By Drake Skleba
For the Enterprise 

Joliet West's attack blitzes Oswego in battle of SPC Divisional leaders

In Niles, top-ranked Dons roll past state-ranked Fenwick


Last updated 1/8/2020 at 11:10am

Lightning strikes are a rare event in the Joliet area in January.

The percentage greatly increases where and whenever the Joliet West boys varsity basketball team is playing this winter.

On Joliet's West Side, a lightning strike occurred in Tuesday 's crucial Southwest Prairie Conference battle between the visiting SPC West leading Panthers of Oswego and the host SPC East-leading Tigers.

Joliet West won the game by a 75-64 score.

The final score does not explain the whole story of tonight's game.

Hitting 14 of its first 21 shots from the field, Oswego (11-3, 3-2 West) led 30-19 with 4:10 remaining in the first half.

Joliet West (14-2, 7-0 East) closed out the first half on a 14-0 run to take a 33-30 lead into their halftime locker room.

The Tigers lightning strike would continue through the third quarter and with 4:12 remaining in the game, the Tigers led 66-46 after a monster slam by Dakhari Jaudon (10 points).

In just under 16 minutes of game time, the Tigers outscored the befuddled Panthers 47-16.

Lightning strikes.

Trailing 30-27 with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Tiger junior Jaiden Lee's (14 points, four rebounds) long-range, three-pointer tied the game at 30-30. To close out the 14-0 run, West senior Jamere Hill's (12 points, six rebounds) old-fashioned three-point-play gave the Tigers the 33-30 lead at half that they would never relinquish.

"Our tremendous lightning-strike runs all start with our defense," Hill said. "Our entire roster contributes and we get on a roll where we are very difficult to stop."

Oswego, who was led by their senior guards, Joe Niesman (20 points) and Kobe Adams (17 points), pulled to within 42-39 with 5:34 left in the third quarter. Lightning would strike again, with a 10-0 Tiger run, for a 52-39 lead with 1:34 in the third quarter. The Panthers, would pull to within 54-43 at the end of three quarters.

Having another double-double nights, junior Ashwan Burbridge scored 14 points and hauled down 13 rebounds for West.

"I have had a number of double-doubles this year," Burbridge said. "I really concentrate on getting as many rebounds as I can and play great defense. Tonight, the points came easily for me, too.

Enterprise Newspapers All-Area Football selection junior Trent Howland showcased his football moves that allowed him to rush for more than 1,300 yards for the SPC East Tiger football champions on the court, scoring 11 points and hauling down six rebounds.

"We were not playing any defense in the first quarter and a half," Howland said. "Falling behind 30-19, we stepped up and played defense and ran away with the game. I got in foul trouble in the first quarter but came back and played well for us tonight."

Up next for the Tiger is a Friday night trip to the SPC West leaders from Oswego East (12-4, 6-1).

"Everything we teach here at West is all about being able to play defense," Joliet West coach Jeremy Kreiger said. "Playing time is determined by our players showing us first and foremost that they want to defend. We didn't play defense in the first quarter and a half and Oswego hurt us and jumped out to the 30-19 lead. When we decide to defend, we are very hard to defeat.

"Everyone on our roster contributes and we get on a roll. All the credit for our success goes to our players. They all work hard everyday and have bought in totally to what I and my outstanding coaching staff are trying to teach them."


In a battle of state-ranked powers in Niles, Enterprise Publications No. 1 ranked Dons (16-2) opened up a 22-point lead after three quarters and rolled past the Friars (12-2) on Tuesday night. Burying eight three-points bombs, the Dons opened up a 25-19 lead after one quarter.

After a low-scoring second quarter, ND led 34-24 at the half. The Don's high-flying Frenchman, junior Louis Lesmond, who closed out the first half with a three-pointer, opened the third quarter by burying another pair of three-point bombs and went on a personal 11-0 run to open up a 42-24 Dons lead.

Junior Troy D'Amico paced the Dons with 18 points, followed by 16 from Lesmond. Junior guard Anthony Sayles added 14 points to the win, while senior Jason Bergstrom hit double-figures with 10 points.

On Friday night, the Dons (16-2, 2-0) host their arch-rivals from Arlington Heights, St. Viator (12-4, 2-0), in a East Suburban Catholic Conference battle for first place.


Plainfield North 59 Joliet Central 57

"Whenever you play a Larry Thompson-coached team, expect to be in a grinder," Plainfield North head coach Bob Krahulik, told us last season. On Tuesday night, in The Old Barn at Joliet Central, Krahulik and his SPC West-co-leading Tigers survived such a grinder.

Joliet Central (6-11, 2-5 East) led 14-10 after one quarter before Plainfield North (8-4, 6-1 West) outscored the Steelmen 23-6 in the second quarter for a seemingly-comfortable 33-20 lead at halftime.

Welcome to the Grinder.

Thompson's Steelmen fought to the very end, falling 59-57.

Plainfield North was led by 6-foot-8 Colin O'Rourke, who scored 24 points and hauled down eight rebounds. Six-foot-4 Billy Ellinghaus added 20 huge points and grabbed five rebounds for the Tigers. O' Rourke buried three of his four shots from beyond the arc.

Romeoville 39 Yorkville 34

The 'Ville (9-8, 5-2 East) stayed within two and a half games of SPC East leader Joliet West (14-2, 7-0 East) with the win in Romeoville on Tuesday. The Spartans jumped out to a 13-8 lead after one quarter and the Foxes (8-8, 2-4 West) rallied to within 18-15 at the half.

The Spartans opened up a 33-28 lead after three quarters. Each team only scored six points each in the final quarter for the 39-34 Romeoville win.

Oswego East 64 Plainfield Central 60

SPC West co-leader, Oswego East (12-4, 6-1 West) survived the return of Plainfield Central's (9-6, 3-3 East) Brandon Shoemaker on Tuesday in Plainfield


Joliet Catholic 46 Ottawa Marquette 39

The Hilltoppers are back to .500 at 7-7 with the nonconference win in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Waubonsie Valley 47 Lockport 36

State-ranked Waubonsie Valley (15-1) was too much for the Porters in Lockport (7-7) on Tuesday.

Westmont 36 Lisle 33

In another edition of The Old Plank Road Rivalry, the Sentinels (5-10) won at home over their rivals from Lisle (7-8).


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