- Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 10:13
- Written by Bobby Leach "The Rooster"
- Category: Sports News
Joliet West (17-10) ended their season last Friday night in Harvey after Thornton (12-15) held off a late surge by the Tigers in the Class 4A regional title game 45-41. The Tigers trailed by one at the half and that difference proved to be enough as Joliet simply couldn't get the big shot when they needed down the stretch missing a couple lay ups in the lane and one big Marlon Johnson dunk that clanged of the back of the rim with 27 seconds to play for the tie.
"I have to give Joliet credit, they took the momentum when Eddie fouled out and went on a run at the right time," said Thornton coach Troy Jackson. "We were fortunate to get to the line and knock down our shots there to close out the win."
Tiger junior Morris Dunnigan led West with 16 points and has come on strong this season to establish his leadership role for next year however after the loss Dunnigan was staying in the moment. "It's hard ending our season like this," said Dunnigan. "This was a great team and I just feel our season ended too soon. I will definately use this loss as a lesson and work hard over the summer to get another chance next season to go make a deeper run."
Senior center Marlon Johnson finished his high flying career at West with 13 points and 9 boards in the loss but has left his mark on the storied program as one of the best big men to come up through Joliet's basketball family.
For head coach Luke Yaklich who led his team to eight more wins than only a season before, has plenty to be positive about despite the heartbreaking loss. As they say there is always a silver lining and for the Tigers it isn't hard to see it. Coming back next season will be a well seasoned group of varsity veterans starting with Dunnigan and three other two-year varsity players Ryan Modiest, Carl Terrell and Brandon McCullum all of which will be impact players on which to build.