By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Joliet West, Moncreif roll past Plainfield South for Joliet West's sweep of Southwest Prairie Conference titles


Last updated 3/14/2021 at 11:51am

On Saturday afternoon, with the blaring sounds of Queen's 1977 rock anthem 'We are the Champions', the Joliet West Tiger girls hoisted the Southwest Prairie Conference championship trophy after defeating Plainfield North 68-53.

The Tiger girls had done their part, toward the goal of a Joliet West Tigers sweep, of the Southwest Prairie Conference championships.

Following the Tiger girls' postgame celebration, the surprising Cougars of Plainfield South were set to face the SPC East Division champions from Joliet West in the boys SPC championship game.

On Friday night in Oswego, the Cougars stunned the SPC West champion Oswego East, 60-52, in an SPC semifinal.

The Tiger boys from Joliet West (12-2) did not let their Tiger girls down.

Behind senior point guard Terrance Moncrief, Joliet West rolled past Plainfield South 54-44 to complete the Tigers sweep of the SPC championships

Moncrief ran the Tigers attack to perfectio, scoring nine points, added three steals and handed out four assists.

Moncreif displayed an overwhelming confidence.

"I was very confident from the opening possession of the game," Moncrief said, "There was no way Plainfield South was going to defeat us."

Behind 6-foot-5 senior Ashawn Burbridge (eight points,nine rebounds) and 6-foot-7 senior Luke Morrow (nine points), the Tigers led 13-9 after one quarter.

Plainfield South's Amarion Molette (nine points) pulled the Cougars within13-9 on his first-quarter long-range three at the buzzer.

In the second quarter, Joliet West senior Andrew Johnson (10 points) and junior Connor Sukel (eight points) led the Tigers to a 33-19 lead at the half.

Johnson buried two long-range three-pointers and score eight points in the second quarter. Sukel struck from beyond the arc and score five second-quarter points to help lead the Tigers to the 14-point halftime lead.

"We all practice our outside shooting everyday," Johnson said. "Our hard work paid off today."

Joliet West would put the game away in the first minute of the second half.

Morrow and Moncrief scored and after a Burbridge put-back basket, the Tigers led 39-19. Late in the third quarter, Tiger sophomore Jayden Martin would hit from 25-feet for a 48-27 Tiger lead after three quarters.

Entering the game, Plainfield South's 6-foot-5 Cooper Schmid, was one of the Joliet area's leading scorers, averaging over 20 points-per-game. The defensive assignment for the Tigers went to Johnson.

"I studied his weaknesses and his strengths," Johnson added. "I was able to shut him down."

Schmid was held to just six points in the first half.

In the second half, on his patented drives to the basket, the Cougars senior scored 10 second-half points and finish with 16 points.

Cougar junior Kenyi Callahan chipped in with six points.

West senior JaIden Lee chipped in with seven points for the Tigers.

"We gutted it out all season," an emotional Plainfield South head coach Tim Boe said. "I am so proud of our kids for what we accomplished this year. (West coach) Jeremy (Kreiger) runs an outstanding program here at West and deserves to be SPC champions."

"I am so happy that we were able to win the SPC championship, on this floor, in my last game as a Joliet West Tiger," Morrow said.

"When we were finally allowed to play, even in a condensed season, I was overjoyed for my six seniors," Kreiger said. "Terrance Moncrief has just grown into his role as our outstanding point guard. Terrance is so confident running our offense. For the second night in a row, Connor Sukel has come off the bench and played outstanding for us. Andrew Johnson wanted the job of slowing down Schmid.

"What a wonderful season. SPC champions."


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