Scores from TFS, Marian Catholic, Illiana, and SSC
By Mike Clark
LANSING, Ill. (February 21, 2023) – Cortez Jones came up just shy of winning a state medal, but his impact on the TF South wrestling program will live on.
That’s the view of Red Wolves coach Andre Richmond, who talked about Jones’ legacy Saturday after the senior 285-pounder was eliminated from the IHSA Class 3A state tourney at State Farm Center in Champaign.
Jones, who will be playing football next season at defending NCAA Division III national champ North Central, went 2-2 at state. He finished in the top eight of his 16-man bracket; the top six at each weight win medals.
He scored pins against Round Lake’s William Cole and Hampshire’s Joey Ochoa, and lost decisions to eventual fourth-place finisher Wyatt Schmidt of Joliet West and eventual fifth-place finisher Austin Barrett of St. Charles East.
Richmond noted the effort Jones — who finished 13-4 — put in just to get on the mat.
“This year he dropped 30 pounds just to get to the weight class,” Richmond said.
Jones won conference and regional titles before earning a trip to state by finishing third at the sectional.
“He fought hard this whole year,” Richmond said. “Probably the most athletic person (at 285) in this whole tournament.”
Richmond hopes the younger Red Wolves will take note of Jones’ work ethic and follow his path to postseason success in the future.
“They know now in the wrestling room — he’s pushed every kid,” Richmond said. “At least everybody knows now what it takes to get down here and how hard you’ve got to work. ‘You want to make it this far? This is what you’ve got to do.'”
Some wrestlers are awed by the atmosphere at State Farm Center, where matches are going on simultaneously on six mats and many fans are right on top of the action. Jones was able to keep his wits about him, though.
“I’m nervous every match,” he said on Friday. “But as soon as you step on the mat, like when you step on the football field, it goes away.”
Also qualifying for state was Marian Catholic sophomore Joey Baranski. He finished 30-13 after losing a pair of decisions in the Class 2A 138-pound bracket.
The Spartans won their sixth consecutive IHSA regional title by beating Crete-Monee 39-16 on Thursday in a Class 3A final at Thornton.
Madison Davis paced Marian (26-7) with 17 points and Taylor Bolton added 12. It was the 25th regional title in program history.
Marian plays Kankakee at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Hillcrest Sectional semifinals.
With his future college coach at Cal Poly in attendance, Quentin Jones scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds as the Spartans beat De La Salle 50-42 on Thursday.
Donovan Juzang had 10 points and Tre Jones added nine for the Spartans, who open postseason play at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Richards in the Class 3A Ag. Science Regional semifinals.
In a matchup of Greater South Shore Conference unbeatens, the Vikings fell behind 8-0 at the start and dropped a 57-53 home decision to Lake Station.
Andy Spoelman had 18 points and Luke Van Essen added 16 for Illiana (16-4, 6-1 GSSC).
South Suburban College
The Bulldogs wrapped up another perfect home schedule by cruising past Southeast Missouri Prep 102-68 on Thursday.
NJCAA Division II No. 5 South Suburban (24-4) was 17-0 on its home court this season, stretching its winning streak there to 40 games. Coach John Pigatti’s home record is 268-15.
Leading the way in Thursday’s win were Nakyel Shelton with 23 points, Jalen Houston with 22, Damontae Taylor with 18, and TF South graduate Christian Heffner with 10.
The Bulldogs opened their season over the weekend by going 4-0. They beat Vincennes (Ind.) 15-12 and Frontier 21-0 on Saturday, before defeating Marian Ancilla (Ind.) 16-9 and Frontier 13-4 on Sunday.
Shane Jones went 2-for-4 with five RBIs and Nicholas Johnstone was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs vs. Vincennes. Dylan Duguay added two hits, three runs and two RBIs, while Donovan Noble drove in two runs and scored two more.
Bradley White was 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs in Saturday’s win over Frontier. Connor Wong drove in three runs and Duguay homered.
Johnstone led the way against Marian Ancilla, going 3-for-4 with two runs, two triples and five RBIs. Scott Hansen went 2-for-3 and scored four runs.
Hansen was 3-for-3 with four RBIs Sunday against Frontier, Duguay went 2-for-4 with three runs and winning pitcher Dalton Alford homered, drove in five runs and scored twice.
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