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By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Undefeated Raiders, Thomas, hold-off Burbridge, Joliet West

 

Last updated 2/14/2021 at 6:45pm



In a battle of unbeatens, the Tigers of Joliet West traveled to Bolingbrook to take on the host Raiders in a Saturday afternoon matinee. The Raiders improved to 3-0 with the 53-45 non-conference victory.

The Raiders were led by senior Kyonte Thomas, who had a game-high 18 points. Joliet West was led by its 6-foot-5 senior Ashawn Burbridge, who scored 13 points for the Tigers and hauled down 15 rebounds.

The Raiders led 30-25 at the half behind 10 Thomas points. The Tigers were led by senior Wyuna Brown who scored 11 first-half points.

The first key to a Raider victory — the defense stepped up to shutout Brown in the second half.

With 1:30 remaining in the third quarter and the Raiders leading 40-35, Bolingbrook junior Jaydin Dunlap (five points) buried a long-range, three-point bomb to put the Raiders up 43-35. Thomas scored his final basket of the afternoon for a 45-35 lead with a minute in the quarter.

It's great to be undefeated," Thomas said. "We played with a lot of energy and beat a good team in Joliet West. I played well today."

After three quarters the Raiders led 47-37.

The fourth quarter was a battle of the big men.

Burbridge scored five points in the quarter to keep the Tigers close.

Bolingbrook's 6-foot-4 muscular junior Michael Osei-Bonsu (six points,10 rebounds) grabbed six rebounds in the quarter, before fouling out.

"Last year I broke my leg and missed my sophomore season," Osei-Bonsu said. "Coach Brost gave me some good advice at halftime that helped me have a productive second half."

Bolingbrook senior Kai Evans, along with Darius Burford and Isaiah Stafford, made up the Raiders version of "The Three Amigos" that starred for The Brook last season.

Evans, the lone returning Amigo, scored six points for the Raiders on Saturday. Six-foot-9 Donaven Younger chipped in six points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Tiger senior Jaiden Lee tallied nine points while senior sharpshooter Luke Morrow hit a pair of 3's for six points for Joliet West.

"For the second straight game, Kyonte has been the best player on the floor for us," said a leaner Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost, who dropped 60 pounds in the offseason said. "He made a couple of mistakes tonight but no one is harder on themselves, than Kyonte is. We're 3-0 but it's such a crazy season. This year is not about wins and losses but improving each game."

"No I did not come down with the virus," Brost added. "I just stopped eating."

The Raiders (3-0, 1-0) return to Southwest Suburban Blue action, hosting the Porters of Lockport (2-1,0-1), Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Tigers (2-1, 2-0) return to Southwest Prairie East action on Tuesday, visiting "The Old Barn" to face arch-rival Joliet Central (1-2, 1-1), at 7 p.m.

 

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