Boys Basketball: Marlon Johnson leads Joliet West past Plainfield NorthJoliet West’s Brian Edwards (32) collides with Plainfield North’s
Matt Fenza (left) and Corey Evak defending the basket in the first half
at West Friday November, 25, 2011.| Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 25, 2011 10:53PM
Marlon Johnson hit a baseline jumper, a quick turnaround shot and then added a three-point play on a short drive to the basket—a versatile display by the 6-foot-9 Joliet West senior.
Just as impressive was it all came in the first quarter of Joliet West’s 88-58 victory Friday night over Plainfield North in the third round of the Tigers’ Thanksgiving Classic.
“Marlon is a unique player that way,’’ Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. “We just want to keep developing his talents all year long, and finding how we make all these pieces we have fit.’’
Johnson finished with a game-high 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and didn’t play the last five minutes after West entered the fourth quarter with a 62-40 advantage.
“He just has to get into his rhythm and find out how he’s best going to help our team,’’ Yaklich said. “He can play away from the basket, he can get offensive rebounds. We’re trying to expand his game to be a low post threat too.’’
Joliet West (2-1) started fast, opening a 16-6 first-quarter lead on a three-pointer by Carl Terrell. The Tigers hit 12-of-17 second-quarter free throws and Brian Edwards helped Johnson on the boards with six first-half rebounds as West built a 39-25 halftime advantage.
“It was a nice bounce back after our performance on Tuesday night,’’ Yaklich said. “Our team is a work in progress.’’
West was able to increase its lead despite point guard Morris Dunnigan (12 points) sitting most of the second quarter with three fouls.
“I liked our effort tonight, I liked our intensity on defense,’’ Yaklich said. “The offense is going to come as soon as we can take care of the ball a little better.’’
The growth process will take a little longer for Plainfield North, which lost its third straight.
“We lack mental toughness right now,’’ Plainfield North coach Nick DiForti said. “We battled maybe for a quarter-and-a-half. When you give up so many turnovers and free throws, it’s not going to be a formula to win.’’
Freshman Trevor Stumpe led Plainfield North with 19 points and Kurt Palandech had 16 points.
“To be a freshman, three games into the season, he’s 14 years old going up against 17- and 18-year-old kids,’’ DiForti said. “He did a fantastic job.’’
Joliet West will face Rich East on Saturday for third place. Raheem Jackson hit a bank shot with three seconds left to give the Rockets a 48-46 victory over Plainfield South. Ron Lawton had 16 points and Anthony Perkins 10 for Rich East (1-2).
Ed Presniakovas led Plainfield South (1-2) with 22 points and Kevin Coker had 11 points.