Boys Basketball: Thornwood turns back Thornridge
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media February 11, 2014 8:52PM
Updated: February 12, 2014 2:19AM
As Thornwood coach Paul Slavich succinctly put it, Rashaad Alexander “had the green light.”
And Tuesday night, playing at rival Thornridge, the Thunderbirds sure needed Alexander.
The senior guard helped ignite a sluggish offensive effort, scoring eight points as part of a huge spurt in the third quarter as Thornwood prevailed 55-42 in a SouthWest Suburban Red game.
“Coach Slavich always says to pass the ball, and the first half I tried to get everyone involved,” Alexander said. “The second half I had to come out and try harder, get my shots up.”
Kaliph Fagan finished with 14 points for Thornwood (17-4, 10-0), while Alexander and Brian Thomas each had 13 points.
As for the struggles Tuesday, Slavich didn’t exactly predict them, but he wasn’t completely surprised, either.
“The last couple of days in practice were just flat,” Slavich said. “We’ve got to get these guys moving. We don’t get going sometimes until our backs are against the wall. We’ve got to go for four quarters, not wait and see what the opponent is all about.”
Alexander caught fire in the third quarter. With Thornwood having trailed by as many as six points in the quarter, Alexander hit a pretty running floater in the lane to cut the deficit to two.
Quiet through two-plus quarters offensively as he dished the ball rather than shoot, Alexander came to life after the floater. Off a steal, Fagan found a wide-open Alexander on the wing for a three-pointer.
Thornridge responded, with Darrion Robinson scoring on an up-and-under move as the Falcons went up 31-30.
Who else was going to answer for Thornwood? Alexander hit a three from the top of the key in transition to give the Thunderbirds the lead for good. Thornwood ended the quarter on a 14-3 spurt.
“We had a long talk at halftime, not running our offense, playing lazy defense,” Alexander said. “We had to turn it up. I was feeling it and kept shooting it.”
Fagan helped blow the game open in the fourth, finding a cutting Kenneth Bates for a two-handed slam.
Robinson had a monster game for Thornridge (7-18, 3-7) with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Robinson scored 15 of the Falcons’ 19 second half points.
Thornridge shot just 15-of-44 from the field, including 7-of-25 in the second half.