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Bouncing back – Tyler Earmsmuth returns to TFS basketball for his final year – other local scores

TF SouthLANSING, Ill. (January 26, 2024) – Tyler Earmsmuth’s last season of competitive basketball has had a few unexpected twists and turns, to say the least.

The senior is TF South’s best baseball player, winning team MVP honors last spring after hitting .496 with three homers, 47 RBIs, 52 runs, 18 walks and 18 steals. He also was 3-4 as a pitcher with a 31-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 4.84 ERA.

Earmsmuth’s future is in that sport as he committed to South Suburban as a center fielder. He took a big leap in baseball after what he calls “a bad sophomore year,” having skipped his junior basketball season to focus on his main sport.

But he got the itch to play basketball again this season.

“I kind of missed it after a year off,” Earmsmuth said. “I really wanted to feel that energy and that joy one more time in high school.”

But he broke the thumb on his non-throwing hand in practice and was out 10-12 weeks.

“That was my first ever big injury so it was hard to go through that, having to sit out for once,” Earmsmuth said.

But he’s back now and that’s good news for the Red Wolves.

“It’s good to have him back,” South coach Todd Gillespie said. “He’s a real point guard. He gives us ball-handling that we were missing and some good decision-making. He’s athletic, so he can run the break and finish and has a pretty good jump shot.”

“I’m more of a pass-first guard,” said Earmsmuth, who also provides length at 6-3. “I’ve always been a point guard growing up and now I’ve grown so obviously it’s like a different type of player.”

Having Earmsmuth back in the mix is big for a Red Wolves team still looking for some consistency.

South is 7-13 overall and 3-4 in the South Suburban Blue after losing 47-38 to Oak Lawn in a crossover on Tuesday.

Freshman Amari Dukes continued his strong play with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting for the Red Wolves. Cedric Tientcheu had nine points and five rebounds.

“Our problem has been getting to 50/50 balls when the ball is loose,” Gillespie said. “We need to come up with it and we have not been able to come up with it nearly enough. The other team is getting to the ball before we are and they’re getting probably 10 or 12 more possessions than we have because of that. And that’s just desire, that’s just toughness.”

Girls wrestling

The Red Wolves finished second among 14 teams in the South Suburban Tournament at Shepard on Jan. 20, scoring 113 points and winning a pair of individual titles. Oak Forest (247) won the team championship.

Taking firsts for South were Dakodia Kelly (13-7) at 105 pounds and Akayla Coopwood (6-1) at 140.

Other top placers for the Red Wolves were Abibatu Mogaih (11-5, second at 115), Quincy Onyiaorah (17-2, second at 130), Jermia Moore (17-6, third at 135), Summer Rice (15-8, fourth at 120), and Caylon Guyton (15-6, fourth at 125.

Girls basketball

The Red Wolves split a pair of South Suburban crossovers, beating Evergreen Park 51-32 on Jan. 18 and falling 43-34 to Oak Lawn on Tuesday.

Rayvan Rush led South (14-10, 5-2 SSC Blue) against Evergreen Park, finishing with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Also contributing were Jaiden Thompson (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals) and Asia Haynes (7 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals).

Against Oak Lawn, Thompson had a team-high nine points and five rebounds. G’yah Capers added eight points and eight rebounds and Rush finished with six points, three rebounds, and two blocks. Brie Hawthorne contributed five points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Girls bowling

The Red Wolves moved to 12-1 with a 1,449-1,204 win against Eisenhower on Tuesday.

Olivia Gifford had the high game (164) for South, while she and Khia Wilson tied for high series at 305. Trinity Kimmons (291) and Dazani Holmes (287) also contributed.

South defeated Shepard 1,725-1,220 on Jan. 18 behind big days from Kimmons (179-250–429) and Holmes (203-192–395). Gifford added a 310 series and Liyah Coleman had a 173 game.

The Red Wolves suffered their first loss of the season, 1,768-1,628 against Richards on Jan. 17.

Leading South were Holmes (225-159—384), Kimmons (133-224—357) and Gifford (138-167—305).

Competitive cheerleading

The Red Wolves finished third among seven teams in the South Suburban Blue Tournament on Jan. 19.

TF NorthTF North

Boys basketball

The Meteors improved to 10-6 overall and 6-2 in the SSC Blue with a 69-46 crossover win against Richards on Thursday.

Leading the way for North, which has won five of its last six games, were Jaylen Blakes with 20 points and seven rebounds, Nasir English with 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals, and Naiem Evans with 11 points and four rebounds.

The Meteors also lost 68-57 to Evergreen Park on Tuesday and defeated Bremen 66-37 on Jan. 18.

