Boys Basketball: Joliet West towers over Rich Central
By Dick Goss email@example.com February 26, 2013 8:06PM
Joliet West's Ryan Modiest (15) puts a shot up against Rich Central's Jamaal Murray during their regional basketball game in Lockport Tuesday, February 26, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 26, 2013 10:42PM
The stat sheet shows Joliet West 6-foot-7 senior center Andre Hardy with all of four points.
But nobody made a bigger impact on the Tigers’ 67-42 victory over Rich Central on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Class 4A Lockport Regional.
Hardy grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked five shots and changed multiple other shots with his presence as No. 4 seed West (18-7) advanced to Friday’s regional final against T.F. North.
“We couldn’t score. The 6-7 guy (Hardy) put fear in our minds,” Rich Central coach Bobby Smith said.
“Andre was the MVP for us defensively,” West coach Luke Yaklich said of Hardy. “I was really impressed with his focus.”
Yaklich said Hardy was on a mission. After 6-4 senior forward Jamaal Murray netted 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Olympians (11-15) in Monday’s victory over Washington, “Andre told me he wasn’t going to let 24 (Murray) beat us, and he did what he said he would,” Yaklich noted.
“The big fella has come a long way in two years. He understands his role, what he does well. He screens, rebounds and drops the ball off.”
Murray finished with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting. Senior guard Keith Williams led Central with 17 points, almost exclusively on acrobatic drives down the lane.
“Keith Williams had a great tournament,” Smith said.
West senior guard Morris Dunnigan, who scored all of his 19 points in the second and third quarters, keyed a 9-0 run early in the third quarter that put the game out of reach at 45-26. Senior forward Brandon McCullum contributed 12 points and nine boards and senior guard Ryan Modiest scored 11.
West senior guard Carl Terrell scored seven early points before suffering a right thigh injury and played sparingly. Yaklich said Terrell will be ready to go Friday.
“I’ve known coach Yaklich for a few years now and his teams are well coached,” Smith said. “We came a long way this year, but we still have a lot of work to do. I wish we had some of our guys one more year.”