Khapri Alston added 11 points.