In a week that for the Bolingbrook boys basketball team was all about emotion, it is that exact thing that is lacking in the team’s play.
“It has been a broken record in the games that we have lost and to be perfectly honest, we have no heart right now, it is something we are lacking right now,” said senior guard Prentiss Nixon. “Everyone has to find that within themselves, we have to dig deep. It is nothing that you can come with and pull it out of your pocket and put it on for the game, it something you have and we need a way to find it.”
Nixon and the Raiders spent a tough four games at the McDipper Tournament at Rich South High School. The games were all played just days after former teammate Chad Cooke died unexpectedly playing a pick-up game at a local gym.
Bolingbrook went out and won the opener 59-50 over University High behind 16 points from Julian Torres, 13 from Prentiss Nixon and 10 from Dimitri Akenten.
Game two saw the Raiders jump out to a 23-8 advantage and coast to a 78-55 win over Leo. Nixon paced four in double figures with 22 points. Brodric Thomas added 15 points and six assists, while Torres and Akenten each had 12.
It was that game that the team came straight from Cooke’s memorial service to the game and played an inspired brand of basketball.
“The day we went to Chad’s memorial and came and played, you could see the heart and fight in us. We went up big and kept it that way,” Nixon said. “The talent is there and it is just about how bad do we want it and right now, we don’t want it bad enough and that better change over the next few weeks and between me, coach (Rob) Brost and the other captains, we are going to make sure of it.”
In the semifinal game, the Raiders lost 66-53 to eventual champion Hales Franciscian behind contributions from Thomas (12 points), Zach Grady (11 points) and Akenten (10 points, seven rebounds).
In the third-place game, the second game in a row against a state-ranked foe, Bolingbrook was up 11 with three minutes to play and fell to Thornton 58-56. Thomas tallied 17 points, while Torres had 12 points and five rebounds.
“We are playing with no heart and no will to win and we are losing by three or four points to really good teams, once we find it, we will be hard for people to play with,” Nixon said. “Hopefully this burns in our mind and we play with a fire and rage all the way through. I know we can make a run, we just have to find it in ourselves to want to make it.”
Brost knows too, that the Raiders can get on track, it has to start soon.
“We have to figure it out. If we do, we can turn this around, if we don’t, it will be a long season,” he said.