High school basketball: Michael O’Brien’s high notebook

WASHINGTON, ILL–Jeremy Fears Jr.’s final act of the night was his easiest play of the game. He lobbed the ball in the air and Matthew Moore slammed it home at the buzzer, setting off a celebration on the Joliet West bench and across the court in the student section.

It’s one thing to look at a roster and see the potential. It’s another to see the group deal with adversity head on and come out winners. The Tigers did that twice in two days. They were their own worst enemy and had to overcome silly technical fouls to beat St. Louis Cardinal Ritter on Tuesday.

On Wednesday Joliet West, which was expected to be undersized, matched up against St. Rita’s twin towers of 6-10 James Brown and 6-9 Morez Johnson and 6-6 scorer Nojus Indrusaitis. The Tigers got destroyed on the boards in the first half but found a way to win late in the game. Matthew Moore, a 6-9 senior, and 6-8 junior Drew King couldn’t match St. Rita on the boards or offensively, but they blocked shots and protected the rim enough to make a major impact.

It’s obviously super early in the season. But a win like tonight’s makes me ask the question. Should Joliet West be the No. 1 team in the Super 25?

Tigers coach Jeremy Kreiger: “I believe sir, that you make the rankings. But we’re not about rankings. We’re the number one team in Joliet and that’s all we are fighting for.”

Fears: “Definitely we should be number one. In my opinion we are No. 1.”

Joliet West has a few more games in Washington this week and will face No. 3 Kenwood at the Chicago Elite Classic a week from Saturday.

Wednesday’s top games (abbreviated version because I have to drive home to Chicago). Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

New Trier 43, Loyola 35: Jake Fiegen led the Trevians with 11 and Logan Feller scored nine in the rivalry win. Miles Boland had 17 for the Ramblers, who are missing a good chunk of players still with the football team.

Young 77, Rockford Auburn 65: Dalen Davis and Daniel Johnson each scored 15 points and two freshmen made contributions. Marquis Clark scored nine and Nasir Rankin added eight points for the Dolphins.

Joliet Central 66, Minooka 59: Didn’t see any stats from the Steelmen but this is a good sign for a team that only had three wins last season. Nick Andreano had a nice game for Minooka with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Phillips 81, East Peoria 68: Breakout game in a major shootout for senior Jaheim Savage, who has been a force in the city the past three seasons. He had 31 points and 11 rebounds.

St. Paul, Cal. 53, Lincoln Park 52 OT: The Lions battled hard but couldn’t pull out the win in Washington. Myan Whitfield scored 21.

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