PEORIA – A day after seeing its hopes for a state championship dashed, Bolingbrook’s boys basketball team closed its season with a win and a third-place trophy for the second time in the past three years.
The Raiders jumped out to an early advantage and were able to stay in front for most of the game in a 70-66 victory against Fremd in the Class 4A third-place game March 18 at Carver Arena.
“We wanted to get them up and down the floor and take advantage at the end," Bolingbrook head coach Rob Brost said. "We didn’t make the plays toward the end [March 17 in a semifinal] in the fourth quarter, and today we did.”
The game was tied 12-12 late in the first quarter when Bolingbrook kicked off a 12-3 run that turned the tide.
Tyler Cochran (11 points, six rebounds) started things with two straight baskets and assisted Malik Binns (18 points) on a layup to make it 18-12 before Fremd’s Kyle Sliwa (25 points) closed out the period with a 3-pointer.
A jumper and then two free throws by Cochran and then a Binns layup at the start of the second quarter gave the Raiders a 24-15 lead.
The Vikings got as close as 30-27 before Bolingbrook grabbed a 37-30 halftime advantage. Binns finished the half with 12 points, while Nana Akenten had nine of his 16 and Cochran added eight.
“Coming into the state tournament, our coach emphasized a lot that there’s only two teams in the state that are able to win their last game,” Akenten said. “We wanted to play in the state championship, but we fell short of that goal. We all had the same mindset and told each other that we were not going to lose our last game."
Bolingbrook (30-2) led 46-36 early in the third quarter and was up 54-47 with eight minutes left. But the Vikings got hot from three and took their lone lead of the second half, 64-63, on a trey with 2:39 left.
The Raiders moved back in front for good on two free throws by Binns with 45 seconds left. Kaleb Thornton (10 points) made two more with 15 seconds remaining to make it 67-64. Joseph Yesufu (12 points) added two free throws with eight seconds left, and Cochran sealed the victory with a late a free throw.
Simeon 60, Bolingbrook 50
The Wolverines (29-3) used a 17-7 surge in the third quarter to turn a 26-21 halftime deficit into a 38-33 advantage entering the fourth in an eventual 60-50 semifinal win.
Trailing by six points in the first minute of the final quarter, the Raiders used a 7-0 run to briefly regain the lead at 40-39 with 6:55 left.
Cochran had a rebound basket, Akenten tossed in a jumper and Yesufu connected on a 3-pointer to cap the run. Simeon stormed right back with a 13-2 run and never looked back.
Talen Horton-Tucker led Simeon with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Akenten (16 points), Binns (10 points, seven rebounds), Yesufu (nine points, six rebounds), Cochran (six points) and Kaleb Thornton (five points) led the way for the Raiders.
Lemont High School's softball team picked up an 11-6 win against Chicago Christian in its season opener March 18.
Jade Mardjetko gave up three hits in 4-1/3 innings pitched and Nian Mardjetko surrendered two hits in her 2-2/3 innings of work.
Evie Conway fueled the offense by going 2 for 4 with a double, three runs scored and two RBIs.
The Indians started their Class 3A state title defense on the right foot with three straight wins, most recently in a 6-1 win against Lockport March 21. Easton Tally drove in a pair of runs while Marcus Ambroziak and Kevin Tusher each scored twice.
Ryan Sublette and Sean Haughey combined for a no-hitter in Lemont's 7-2 win against Carmel March 19.