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A game is not won or lost in the first few minutes.
However, Plainfield Central scored the first nine points and made them stand during its 60-46 home win over Romeoville in the Southwest Prairie Conference opener for both teams Friday.
Leading 9-0, the Wildcats (3-2, 1-0) turned to a lockdown, man-to-man defense to keep the Spartans (1-5, 0-1) at bay.
“We started out by doing the right things, playing sound, got a nice lead and never really relinquished it,” Plainfield Central coach Steve Lamberti said. “We got a good enough lead and extended it down the stretch.”
Logan Velasquez and Devaun Goodlow each had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Plainfield Central. Mitch Young added nine points.
“I don’t know how many wins we’re going to have,” Lamberti said. “But, if we play hard, with energy, play solid and play smart, we’re going to give ourselves a chance.”
Goodlow’s basket midway through the first quarter gave the hosts a 9-0 lead. Logan Velasquez’s jumper off a pass from Goodlow late in the quarter bumped the lead to 15-4.
Rashad Steele’s three-pointer, steal and layup within a five-second span sliced the lead to 15-10 with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.
Plainfield Central led 16-10 after a quarter and 26-20 at the break.
“They came at us hard and kicked our butts on the board,” Romeoville coach Jeff Bambule said. “They got after us from the start. Hopefully, it’s a learning experience for us that you have to come ready to play.”
Romeoville had the same amount of turnovers as made baskets (11) through three quarters. Plainfield Central led 40-30 after three quarters and was never threatened.
“We’ve played better every game and it was good to see us get a win tonight,” Lamberti said.
Armani Bonilla and Jaylon Richardson each had 10 points for Romeoville.