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Steelwomen-Tigers meet on the West Side in "Joliet Rumble"

Back on December 9 at "The Old Barn" on the campus of Joliet Central High School; Central girls varsity basketball coach the Steelwomen defeated the Tigers, 47-44.

Placher's Tigers (26-3, 14-1), have not lost a game since.

They have won 21 consecutive games, and 14 of the consecutive games have come in the Southwest Prairie East Conference.

The Tigers take a one-gam, Southwest Prairie East lead over Joliet Central (26-4, 13-2) into Tuesday's "Joliet Rumble" at West at 6:30 p.m.

The Steelwomen have won 23 of their last 24, falling at Oswego on January 17, 42-41 for their only loss in their last 24 games.

On December 3, 2019 at Plainfield South (14-12, 9-6), the host Cougars stunned the Steelwomen 44-39. The Steelwomen recently avenged that SPC East defeat by defeating the Cougars 34-25 at "The Old Barn" on January 30.

A Tiger win on Tuesday night will mean an outright SPC East Championship for the girls from Joliet West. A Steelwomen victory would give the girls from Joliet Central a share of the SPC East championship.

With the IHSA releasing the Girls Class 4A Tournament pairings on Friday, one could not help but notice a "Joliet Rumble II" as a possibility.

On Tuesday February 18 in the IHSA Class 4A Joliet West Regional opener, the Tigers will play the winner of Monday February 17 play-in game between Bradley-Bourbonnais (8-18) and Minooka (6-24).

Following the Tigers opener, the Steelwomen will play Moline (19-10) with the two winners meeting for the regional championship at 7 p.m., on Thursday, February 20th.

Tuesday night's "Joliet Rumble" could arguably be the most important girls' varsity basketball game in the "City of Champions" Joliet girls' basketball history.

Since the legendary Cathy Boswell led the 1979 Tiger girls to the IHSA single-class State Basketball Championship under Jo Streit, wins have been hard to come-by on Joliet's West Side.

Placher's 2016-2017 Tiger squad finished 16-12, the first winning-season for the Tigers since the 26-5 squad under Tracy Djerf in 1990 where they went to the Class AA Supersectionals.

Placher's 2017-18 squad won 17 games (17-12) for consecutive winning seasons.

Under the Joliet Township moniker, the Steelwomen went Downstate in 1994 and 1995 under coach Al Mart. In the six years from 1993-1998 under Mart, Marvin Reed and Gerry Edwards, the Steelwomen won 150 games, five regional and four sectional championships.

In 2010, the school returned to its Joliet Central roots and did not have a winning season until Brumfiel's

girls went 24-7 in 2018-19.

"You will be led by a child" the old adage says, and for the Tigers, they are led by freshman Lisa Thompson. Thompson, who until recently led the Tigers in scoring, is averaging 16 points-per-game. Thompson also dishes out five assists and grabs four rebounds a game.

Two 2019 Enterprise Newspapers All-Area Selections, senior Jazz Evans and Grace Walsh, have stepped aside a little to make room for Thompson.

Evans has taken over as the team's leading scorer as she had all last season with her 16.5 points-per-game average. The standout senior hands out four assists, grabs four rebounds and picks up three steals per game.

After battling Tiger opponents "Bigs" under the glass in her All-Area freshman season, Walsh is playing outside at the guard position. Grace is averaging 11 points-per-game and still hauling down four rebounds per-game.

For the Steelwomen, 2019 All-Area Selection Jalysa Stokes, who led the area in scoring (20.3 ppg) in 2019, is averaging 17 points-per-game. Stokes also grabs five rebounds per game. Senior A'llaysha Alexander averages 11 points and seven boards per night while junior, Ashanti Brown averages eight points and five rebounds for the Steelwomen.


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