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TF South girls basketball’s path to earning third straight conference title – other local scores

TF SouthLANSING, Ill. (February 10, 2024) – TF South girls basketball’s path to a third straight conference title was anything but easy.

The Red Wolves lost one of their best players, high-scoring sophomore forward Gigi Dillon, with a torn ACL. And back-to-back losses to Oak Lawn and Reavis at the end of January left them three games behind then-South Suburban Blue leader TF North.

But South ended conference play — and the regular season — on a five-game winning streak to finish 10-3 in the SSC Blue and improve to 19-11 overall going into the IHSA playoffs.

The Red Wolves clinched the conference with a 91-12 romp past Eisenhower on Thursday. But arguably the biggest win in the streak was 44-42 over District 215 rival TF North Tuesday in Lansing.

Rayvan Rush scored 17 points and Cherish Boothe added 10 for South, which opened the game with a 9-0 run, fell behind 10-9 and survived a scoreless drought of more than seven minutes in the second half.

Rush’s driving layup with 54 seconds left gave the Red Wolves a 43-42 lead and she added a free throw with 35.3 seconds left for the final margin.

“I just came into this school trying to beat North every year we’ve been here and that’s what we did,” Rush said. “We came out and let the underclassmen know that this is what we wanted.”

The Battle of Burnham rivalry game was part of a boys/girls doubleheader and brought out a large, vocal crowd.

“It’s always fun when it’s loud, especially when it’s a rivalry game,” Rush said. “It’s basketball, it’s gonna be loud sometimes. That’s why we practice for these moments.”

Rush knew she’d have to step up her game with Dillon sidelined.

“It’s hard without a big,” Rush said. “A point guard without a big, it’s crazy. But we get the job done. She supports us from the bench.”

It was a big week for Rush, who solidified her college plans by signing with Southwestern Michigan, a junior college in Dowagiac.

“It’s good,” Rush said. “Not too far, not too close. It’s a good school, they’ve got a great new facility. So I’m excited.”

South coach Eric Bryce likes the way Rush has stepped up with Dillon out.

“She’s had to do more offensively,” Bryce said. “She’s embraced that, she’s shot the ball very well. She’s done a great job of shooting the 3-(pointer) a lot more, which helps set up her ability to get to the basket and drive.”

The Red Wolves also beat Bremen 59-34 on Wednesday, edged Richards 37-35 on February 3, rolled by Tinley Park 62-26 on February 1 and were edged 48-45 by Reavis on January 30.

Rush had 23 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals against Richards, Jaiden Thompson contributed nine points, two assists, and two steals, Brie Hawthorne added six points, five rebounds, and two steals, and G’yah Capers had six points and six rebounds.

Rush and Hawthorne each scored 16 vs. Tinley Park, while Thompson had 13 points. Rush also had three rebounds, three assists, and four steals, Hawthorne grabbed four rebounds and handed out two assists, and Thompson had four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Tolu Babablola contributed nine points and four rebounds.

Thompson had a double-double against Reavis, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and two blocks. Rush had 15 points, nine rebounds, five steals, and two blocks, while Hawthorne scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds, and Boothe finished with three points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

Girls bowling

The Red Wolves won their first regional since 2017 on February 3, posting a six-game total of 4,693 to beat runner-up Thornridge by 27 pins in the Rich Regional at Stardust Bowl 3 in Dyer.

TF South girls bowling won its first regional title since 2017 and qualified as a team for the sectional. (Photo provided by TF South)

Members of the regional championship team were: Trinity Kimmons, who finished fourth individually at 1,120 (186.7 average), Dazani Holmes (1,000), Khia Wilson (881), Olivia Gifford (851), Liyah Coleman (303), Pari Patel (303), and NaBreah Lee (235).

South advances to this weekend’s Stagg Sectional at Palos Lanes in Palos Hills. The top four teams and the top five individuals not on advancing teams will move on to the state tournament February 16-17 at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford.

Boys wrestling

The Red Wolves finished seventh among eight teams at the Class 3A Marist Regional on February 3 with 26 points and had no sectional qualifiers.

TF NorthTF North

Boys basketball

The Meteors won the boys’ version of the Battle of Burnham on Tuesday, pulling away in the final 2 1/2 quarters for a 51-30 win. Jaylen Blakes continued his strong play with 22 points and 12 rebounds for North.

North trailed 15-13 midway through the second period, but pulled ahead 25-19 at halftime. It was still close, with the Meteors leading 33-28, late in the third. But North outscored South 18-2 over the last 10-plus minutes to earn the easy win.

Nasir English scored nine points, Leon Cooks grabbed six rebounds and Naiem Evans had seven points and five rebounds.

Meteors coach Tim Bankston liked the way his players bounced back fading late in a loss to Oak Lawn.

“It was good to come back and watch this game where they actually executed down the stretch to put a team away instead of giving them those momentum plays to get back in the game,” Bankston said.

Besides holding South to 30 points, North took advantage of 22 Red Wolves turnovers.

