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Joliet Central got a nice bounce-back after its first SouthWest Suburban Conference loss of the season, and it started immediately.
The Steelmen scored the first nine points Friday and were in control for all but a small part of a 62-49 home win over Lockport.
“Anytime we play Lockport it’s almost the same thing as playing (Joliet) West as far as the rivalry goes,” Joliet Central coach Jeff Corcoran said. “It was good we were able to jump on them 9-0 early with pressure. But after that we had to claw for everything we got.”
Jalen Heath had five of the first nine points and led the Steelmen (9-6, 4-1) with 19.
Lockport, which has played only three home games, looked like it was going to get run out of another visiting gym. The Porters burned a timeout 66 seconds into the game and had four turnovers before scoring near the midway point of the opening quarter.
Lockport answered with its best stretch of the game and took a 12-11 lead, but the Porters (5-11, 3-3) had too many offensive droughts. That included going scoreless the first 5:55 of the second quarter when they had six turnovers and fell behind by eight.
Joliet Central’s best offense was triggered by second chances. The Steelmen scored seven of their 11 second-quarter points after offensive rebounds. That allowed them to open a 24-14 lead with 1:17 left in the first half.
“We know we’re going to be smaller than just about everybody, so we’re going to have to work a lot harder,” said Corcoran, whose starters are all under 6-foot. “We did a great job of being able to get second-chance points.”
John Campbell had 21 points and nine rebounds for Lockport.
Jarvis Northington and Eddie McElrath scored 12 points each for Joliet Central.