BOLINGBROOK – The Bolingbrook boys basketball team figured to have a good test on its hands when it played Joliet Central at home on Tuesday in a nonconference game.
While the Steelmen were able to put up a good battle in the opening half, the Raiders started to take control in the third quarter and wound up capturing a 70-40 victory over the Steelmen to improve to 12-3 on the season.
After leading, 34-24, at halftime, the Raiders outscored Central, 17-8, in the third quarter to take a 51-32 lead and they continued to add to it from there, setting the table for a stretch of four games in a five-day span from Friday to next Tuesday.
“Overall, I’m happy with how we played, but I’m not satisfied,” Raiders coach Rob Brost said. “We have a gauntlet of games coming up and have five games in seven days. Step one is accomplished now, and we got to Homewood-Flossmoor and then Evanston, Morgan Park and Joliet West, so it doesn’t get any easier.
“Joliet Central is a good team for a reason. Coach [Lawrence] Thompson does a great job. We’re playing all of these teams for a reason, and we go to all of these events for a reason. We feel like we obviously have work to do. But on the other hand, we feel like we can compete with anybody. So we’ll come to practice and get better tomorrow.”
The Raiders started to take control when they used an 8-0 run to open the second quarter. Joseph Yesufu (20 points) made a layup and Kam Leonard (15 points, 12 rebounds) followed with two baskets to put them up, 22-13, and the Steelmen (10-6) didn’t get any closer than seven points after that.
“That’s a very good basketball team,” Steelmen coach Lawrence Thompson Jr. said. “They’re well- coached and play for each other and share the basketball. They’re more fundamentally sound than people give them credit for. When they attack the basket, they’re not attacking for their own, but to get someone else the ball. The credit goes to them, we were outplayed and outcoached, and they did a much better job than we did.
“The biggest thing is that we have competitive spirit and fight, but don’t always make the right decisions. We didn’t hang our heads, but they took it to us. The biggest issue is that I have to get our kids to be better fundamentally.”
Other leaders for the Raiders were Tyler Cochran (nine points, 10 rebounds) and Darius Burford (six points). The Steelmen were paced by Kendrick Williams (10 points) and Dakoda Joachim (seven points).
“My teammates were definitely looking for me, and we pushed the tempo, and we played as a team and got the ‘W,’ ” Leonard said. “Coach doesn’t want to give us an easy schedule, so we’re definitely prepared. The next few games are going to be real tough. My team is based on playing together with each other since we have a strong bond.”