Boys Basketball: Thornton stays in control vs. Lockport
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media March 4, 2014 9:08PM
Thornton's Leslie Wilson goes to the basket against Lockport's John Campbell during Tuesday night's game. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 6, 2014 6:19AM
Thornton went on the offensive — rebound that is — to advance to the Class 4A Lincoln-Way Central Regional championship.
The Thornton Sectional No. 3 seed had 15 offensive rebounds and converted most of those into points during a 66-45 victory Tuesday night over 14th-seeded Lockport in New Lenox.
The win puts Thornton (20-5) in Friday’s regional championship either Lincoln-Way Central or Homewood-Flossmoor at 7 p.m. Friday.
It was the ninth straight win for the Wildcats, who had a string of 10 straight regional championships snapped a year ago. The Wildcats played without the services of injured 6-foot-6 forward Justin Taylor, whose availability Friday is unknown.
“I was nervous because our leader, Justin Taylor, sprained an ankle and wasn’t ready to play,” Thornton coach Troy Jackson said. “We don’t know if he’s going to play Friday or not. But, we did what we wanted to do (Tuesday).”
Leslie Wilson’s 19 points led three Wildcats in double figures.
“We wanted to come out and get a ‘W’ without out best player,” Wilson said.
Brian Davis had 15 points and nine rebounds starting for Taylor. Jamani Pierce added 14 points and nine boards and D’Quan Applewhite was credited with eight steals.
“We got some turnovers, got some fast breaks, capitalized on them and put together a good effort,” Jackson said.
Thornton led from wire to wire. Wilson’s steal and three-point play gave Thornton a 14-6 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. The Wildcats settled for a 14-8 lead after one. Lockport had four baskets and five turnovers through the first eight minutes.
Wilson’s three-pointer to open the scoring in the second gave the Wildcats a 17-8 advantage. Pierce’s putback of his miss made it 19-10 with 5:45 left in the second quarter and forced a Lockport timeout.
Pierce’s jumper gave Thornton a 23-10 lead with 3:41 left in the half.
Lockport scored next five points, the last two on Campbell’s bucket, to cut the lead to 23-15 with 2:22 left in the second quarter. Kareem McHardy’s putback just before the horn gave the Wildcats a 28-16 lead at the break.
“It’s one thing to give up offensive rebounds, it’s another thing for them to score on them and they did that,” Lockport coach Lawrence Thompson Jr. said. “And, they are a lot deeper than people give them credit for.”
Pierce’s two free throws gave the Wildcats a 34-20 lead with 5:30 left in the third.
A three-pointer by Applewhite and back-to-back treys by Davis pushed the lead to 43-26 with 3:10 left in the third quarter. Thornton scored four points during the final five seconds to take a 48-30 lead after three quarters.
Lockport (13-15) posted back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in nearly a decade. John Campbell’s 28 points led all scorers.
“We just have to continue to build off the kids we have coming back and work on our team concept,” Thompson said. “We improved individually and as a team. Individually, kids need to work on their offense and defense. Those are the things we’re going to stress.”