Blakes scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds against Evergreen Park, Leon Cooks had nine points and four rebounds, and Jayden King added nine points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Against Bremen, North was paced by Blakes (20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals), Dequan Barker (11 points), Cooks (10 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), and English (12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists).

Girls basketball

The Meteors remained perfect in the South Suburban Blue at 9-0 and moved to 16-10 overall with a 62-47 crossover win against Richards on Thursday.

Junior guard Gabrielle McClain led North with 20 points and four rebounds. Also contributing were sophomore guard Lauryn Jackson with 17 points and five rebounds, junior forward Precious Agwu with 13 points and seven rebounds, and junior guard Alana Dotson with 10 points.

North coasted past Evergreen Park 50-13 on Tuesday as Jackson scored 19 points and McClain had 12.

The Meteors slipped past Shepard 46-44 on Jan. 22, getting 17 points and three rebounds from McClain and a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds from Agwu.

North beat Bremen 43-40 on Jan. 18 as Agwu had another double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. McClain scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds.

Girls wrestling

Ashley Zaragoza is 6-3 after finishing fourth at 190 pounds in the South Suburban Tournament at Shepard on Jan. 18. North tied for 12th among 14 teams with 10 points.
Girls bowling

The Meteors picked up a 1,342-1,318 win over Bremen on Thursday, lost 1,424-1,329 to Argo on Tuesday and fell 1,422-1,158 to Evergreen Park on Jan. 18.

Marian CatholicMarian Catholic

Boys basketball

The Spartans opened a 15-point lead after three quarters and coasted home with a 69-56 East Suburban Catholic win against Joliet Catholic on Wednesday.

Jonah Weathers led Marian (14-7, 7-2 ESCC) with a game-high 21 points, James Bullock Jr. scored 16 and Zack Sharkey had eight.

The Spartans outscored St. Patrick 12-2 from the foul line en route to a 52-46 ESCC win on Tuesday.

Weathers scored a game-high 21 points for Marian, Bullock had nine and Terrell Morton added eight.

Girls basketball

Marian led 15-6 after one quarter and went on to beat Marist 54-42 on Tuesday as Alainna Poisson scored 14 points. Taylor Bolton had nine points, one more than LaParis Poe.

The Spartans rode an 11-0 fourth-quarter run to a 48-43 ESCC victory against Carmel on Jan. 17. Madison Davis hit two key free throws late and scored 20 points, Poe had 12 points and Bolton added nine.

Davis scored 17 and Bolton had 11 points as Marian beat St. Viator 61-37 in ESCC action on Jan. 16.

Illiana Christian

Girls basketball

The Vikings (12-8) wrapped up the regular season with their seventh straight win, 53-14 over Victory Christian on Thursday.

Illiana edged Kouts 44-41 on Wednesday as Sienna Eenigenburg hit two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Abbie Ritzema scored 12 points, while Eenigenburg, Ella Olthof, and Cheyenne DeJong had eight points each.

The Vikings defeated Calumet 66-29 on Jan. 16 behind the scoring of Ritzema (17 points), Avery Olthof (13 points), DeJong (12 points), and Ella Olthof (8 points).

South Suburban CollegeSouth Suburban College

Men’s basketball

The NJCAA Division II No. 5 Bulldogs (20-2) extended their home winning streak to 57 games with a 111-76 win against Olive-Harvey on Thursday.

Sophomore Jemel Jones, who transferred from Olive-Harvey to SSC, had a triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists against his former team. Five more Bulldogs scored in double figures: Quentin Heady (17 points), Chris Harrison (13), Julius Byrd (11), Tremear Fraley (10), and LaQuan Washington (10).

South Suburban beat Joliet 92-54 on Tuesday as Jones had a double-double of 32 points and 15 rebounds. Heady added 15 points and six rebounds, while Kenton Wright scored 13.
In a matchup of top-10 nationally ranked teams, the Bulldogs lost 84-77 at Milwaukee Tech on Jan. 20.

Jones scored 19, Heady had 17 points and Wright finished with 13. The defeat dropped SSC to 7-2 against nationally ranked opponents this season.

South Suburban beat nationally ranked Bryant & Stratton (Wis.) 93-81 in overtime on Jan. 17. Jones had 36 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, while Heady had a double-double of a career-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. Byrd contributed 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists for the Bulldogs, who scored the first seven points of overtime.

SSC cruised past Bosco Institute (Ind.) 124-58 on Jan. 16 as Jones scored a career-high 56 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had four steals. Also hitting double figures were Heady (21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals), Reggie Abram (20 points), Byrd (12 points), and Fraley (10 points).


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.