By Michael O'Brien

Undefeated no more: Kellen Thornton scores 17 points as Hillcrest beats Richards

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Friday night action: Hillcrest beats Richards by 10, T. F. North knocks off Thornwood...

A lifetime of backyard basketball helped T. F. North forward Landon Cox prepare for his assignment Friday against Thornwood.

“Me, [Thornwood senior] Cameron [Snelling] and Landon all grew up together, playing in the backyard and stuff,” Thornwood star Trey Blue said.

Cox, who also plays wide receiver for the Meteors and signed with Northern Illinois this week, spent the game guarding Blue.

“I knew what I was getting into,” Cox said. “He’s my cousin through marriage. He’s a terrific player but I know his game real well.”

Cox was the difference in the game on both the offensive and defensive end as the No. 3 Meteors knocked off No. 2 Thornwood 55-41 in Calumet City.

The 6-4 senior scored 13 points for the Meteors (19-2, 9-0 SICA East), who closed the game with a 13-3 run.

“We weren’t counting on Cox playing like that,” Thornwood coach Bob Curran said. “We thought if we could hold [Lawrence] Redmond and [Demond] Watt to 11 or 13 points we’d be ok. We did that, but Cox beat us.”

Reggie Hamilton led Thornwood (17-3, 8-1)with 14 points and four rebounds. Blue finished with nine points and seven rebounds and Cameron Snelling added six point and seven rebounds.

A layup from junior Marcus Deloney with 1:56 to play in the third quarter gave the Meteors their first lead of the second half. On the next possession, Thornwood’s Colby Johnson hurt his left ankle shooting a three and did not return. T. F. North never relinquished the lead again.

“I have so much respect for [Bob Curran],” T. F. North coach Tim Bankston said. “I love their style when I’m watching it but I hate it when I’m playing it.”

Redmond scored 13 for the Meteors and Watt added nine points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“They are a lot more athletic than we are at every position,” Curran said. “In the second half they asserted that and really made us adjust a lot of our shots.”

This could just be round one of a three game series between the teams over the next few weeks. They may meet again in the SICA tournament and could face each other in the sectional semifinals.

“We’ve never worried about the conference,” Curran said. “We haven’t won the conference since I’ve been here. You never want to look past anyone though. We have a very tough regional.”

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Mike, I took in the Thornwood-TF North game last night. TF North is talented, athletic, can jump through the ceiling and play suffocating defense. However, I got to tell it like it is. They are all graduates of the 'Shaquile O'Neil Free-Throw Shooting School.' That is there achilles heel. And that is why I think they won't go downstate. Your thoughts?

O'Brien responds: Well, before last night I thought T. F. North's achilles heel was turnovers. I've seen them play five or six times, and every game they had a ton of turnovers. Then, last night they only had five against Thornwood. With the talent they have, and as you mentioned, the defense, they can go pretty far if they don't turn the ball over. I still like Thornwood to go downstate though. They are the most disciplined team, and probably the best shooting team in the south suburbs.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael O'Brien published on February 9, 2007 10:20 PM.

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