Joliet West isn’t the biggest team around, but the Tigers still managed to get into the paint Tuesday against Thornridge.
Elliot Fizer scored 14 points, Mike Ruwoldt added 11 off the bench and Joliet West ripped off its fourth consecutive win with a 65-59 victory against host Thornridge in a SouthWest Suburban crossover.
The Tigers (4-1) used an assertive dribble-drive attack to get to the rim and open rebounding lanes to overcome a three-point deficit at the half. It was a stark contrast from the opening quarter when West looked tentative to put it on the floor.
“In the three games we won, we played aggressively,” West coach Nick Diforti said. “We received lots of contributions (Tuesday). The bench came in and picked it up for the starters.”
West scored the game’s first five points before Thornridge answered with a 15-0 run capped by Victor Trout’s three-point play. Diforti went to his bench and West responded with seven consecutive points, including a nifty reverse layup from Ruwoldt.
“The bench came out real hard because we knew that the starters weren’t getting it done,” Ruwoldt “They usually do, but we always got their back.”
Ruwoldt and Denzel Leslie (eight points) paced a bench mob that scored 26 points.
“We got too fast in what we were trying to do and we were very selfish,” Thornridge coach Scott Alderson said. “We’ve got to be more disciplined. We refused to box out and go grab the ball.”
Darrion Robinson put up game-highs with 16 points and seven rebounds for Thornridge (1-4). Carly Henry added 11 points for the Falcons.
“Darrion is our workhorse, so we need to try to look to get him the ball,” Alderson said. “But again, we were selfish (Tuesday).”
Thornridge managed to get within a point on four separate occassions in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers put things away by hitting nine of their last 10 free throws.
D’Anthony Wright added 10 points for the Tigers and went 4-for-4 from the line in the final frame.