Boys Basketball: Warren’s defense shuts down Joliet WestJoliet West's Marlon Johnson tries to break past a solid Darius Paul of Warren. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
PONTIAC, Ill. — There has been plenty of turmoil surrounding the Warren program this season. Star players have been suspended for games and players have been dismissed from the team, including starter Roman Schultz just before the Blue Devils arrived at the Pontiac Holiday Tounament. But everything seems to be coming together for Warren here.
A 60-29 whipping of Joliet West in the quarterfinals on Thursday has the No. 7 Blue Devils one step closer to the goal of meeting No. 1 Simeon in the final and avenging two losses from last season.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 13-0 lead and never looked back, holding the Tigers to just two field goals in the first quarter, two in the second and one in the third.
“Their length bothered us a lot,” Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. “Their size at the one, two and three slots impacted the game.”
Even significant early foul trouble for four Warren starters (Nathan Boothe, Darius Paul, JoVaughn Gaines and Mitch Munda) couldn’t help the Tigers get on the scoreboard.
“We had some guys step up and play well,” Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said. “And Jon Geske did a real nice job of guarding [Joliet West center Marlon Johnson].”
Gaines led the Blue Devils (9-1) with 12 points and Boothe finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Darius Paul added nine points and seven rebounds.
“Our bench was outscored 21-3,” Yaklich said. “Warren is a deep team. They know how to win and we are not there yet.”
Junior Morris Dunnigan led Joliet with 11 points and seven rebounds. Johnson added nine points for the Tigers (8-3).
Warren’s defense stifled the Tigers so badly that Joliet West managed baskets on consecutive possessions just once in the entire game — and that was late in the fourth quarter.
“We had good pressure on the ball,” Ramsey said. “And a good job defending screens and good defense on their post.”