MORRIS – For the last two seasons, Bolingbrook's boys basketball team has entered the Morris Boys Shootout with a target on its backs, being hailed as one of the tourney favorites.
The Raiders did not win the title in either one of their previous tournament appearances, so entering this summer's event with not nearly as much fanfare was just fine with Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost.
"The last two years, we were one of the big dogs coming in here," Brost said. "We didn't win either year. This year, we are coming in a bit under the radar, and that's something I like."
After Bolingbrook's showing at the shootout, it's likely they'll be wearing the targets on their backs the next time they play in the event.
The Raiders opened with a 58-21 win over Coal City, then beat Galesburg, 52-49, before dumping Ottawa, 59-45. And those results came without their starting center.
"We didn't have Julian Torres, our 6-foot-9 center," Brost said. "He's playing with the Puerto Rican Junior National Team this summer. He's been gone all summer, so we have had to get used to him not being here. You don't just find 6-9 kids walking around to fill in for a guy like that."
What the Raiders do have is a backcourt that is the envy of most. Between Prentiss Nixon, a Colorado State recruit, and Broderic Thomas, Bolingbrook can match up with just about anyone.
"What was good about [the shootout] is that Prentiss was hurt the first week or so of summer and Broderic has been hurt up until now," Brost said. "This is the first time they have been totally healthy together, and they are a very good 1-2 combo.
"We also have Devon Sams, who has been playing very well this summer, as well as Zach Grady on the post. Also, Demitri Akenten has done a real good job on the glass for us."
As a coach, Brost has a discerning eye when it comes to his team and is always looking for ways for his squad to improve. He saw things he liked and things he didn't like during the shootout.
"We know we didn't shoot the ball very well [in our first three games]," Brost said. "But we did share it well, and that way we were able to get some easy buckets."
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