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The early portion of the fourth quarter was a bit of a nightmare for Joliet Central.
But other than that, the Steelmen were real-world winners Friday afternoon in the consolation semifinals of the Rich South McDipper, beating Leo 71-58.
“In my opinion, those are the best three quarters we have put together,” Central coach Jeff Corcoran said. “We dictated tempo and got the shots we wanted.”
The Steelmen (8-4) were leading 62-40 early in the fourth quarter when Corcoran gave his reserves a shot. Leo (1-6) went on a 15-0 run to get within 62-55, but junior guard Jonah Coble returned with the rest of the starters and scored the final nine Central points to salt it away.
“Our subs have to execute, too,” Corcoran said. “It was a credit to our starters that when Leo had the momentum going their way, they were able to come back and in and put us in control again.”
Central led only 15-13 after one quarter before exploding for 26 points in the second quarter to lead 41-26. Coble scored 10 points in the second quarter and 21 in the game. Senior guard Jalen Heath chipped in with 20 points and for the second straight night contributed nine rebounds.
Senior point guard Eddie McElrath added 11 points and ran the show.
“Eddie is playing now like the point guard we want him to be,” Corcoran said.
The Steelmen earned the right to meet SouthWest Suburban Blue adversary Bolingbrook in the consolation final at noon Saturday. The Raiders (9-3) used a balanced attack to down shorthanded Phillips 78-61.
“The consolation final isn’t where we wanted to be. We stubbed our toe against King (in the opening round), but they’re good,” Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said.
Kenneth Williams scored 20 points, Kendall Guyton 15 and Ben Moore and Prentiss Nixon 12 apiece for the Raiders.
“This was the third straight game with four guys in double figures,” Brost said.
“We’re a good team when we’re not turning it over.”
Phillips, meanwhile, had only five players in uniform for the first half, and a sixth showed up just as halftime was ending.