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Jaiden Thompson helps lead strong season for TFS girls basketball

Plus scores from TFS, TFN, Marian Catholic, Illiana, and South Suburban College

By Mike Clark

TF South

LANSING, Ill. (January 28, 2023) – You’d never know it from watching Jaiden Thompson confidently glide down the court and be a difference maker for TF South, but she’s something of an accidental basketball player.

Thompson went to Brookwood Middle School in Glenwood and originally was a cheerleader. But, she said, “they didn’t have enough people so I had to do basketball.”

It didn’t take long for the game to win her heart.

“I was taller than everybody else, so I could easily score,” said Thompson, who is now 5-foot-11.

Junior Jaiden Thompson is one of the leaders of a TF South girls basketball team that has set a program record with 24 wins. (Photo: Mike Clark)

She’s still scoring easily as a junior leader for one of the best teams in TF South history. Fresh off winning the program’s first conference title since 1979 last season, South has blown past the program’s old record for wins (21). The Red Wolves beat visiting Thornridge 61-34 on Saturday for their eighth straight victory, pushing their record to 24-4 with three regular-season games remaining.

They’re one of three South Suburban Blue teams with one league loss. The others are Lemont, which South beat in December, and Oak Forest, whom they play on the road in the regular-season finale on Feb. 7.

Thompson and the Red Wolves haven’t lost since a 72-21 defeat against Marian Catholic in the Hillcrest Holiday Classic semifinals on Dec. 28. The loss didn’t linger though; South beat Public League power Phillips 53-42 the next day in the third-place game, avenging an earlier 53-51 loss.

The Red Wolves refocused after the Marian loss, according to Thompson.

“After that outcome, people started looking at us like we’re not a top 10 team (in the south suburbs),” she said.

She knows there also were doubters after last season’s conference-title run, so the goal is just to keep proving it on the court.

“I feel like the program is going up,” Thompson said. “Last year, everybody thought it was a fluke. So we’re just proving everybody wrong.”

The remarkable thing about the Red Wolves’ rise is that they’re still exceptionally young. Only one senior — Micaela Thomas — started on Saturday, and there are only two seniors on the roster. Other impact players include freshman Gigi Dillon, sophomore Tariya Wright, and juniors Rayvan Rush and Katlynn Williams-Clark. Two more juniors who were projected to be significant contributors, Markeyta Nelson and Cherish Boothe, are currently sidelined by injuries. But that hasn’t slowed the South train.

“We just keep coming out here and winning games,” Thompson said. “And it’s only up from here.”

Wright scored a game-high 19 points in the win over Thornridge. She also had 18 points and 11 steals in Thursday’s 82-18 victory against Tinley Park.

Williams-Clark added 14 points in that game, while Dillon had 10 points, 16 rebounds, and four assists. The Red Wolves started the week with a 65-36 win over Reavis on Tuesday.

Boys basketball

The Red Wolves (12-12, 6-4 South Suburban Blue) rolled to a 77-41 win at Reavis on Tuesday and lost 68-49 at Tinley Park on Friday.

Marqell Wilson scored 23 points, Sam Townsend had 14, and Caleb Newman added 12 against Reavis.

Girls bowling

The Red Wolves (8-5) beat Shepard 1,601–1,486 on Jan. 19 and defeated Eisenhower 1,484-1,229 on Tuesday.

Glory Ike rolled a career-high 246 game against Shepard and had the high series at 391. Abby Kleidon had a 341 series.

Kleidon had the high game (177) and series (347) against Eisenhower.

TF NorthTF North

Boys basketball

The Meteors are 16-4 overall and 8-1 in the South Suburban Blue after falling 52-46 at Lemont on Tuesday and beating Oak Lawn 67-60 at home on Thursday.

Chase Abraham scored 34 points against Oak Lawn, while Jevon Warren added 18 points and seven rebounds.

Abraham had 16 points, and Warren scored 11 against Lemont.

Marian Catholic

Marian Catholic

Boys basketball

Tre Davis scored 19 points, Zack Sharkey had 15, and Jonah Weathers added 14 as the Spartans knocked off Joliet Catholic 57-49 on Friday to improve to 19-6 overall and 8-4 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.

On Tuesday, Marian beat St. Viator 50-28 as Sharkey scored 16 and James Bullock added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Girls basketball

The Spartans opened play in the East Suburban Catholic Conference Tournament with a 46-37 win over Marist on Saturday.

Madison Davis led Marian (23-5) with 20 points, and Khamille Jackson scored 11.

Marian (23-5, 3-3 ESCC) also beat St. Viator 62-35 on Tuesday behind 20 points from Davis, 13 from Alainna Poisson, and 11 from Taylor Bolton.

The Spartans fell 47-26 to state top-ranked Nazareth on Wednesday. Poisson scored a team-high eight points.

Illiana Christian

Boys basketball

Luke Van Essen scored 24 points as the Vikings held off Bowman 57-50 on Wednesday. Zeke Van Essen added 12 points.

Illiana (12-2) also beat Victory Christian 60-48 on Friday to push its winning streak to 11 games.

Girls basketball

The Vikings wrapped up the regular season with a 43-13 win over Victory Christian on Thursday as every player who saw action scored.

Illiana (9-11), which also lost 73-13 to Kouts on Tuesday, opens Class 2A Sectional 33 play against Bowman at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Andrean.

South Suburban College

South Suburban College

Men’s basketball

Nakyel Shelton had his 14th double-double of the season, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, as the NJCAA Division II No, 6 Bulldogs beat Olive-Harvey 85-60.

Damontae Taylor added 21 points, seven rebounds, and six steals for SSC (18-3). Jalen Houston contributed 18 points and six steals.

Mike Clark
Mike Clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.