Central, North open SPC head to head

By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle

The 2017-18 Plainfield North Tigers and their archrival Wildcats, from Plainfield Central, both went 2-2 in their respective Thanksgiving Boys Basketball Tournaments, Thanksgiving weekend. On the first day of December on the North Side of Plainfield, a Southwest Prairie Conference “cat fight” took place. Before the boys took the court, the Central and North varsity girls, entertained the large crowd.

In a Southwest Prairie Conference opener for both schools, the Plainfield North (3-2, 1-0) boys, went on a 13-0 run before halftime to open up a 29-16 lead over Central (2-3, 0-1). The Tigers  opened up a 40-21 lead after three quarters and went on to a 49-34 victory.

A  13-2 run to start the fourth quarter, pulled the ‘Cats to within 42-34 with four minutes left but that was as close as Central would get.

Tiger senior Brady Miller had a game-high 16 points to lead North. Miller also had a team-high eight rebounds. 6-5 North junior Carter Thurman, scored al 11 of his points in the crucial second quarter. Junior Matt O’Boye, had seven points, two steals and a blocked shot while junior Adonis Cubas-Hughes, chipped in with six points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Wildcats were led by Matthews Morganfield, who had a double-double, 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Morganfield, was a beast on the offensive glass, picking up six of his 10 rebounds on the offensive glass. Junior Maurice McCullum added 11 points and sophomore Tavari Johnson, chipped in with 10 points, for Central.

In the girl’s side of the “Cat Fight” at North, Central (5-1, 1-1) opened up a 46-32 lead with four minutes to go. An easy victory for the Wildcats? Not so fast.

Led by Kelly Knopp (11 points), Maddy Dwyer (11 points) and Chelsea Cross (9 points), the Tigers (3-5, 1-1), closed to within 51-48 with 1.4 seconds left, before falling 51-48.

Central was led by sophomore Kachae Donald, who had a game-high 20 points for the Wildcats. 5-3 junior Katie Kearney, put on a long-range artillery show, for Central, burying four three-pointers, for 12 points.

“We played hard tonight and picked up a big win,” Donald said. “It got a little scary at the end but we won. I played hard and up to my potential to get my 20 points. Katie (Kearney) is a great shooter.”

Plainfield North (3-2, 1-0), participated in the Fifth Annual Lyons Township/Glenbard Thanksgiving Tournament in La Grange. Led by the Tigers’ All-Tournament selection, Brady Miller, the Tigers stunned the defending champions from LT, 59-52, on November 20. A pair of tough losses to Hinsdale South (4-1) and eventual Tournament Champion Maine South (4-1) followed, before a solid 58-47 win over Glenbard South, gave the Tigers the fifth-place trophy.

The 2017-18 Tiger hoopsters, will be once again be led by their three-sport star, Miller. Miller, who led the Joliet-Area, with 2,183 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes, for 8-3 Tiger football team, at quarterback.  Joining Miller will be fellow three-sport star Gavin Doyle and junior guard Matt O ‘Boye, from the 2016-17 Tigers. Thurman and Cubas-Hughes, round out the Tigers’ starting five.

Plainfield North head coach Bob Krahulik’s (66-46) Tigers, won 61 games in his first three years at North, before last seasons’ 5-20 nightmare.  Entering his fifth season, with Miller leading the way, look out for the Tigers in 2017-18.

“We are really looking forward to having a great season,” Krahulik said. “We have  three quality starters returning from last season and are vastly improved. I am very impressed with the way we play defense. The big runs in this win over Central tonight, were ignited by our defense. We look to challenge for the Southwest Prairie Conference crown.”

“We played well in the Thanksgiving tournament and tonight was a great all-around effort,” Miller said. “It’s great to be 1-0 in the SPC and important to win our home game tonight. We look to challenge for the SPC this year and go far in the state tournament. Personally I take more pride in my defense than my offense. We work really hard at defense and that is what wins championships. In my last year of basketball, I hope we can win a number of games this season.”

“This was a huge win for us over a team that beat us twice last season,” O’Boye said. “It started here tonight for our goal of competing for the SPC title. One game at a time for us to achieve our goal. I started slowly tonight but I learned one thing from starting last season for us, is that one can always impact the game defensively. We have only three starters back from last season but Carter Thurman has been a star for us and Adonis (Cubas-Hughes) does so  many good things for us.”

Plainfield Central (2-3, 0-1) went 2-2 in the 22nd Annual WJOL  Thanksgiving Classic Tournament Thanksgiving week. The Wildcats fell to Lemont before defeating Lockport 45-35 and Providence 56-48. In the third place game, the Wildcats fell to Joliet Central 65-36.

After leading the vastly-improved 4-5 Wildcat football team, this fall, 6-3 Matthews Morganfield returns, after leading the 2016-17 Wildcats in scoring. On the gridiron, Morganfield hauled in 36 passes for 495 yards and three scores, from his wide receiver position. His 495 receiving yards, ranked eighth in the Joliet-Area in 2017.

Morganfield, will be joined by 6-0 sophomore Tavari Jackson and 6-4 senior Nate Sampson, on the front line. Sophomore Brandon Shoemaker and junior Maurice McCullom, will man the guard spots for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats, have a familiar face at the head coaching position, as former girls’ head basketball coach Greg Bayer, takes over the boys program.

“We start a couple of sophomores and are very young,” Bayer said. “Matthews (Morganfield) is our only returning starter. It has been a great transition for me from coaching the girls and now the boys. It is very difficult in the first year of  building the program, because you are trying things that you hope will work with the kids. With experience, one learns the proper building blocks for the program.

“I am very proud of our victories at the WJOL, over Lockport and Providence. We also played a very good Lemont team close,” Bayer added. “I believe we will be in the top half of the very good Southwest Prairie Conference and we hope to be playing our best ball come February.”

“This was a disappointing loss for us tonight,” Morganfield said.” The wins at the WJOL were overshadowed  by tonight’s disappointing performance. We practice very hard to be better than we were last season. Personally, I want to outhustle all of my opponents and win.”

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