Cougars use fast start to defeat Minooka

Don’t look now SPC, but here comes Plainfield South.

After starting the season 1-9, the Cougars have run off a three-game winning streak – the latest a 54-50 win over Minooka Friday night.

“After our (win) against Plainfield East, I was worried about a letdown game, but we came out ready to play,” Plainfield South coach Tim Boe said. “We played as good as we could play. They took our punch and they came back with a couple more and then it was just a couple of good basketball teams making plays at the end.”

The Cougars (4-9, 3-2) opened the game on fire, jumping out to as much as a 16-3 lead late in the first quarter.

“I’d rather land the last punch,” Boe said. “But, yeah, it was nice.”

After the first quarter, Minooka rallied back and had a chance to tie or win the game in the closing seconds.

“You just can’t give that kind of lead,” Indians coach Scott Tanaka said. “We played like a young team tonight, that’s the bottom line. We played young, we showed our youth. We think we are making progress and then we have a game like this. If your team isn’t ready to play, it’s on everybody from the coaching staff on down to the players, so I guess we didn’t do our job as a coaching staff to be ready to play. If we wanted to contend for conference, this was a game we couldn’t afford to lose and we lost.”

Plainfield South junior guard Jacob Buchner was a one-man wrecking crew early, scoring 20 of his game-high 23 points in the first half.

Buchner hit 9-of-15 shots, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

In the second half, Minooka adjusted and senior Shane Ritter took over adding 16 points.

“It is really all about the team,” Buchner said. “If there is no shot for me, someone else is open if I’m doubled.”

“Those two guys (Buchner and Ritter) are nice to have,” Boe said. “They space the floor, one each side of the court and it makes it easier when the ball goes in the basket. All of the guys in the locker room like each other and they see those adjustments and they see a guy is hot and they say keep shooting. Ultimately what you want is for the guys to get along and have one common goal.”

Boe said with the poor start to the season, it would have been easy for the Cougars to give up.

“We didn’t have a good season at the start and when you have a slow start like we had, it’s easy for the guys to fold and make practice miserable and start pointing fingers,” Boe said. “For these guys to do what they have done speaks volumes for the kids and how hard we work. They don’t let the record determine the attitude or how hard we work. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

“This is a huge confidence booster,” Buchner said. “We struggled at the beginning of the season and for us to come up big like this is huge for our confidence.”

Joe Butler led Minooka (7-8, 3-3) with 18 points, while Larry Roberts and Nick Clemmons added eleven each.

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