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By Mike Sandrolini
This year’s annual hoops showdown between Proviso East and Proviso West’s boys and girls squads featured two competitive games, even though eventual winners of both contests—the Pirates—held comfortable leads over the Panthers heading into the fourth quarter.
To their credit, both the Panther girls and boys teams battled back during the final period to make a game out of it, but the Lady Pirates prevailed 75-69 in the opening matchup early last Saturday afternoon, while the Pirate boys held off the Panthers, 74-64.
The Lady Pirates (17-5) stormed out to a 23-11 first-quarter lead, led 37-25 at intermission and took a commanding 58-37 advantage going into the final quarter against the Panthers, thanks to Daliyah Brown, who sank two free throws and converted on a three-point play over the final 1:01 of the third (she scored 11 of her team-high 26 points in that quarter).
The Panthers, though, started the fourth quarter with a 17-5 run—nine of those points coming via the three-pointer as Myra Thomas (22 points) and Mariah Reed sank a combined three treys (with Reed hitting two during that stretch). That cut the Pirates’ lead to 63-55.
Shortly thereafter, foul trouble caught up with the Pirates. Starters Kemari Rimmer (13 points), Kolbi Powell and Nachelle Rouse each had four fouls; Rouse fouled out with 4:29 to go and Powell fouled out with 2:29 left.
The Panthers (19-7) pulled to within five points of the Pirates late in the game, 70-65, on a Mariah Henry basket, but a steal and bucket from Brown with 44 seconds left increased the Pirates’ lead to 72-65.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” said East coach Ezra PridGeon Jr. “We thought they were going to make that run early in the third quarter, but then they made their run in the fourth quarter on us. We’ve just got to do a better job of covering the shooters and recognizing who the shooters are.”
The Panthers’ Tanesha Walker led all scorers with 27 points, tallying 11 in the fourth quarter. Kyla Richardson scored 10 points for the Pirates.
“We started the game off making a lot of improvised passes,” said West coach Marques Hatch. “Just a lot of box-outs and things like that, but like we’ve talked about all season, never giving up and we fought our way back into the game. However, the hole we dig ourselves was a little too deep to get out of today.”
The Panthers also put themselves in a hole by missing 18 free throws. They were 16 of 33 from the line for the game.
“If you miss 18 free throws and you turn the ball over, you’re not going to beat anybody,” Hatch said.
The Panthers and Pirates faced off again on Wednesday night. Since they won their respective divisional championships in the West Suburban Conference, they played for the conference title that evening.
The Pirates got some bad news last week, learning that Caprice Hairston—a starting forward last year who tore her ACL last summer—was not given medical clearance to play, and thus, won’t be available for the playoffs.
The Pirates threatened to pull away in the third quarter with a 13-0 run—highlighted by a rim-rattling dunk from Jordan Morris, who scored seven straight points during that run. They opened up a 53-35 lead toward the end of the quarter and led 55-41 going into the fourth.
But like the Panthers’ girls team, the boys put together a comeback effort over the final eight minutes.
Iziah Saddler, a junior who didn’t play at all during the first half, tallied 12 second-half points—10 in the fourth quarter alone—including two free throws with 3:28 to go that put the Panthers within striking distance of Pirates, 63-57.
“He’s learning to play the game,” said Panthers coach Michael Ingram of Saddler. “Unfortunately he hasn’t played much in the last three years so he’s trying to get back into the swing of things.”
However, the Panthers committed some key turnovers over the final three minutes and succumbed to their District 209 rival.Jaelon Hood, who totaled eight points, upped the Pirates’ lead to 65-57 with a steal and layup. An inside basket from Tyler Chisom, the Pirates’ leading scorer with 16, and Trevor Moore’s three-pointer catapulted them to a 70-57 edge that sealed the Panthers’ fate. Moore finished with 13 points, while Quinlan Bennett netted 14, including a dunk in the fourth quarter.
“We’re still a work in progress,” said Pirates coach Donnie Boyce. “I thought we did a terrible job once we got the lead of kind of relaxing and letting them back into the game. But this is what this neighborhood rivalry game is about. You’ve got to play with intensity.
“You’ve got to give a tip of your hat to West; I thought they came in with a great game plan and early on they pressed us. Normally we do the pressing and they put us on our heels.”
“Unfortunately we did not have good guard play the entire game,” said Ingram, whose team committed 26 turnovers. “Our free throws were good, we rebounded well, our defense was good. And we started (the game) real well. We just have to deal with our turnovers. I didn’t see that coming. I did not see my guards having that many turnovers.”
The Panthers dominated the Pirates at the start of the game, taking a 10-3 lead with 6-7 Elijah Gibson’s steal and dunk the noteworthy play of that sequence. Gipson led all scorers with 17 points, and teammate Ronnie Allgood had 10.
West (9-9) has three West Suburban Silver contests this week: at Downers North (played Tuesday), at Lyons Township (Friday night) and hosting Glenbard West on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.
East (11-10) visits Addison Trail Wednesday night—the only game on its schedule this week.