It's All Over But the Crying—Marian Ousts Joliet West in 4A Sectional
Marian Catholic 65, Joliet West 54: Tyler Ulis scored a game-high 16 points and also took care of the basketball as the Spartans toppled the Tigers in a semifinal game at the Class 4A Thornton Sectional on Wednesday night.
The Skinny: Tyler Ulis performed like a magician with a basketball in his hands—now you see him, now you don’t. Joshua Cohn played a game of 3-ball.
And Ki-Jana Crawford and John Oliver teamed up to help Marian Catholic beat Joliet West at its own game—defense.
Crawford and Oliver limited Joliet West’s Morris Dunnigan to one shot and two points—those coming on free throws—in the second half of Marian Catholic’s 65-54 victory over the Tigers in a semifinal game Wednesday at the Class 4A Thornton Sectional in Harvey.
Ulis broke down Joliet West’s defense with his dribble-penetration and scored a game-high 16 points to pace the Spartans. When he wasn’t scoring, he was dishing the ball off to one of his teammates for a basket or a foul and controlling the game by himself.
Patch’s MVP: Tyler Ulis, 5-10, junior, guard, Marian Catholic. Ulis scored a game-high 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He also dished out three assists and ran the show for the Spartans.
Key Moments: After Joliet West closed within 16-12 on a basket by Alias Roberts-Burnett off a feed from Morris Dunnigan, Marian used a 13-6 spurt to open a double-digit lead in the second quarter. Ulis capped the run with a hanging runner at the 2:41 mark to give the Spartans a 28-18 lead. Joshua Cohn sank three 3-pointers in the second quarter, including one a the buzzer, on his way to a 14-point effort.
Joliet West Leaders: Brandon McCullum (13 points, 11 rebounds), Morris Dunnigan (12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists), Carl Terrell (10 points), LeJon Wise (8 points, 10 rebounds).
Marian Catholic Leaders: Tyler Ulis (16 points, 3 assists), Ki-Jana Crawford (13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals), Joshua Cohn (14 points, three 3-pointers), Terrone Parham Jr. (13 points, 4 rebounds).
Quotable I: “We were just trying to get Morris Dunnigan out of the game and No. 3 (Joliet West's Carl Terrell) and make some of their role players score,” Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis said. “We wanted to try and make some of them beat us not let their leading scorers beat us.”
Quotable II: “We wanted him to put the ball on the floor,” Marian Catholic’s Ki-Jana Crawford said, referring to the Spartans’ defensive strategy on Dunnigan. “We knew if he put the ball on the floor, the other guys weren’t most likely going to get it back. So, we wanted him to have the ball most of the game and just guard off of him and help off of him and get out to their other shooters.”
Quotable III: “I love these guys like sons,” Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. “We have spent an incredible amount of time together—in good times on the court, after tough losses, but the most enjoyable times have been at the restaurants, the times in the hotel at Pontiac and the times on the practice floor. I’m blessed to coach a special group of seven (seniors) that have given everything we’ve ever asked them to do. I’m really proud of them.”
Quotable IV: “I just told the kids—I think Crawford and Oliver set the tone tonight defensively,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. “And, on a night when we weren’t really very good offensively, they set the tone, and I think we wore Dunnigan down. He was tired in that fourth quarter.”
Team Records: Marian Catholic is 28-3—the 28 victories a school single-season record. Joliet West finishes 19-8. The Tigers won their first regional championship since 1992-93.
What’s Next: Marian Catholic faces Stagg or Bloom Township at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Thornton Sectional championship game.