“Our defense is going to have to win the games most of the time,” Bankston said.

Tyler Earmsmuth led South (9-17, 5-6 South Suburban Blue) with 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals, and two blocks.

The Meteors dropped to 13-10 overall and 8-4 in the South Suburban Blue with a 63-35 loss to conference leader Hillcrest on Thursday.

North fell 60-50 to Roseville (Mich.) on February 3 as Blakes had 24 points and Evans contributed 16 points and five rebounds.

The Meteors were edged 49-48 by Oak Lawn on February 1 despite balanced scoring from Blakes (12 points), Evans (11), and English (10).

Girls basketball

The Meteors fell 59-50 to Hillcrest on Thursday to finish tied for second in the South Suburban Blue with the Hawks at 9-4, a game behind champ TF South.

Junior guard Gabrielle McClain led North (16-14 overall) with 18 points. Sophomore guard Lauryn Jackson scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds, while junior guard Precious Agwu added 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Meteors lost 39-38 to Oak Lawn on February 1 despite Agwu’s double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Jackson had nine points and seven rebounds.

Boys wrestling

The Meteors were fourth among eight teams at the Class 2A Oak Forest Regional on February 3 and had four qualifiers for the Hinsdale South Sectional.

Moving on for North were junior Tamilore Ogundeyi (14-12, second at 126), sophomore DeShawn Jones (16-13, second at 132), junior Joseph Merritt (20-8, second at 157), and junior Keith McCoy (3-1, third at 138).

Marian CatholicMarian Catholic

Boys basketball

The Spartans avenged an earlier home loss to Notre Dame. winning 50-43 in Niles on Tuesday as Delan Davis and Zack Sharkey went a combined 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the last 27 seconds.

Jonah Weathers led Marian (19-8, 11-3 East Suburban Catholic) with 15 points, Davis scored 13, James Bullock Jr. had eight, and Sharkey finished with seven.

Marian had a 16-0 run in the third quarter and went on to beat Benet 67-60 on February 4. Four Spartans scored in double figures: Bullock (19 points), Sharkey (16), Weathers (13), and Davis (12).

Weathers scored 14 points and Adam Shorter had 11 in a 63-51 win against Nazareth on February 1. Bullock added nine points.

Girls basketball

The Spartans finished third in the East Suburban Catholic Conference at 9-3 and fell to 24-7 overall with a 49-35 loss to Benet on Wednesday. LaParis Poe and Madison Davis each scored 10 for Marian, which had a seven-game winning streak snappped.

Davis scored 13 points, Taylor Bolton had 12, Alainna Poisson contributed nine, and Poe finished with seven in a 44-27 win over Carmel on February 1.

Boys wrestling

The Spartans took sixth among eight teams at the Class 2A Oak Forest Regional on February 3 and qualified three individuals for the Hinsdale South Sectional.

Advancing for Marian were junior Richard Taylor (10-14, second at 150), junior Chase Tankson (9-9, third att 120), sophomore Jeremiah Bolar (7-13, third at 132).

Recruiting

A dozen Spartans announced their college commitments as the February signing period opened on Wednesday, including two Division I football players: Austin Alexander (Kansas) and Michael Biesboer (Valparaiso).

Other Marian football players heading off to play in college are: Maurice Davis (Northern Michigan), Paul Frazier (St. Ambrose), Joseph Garcia (St. Ambrose), Kaleb Isom (Northern Michigan), Kaiden Jensen (Aurora), Kelby Key (Northern Michigan), Carter Magerski (St. Ambrose), Caiden O’Neil (Quincy) and Zach Rhein (Rose-Hulman).

Also committing is Mitchel Stanton to Purdue Northwest for baseball.

A dozen Marian Catholic athletes finalized their college plans as the February signing period began. (Photo provided by Marian Catholic)

Illiana Christian

Boys wrestling

Carson Ulrich finished third at 150 pounds in the Crown Point Regional on February 3 to advance to this weekend’s East Chicago Central Sectional. He’s 27-3 this season.

The Vikings were 11th among 16 teams with 12.5 points.

Girls basketball

The Vikings finished 14-9 after falling 40-20 to Andrean in the Class 2A Lake Station Sectional final on February 3.

Illiana advanced to the title game with its ninth straight win, 51-32 against Bowman on February 2.

South Suburban CollegeSouth Suburban College

Men’s basketball

The Bulldogs, who moved up to No. 3 in the NJCAA Division II national rankings this week, beat Danville Area 71-53 on Tuesday for their 60th straight home win.

Sophomore guard Jemel Jones led South Suburban with 28 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and five steals. Freshman forward Quentin Heady had 13 points and eight rebounds, and the Bulldogs had a season-high 10 blocks.

SSC beat Kankakee 105-74 at home on February 1 as Jones had 36 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

Heady added a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore guard Julius Byrd had 11 points and five assists.

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Mike Clark
Mike Clarkhttps://muckrack.com/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.