ELMHURST – In all three of the Minooka boys basketball losses, shot availability was the major problem.
In their Southwest Prairie Conference losses to Joliet West and Joliet Central, the Tigers’ and Steelmen’s superior athletes denied the Indians an open shot. When the rare open look occurred, the Indians rushed the shot and misfired.
In a 50-28 Jack Tosh Holiday Classic second-round loss Tuesday to Wheaton North, shot availability after the first quarter was limited for the Indians. After allowing Minooka four first-quarter baskets, the Wheaton North defense put a stranglehold on the Indians’ offense.
In the last three quarters, Minooka scored six field goals. The Indians were 5 of 16 in the first half, trailing 20-14. The second half was worse as they went 5 for 21 for an overall shooting day of 27.7 percent.
Jonny Butler, who had five first-quarter points, scored a bucket late in the fourth quarter, for a seven-point night. Brian Hill scored five off the bench and the biggest bright spot for the Indians was the outstanding play of junior Adrian Paige.
With the Indians down, 25-14, with 3:20 in the third quarter, Paige’s first basket ended an all-too-common event for Minooka at York, a seven-minute, 22-second scoring drought. Paige struck for three more points, pulling the Indians within 25-19 with 2:00 left in the third quarter. Wheaton North then scored the final four points of the quarter for a 29-19 lead.
“I played hard inside and did well today,” Paige said. “I thought we executed well but couldn’t hit our shots. We hope to bounce back tomorrow and get a win.”
Wheaton North exploded in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Indians, 21-9.
Minooka will play at 6 Wednesday against the loser of Tuesday’s De La Salle (8-1) versus Timothy Christian (8-2) game.
“We followed our shots and did well in the first quarter,” Minooka coach Scott Tanaka said. “After the first quarter, we just couldn’t make a basket. We hope to bounce back on Wednesday and pick up a win in the consolation bracket.”
HINSDALE CENTRAL CLASSIC
Bolingbrook 78, Glenbrook North 45: Bolingbrook overcame a rough start to pick up the opening-round victory.
With 6:32 left in the first quarter, Raiders senior starting guard Trevor Ross was carried off the court with an apparent knee injury. Underdog Glenbrook North (6-6) played the highly ranked Raiders even at 15 after the first eight minutes.
With Bolingbrook (7-0) clinging to a 21-19 lead with 4 minutes to go in the half, 6-foot-6 Morgan Park transfer Malik Binns and sophomore Joseph Yesufu took over, and the Raiders closed the half on a 13-2 run for a 34-21 lead.
With 2:56 left in the half, Binns electrified the large crowd with an off-balance, acrobatic layup to give the Raiders a 29-21 lead. Yusufu nailed a jumper and then stole a Glenbrook North pass and went coast-to-coast for a 33-21 lead.
The third quarter was like the first quarter as the feisty Spartans again played the Raiders tough. Bolingbrook led, 45-31, after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Raiders showed everyone why they are a major contender for the Class 4A state championship in March, scoring 33 points in the final eight minutes.
Bolingbrook will face Westinghouse (5-5) at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinals.