Joliet West, Lee hand Plainfield South, Schmid first loss of 2021
Milazzo's clutch free-throws lead Minooka girls past West Aurora
Last updated 2/20/2021 at 4:49pm
After Tuesday's 58-56 overtime loss to arch-rival Joliet Central (3-2, 3-1), the Tigers of Joliet West were looking to bounce back at the expense of the undefeated Plainfield South Cougars on Friday night.
The Cougars (3-1, 3-1) entered the action on Friday all alone atop the Southwest Prairie Conference East.
Joliet West would withstand a pair of fourth quarter Cougar runs and a 25-point explosion from Cougar senior Cooper Schmid and hold on to a 55-44 victory.
In 2019-20 Joliet West won 29 games and were SPC East Champs and took home an IHSA Class 4A Regional Championship. One of the big stars from that remarkable Tiger squad is now senior Jaiden Lee.
Lee scored only two points in the first half.
The Tiger senior, Lee scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including eight in the crucial fourth quarter.
The Tigers led 24-15 at the half and 36-28 after three quarters.
With 6:53 remaining in the contest, Joliet West's Andrew Johnson's put-back basket gave the Tigers a 39-28 lead.
The Cougars would respond with a 6-0 run to narrow the deficit to 39-34 on a steal and slam from Schmid. The Tigers answered with a 6-0 run of their own led by Lee (four points) and junior Skyar Crudup.
Crudup's bucket with 3:44 left extended the Tiger lead to 45-34.
Again the Cougars would rally.
Cougar junior Kenyi Callahan (nine points) would score and then his steal and perfect assist to Schmid for two brought the Cougars within 45-38 with 3:01.
Tiger sophomore Jayden Martin (10 points) provided the Tiger dagger when he buried a long-range three-pointer to finish off the Cougars with 2:40 left.
Senior Terrance Moncrief added 11 for the Tigers.
"We had to lock down on Plainfield South tonight," Lee said. "We all played with a lot of energy. In the fourth quarter I was able to knock down my free-throws to preserve the victory. We want to win big at home on Saturday versus Plainfield Central."
"Unbelievable job of bouncing back from a bad situation on Tuesday," Joliet West coach Jeremy Kreiger said. "We overlooked an opponent and didn't play with the defensive intensity, that you are used to seeing in our team. We did that tonight. We are back in first place where we always expect the program to be. We look forward to going home tomorrow afternoon and once again play an SPC East opponent in Plainfield Central. "All of the names whom you mentioned who played so well in tonight's victory were all important players from our great team from last year. Lee, Crudup, Moncrief and Martin, all developed confidence in themselves last season, to step up and do their job's tonight."
Plainfield South's Schmid added eight rebounds and four steals to his career 25-point night.
The telling stat of tonight SPC's battle was the lack of free-throw shooting by the host Cougars. The Cougars missed their last 10 free-throws on the night and were just 4-for-15 for the game.
"We started slow but really came on in the fourth quarter," Schmid said. "My teammates really got me the ball down low to where I could score. In the second half I was much more aggressive attacking the basket, which led to my career-night. We missed 10 free throws in a row which cost us the game We will bounce back Saturday at Romeoville."
"Give credit to Joliet West coach Kreiger and his staff," Plainfield South coach Tim Boe said. "They totally out-coached us and had their kids more prepared than we did. Cooper played outstanding for us, tonight. Our outstanding 3-0 start was made possible by our entire roster playing well in the three wins to start the season. We are still in first place and we will bounce back at Romeoville Saturday."
With 18 seconds remaining in regulation of their Southwest Prairie Conference West battle, the Minooka Indians trailed West Aurora 36-35. Minooka (2-2, 2-1) senior Tea Milazzo stood at the free-throw line with two shots.
First shot: Good
Second shot: Good
Minooka 37 West Aurora 36. 0:18
The Blackhawks (2-3, 2-1) misfire and the Indians win 37-36.
Minooka freshman Makenzie Brass led the Indians with 13 points. Senior Kinzie Caves added nine points for the Indians, while junior Maizy Caves chipped in with seven points.