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Boys Basketball: Conner powers Crete-Monee past Joliet Central

Joliet Central's William Autman (33) puts shot up against Crete-Monee's Rashad Lee (50) during WJOL 2012 Thanksgiving Classic University St.

Joliet Central's William Autman (33) puts a shot up against Crete-Monee's Rashad Lee (50) during the WJOL 2012 Thanksgiving Classic at University of St. Francis in Joliet Wednesday, November 21, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 24, 2012 7:20AM



While the Crete-Monee football team is busy preparing for Saturday’s Class 6A state championship game, the basketball team is making a splash in its first appearance in the WJOL Thanksgiving Classic at the University of St. Francis Recreation Center.

Following up on his 28-point outburst in Monday’s 83-52 victory over Joliet Catholic, senior forward Mark Conner scored 21 of his game-high 25 in the second half Wednesday afternoon to help secure a 67-50 victory over Joliet Central.

The Warriors (2-0) will win Pool A outright and clinch a berth in Saturday’s 4 p.m. overall title game if they can handle Plainfield Central at 6:45 p.m. Friday. Joliet Central (1-1) will look to rebound at 5 p.m. Friday against Joliet Catholic.

Crete also will get some help from the football team, and maybe a lot. Chris Jerrigan definitely will play and coach Tom Cappel said “rumor has it” that All-American pass receiver Laquon Treadwell, also a basketball talent, will as well.

“He was at our Blue and White game cheering the kids on,” Cappel said. “Or, maybe I should say, harassing them.”

Cappel said Jerrigan “is like (guard Marquette) Muhammad. He’s a ball of energy. He’ll give you that if he has one foot in the grave. We need that kind of player.”

Muhammad leaped his way to 10 rebounds, helping Crete to a 48-33 advantage against a Steelmen team missing 6-foot-4 junior post player Jarvis Northington, who is out through the Lincoln-Way East game Nov. 30 for academic reasons.

“We’re not big, but our goal is always to be between plus-five and minus-five on the boards,” Central coach Jeff Corcoran said. “We have to work harder than everyone else. We’ll have a tough time if we don’t battle on the boards.”

The Steelmen were within 29-25 at halftime, but the combination of senior guard Marvie Keith, Conner and 1-1-3 halfcourt pressure doomed them in the second half.

“Keith is a great player off the dribble,” Corcoran said. “We wanted to keep him in front of us and make someone else beat us. No. 2 (Conner) did with 21 in the second half.”

Conner shot 11-of-15 from the floor. Keith scored 17 and dished out six assists.

“I had to take over in the second half,” Conner said. “I had a bad first half. I couldn’t let the team down.”

Central’s Jonah Coble had 17 points, all in the second and fourth quarters. Jalen Heath added 10, but the two combined 9-for-27 shooting.

“I think we discombobulated them,” Cappel said. “They started shooting from outside.”



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