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Joliet West's Allias Roberts-Burnett (30) puts a shot up between Rich Central's Jamaal Murray (24) and Chadrick White (42) during their regional basketball game in Lockport Tuesday, February 26, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
The stats sheet shows Joliet West’s 6-7 senior center Andre Hardy with all of four points.
But nobody made a bigger impact in the Tigers’ 67-42 victory over Rich Central Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Class 4A Lockport Regional.
Hardy grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked five shots and altered a multitude of shots with his presence as No. 4 seed Joliet West (18-7) advanced to Friday’s regional final against the winner of the T.F. North-Joliet Central game.
“We couldn’t score. The 6-7 guy (Hardy) put fear in our minds,” Rich Central coach Bobby Smith said.
“Andre was the MVP for us defensively,” West coach Luke Yaklich said of Hardy. “I was really impressed with his focus.”
Yaklich said Hardy was on a mission. After 6-4 senior forward Jamaal Murray netted 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Olympians (11-15) in Monday’s victory over Washington, “Andre told me he wasn’t going to let (Murray) beat us, and he did what he said he would,” Yaklich noted.
“The big fella has come a long way in two years. He understands his role, what he does well. He screens, rebounds and drops the ball off.”
Murray finished with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting. Senior guard Keith Williams led Central with 17 points, almost exclusively on acrobatic drives down the lane.
“Keith Williams had a great tournament,” Smith said.
West senior guard Morris Dunnigan, who scored all of his 19 points in the second and third quarters, keyed a 9-0 run early in the third quarter that put the game out of reach at 45-26. Senior forward Brandon McCullum contributed 12 points and nine boards and senior guard Ryan Modiest scored 11.
West senior guard Carl Terrell scored seven early points before suffering a right thigh injury and played sparingly. Yaklich said he will be ready to go Friday.
“I’ve known coach Yaklich for a few years now and his teams are well coached,” Smith said. “We came a long way this year, but we still have a lot of work to do. I wish we had some of our guys one more year.”