Boys Basketball: Joliet West takes down Lincoln-Way CentralLincoln-Way Central's #3 Matt Mikolajczak drives to the basket in front of Joliet West's #5 Eric Cooper held at Joliet and West won on Tuesday, February 07, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 7, 2012 9:14PM
Lincoln-Way Central caught Southwest Suburban Blue foe Joliet West at exactly the wrong time.
Coming off a tough week where West dropped decisions of 50-46 to Homewood-Flossmoor and 68-63 to Lincoln-Way East, the Tigers were loaded for beat in Tuesday night’s 65-39 victory over the Knights.
The final score made things look more respectable as West (14-7, 7-3) led 39-10 at halftime in adding one more point of emphasis on the resume. Coaches in the Class 4A Rich East Sectional must submit their seeding ballots by noon Thursday.
“We like to think we’re right in the mix for the No. 4 seed; we’ll see what happens,” West coach Luke Yaklich said.
“I told our guys before the game they better be ready,” Central coach Bob Curran said. “With the seedings coming out, West was playing for a lot.
“To their credit, their game plan was to pressure us all over the floor, and it definitely worked. We didn’t do a good enough job playing the game the way we wanted. We also missed some shots early and got behind. It was important that we hang around early, but instead it got out of hand.”
After Central (9-14, 2-8) led 5-4, the Tigers outscored the Knights 8-0, 20-2 and finally 34-5 over the rest of a half where the turnover differential was 15-1.
“We had one day of practice for this game and worked on defense and our pressure,” said West’s 6-foot-9 center Marlon Johnson, who scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the first half and grabbed nine rebounds. “I was trying to get my offense going early, and that opened things up for shooters to knock down some shots.”
Brandon McCullum added 10 points for West, which was without junior guard Morris Dunningan, who also will miss Friday’s game against Joliet Central. “He has to focus on his academics,” Yaklich said.
West’s defense, specifically 6-6 junior Andre Hardy and Johnson, limited Central 6-8 Brad Foster to five points and four rebounds. “Andre is like Marlon was at this time last year; he doesn’t know how good he can be,” Yaklich said. “He did a great job tonight, and another thing I really liked was the way we shared the ball on offense.”