Illinois High School Basketball: Johnsburg Tournament Opens
The beginning of boys’ basketball season came on Tuesday night with the Johnsburg/Richmond-Burton Thanksgiving Tournament getting underway. I was at the games in Johnsburg with a doubleheader of action.
In the opening game, the Grant Bulldogs allowed an 11-point third quarter lead to slip down to just two before dispatching the Harlem Huskies 70-63. It was a back and forth first half with Grant holding a 19-15 lead after one quarter and holding on to a 31-30 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs would then charge ahead on the strength of a 19-11 third quarter to take a 50-41 lead into the final quarter of play. Grant would extend their lead in the fourth quarter before Harlem chipped away to pull within 64-61 with just 45 seconds to go but couldn’t tie the game. Rayvon Jones had 17 points to lead Grant while Tom Blanchette added 16 points. Harlem was led by Justin Vanwambeke’s 19 points while Safarii Hunt had 17.
The nightcap saw a slow start by both the host Johnsburg Skyhawks and Freeport Pretzels before the Skyhawks opened it up in the second half to come away with a 52-40 victory. The Pretzels took an early 10-3 lead before Johnsburg scored ten straight points to take a 13-10 lead. Freeport though would rally to take an 18-16 lead into the second half. The Skyhawks though would outscore the Pretzels 36-22 in the second half including an alley-oop finished by Ben Dingman that brought the home crowd to their feet. Dingman along with T.J. Sigmund led Johnsburg with 14 points apiece. Carl Braddock had 19 points to lead Freeport while Giovanni Offard scored ten points for Freeport.
The tournament continues on Wednesday in Johnsburg as Grant plays Freeport at 5:30 p.m. and Johnsburg takes on Harlem at 7 p.m.