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Jalen Heath scored a career-high 30 points to lead visiting Joliet Central to a 55-51 overtime upset over Bolingbrook in a Southwest Suburban Blue contest Friday.
“It’s a conference win and it was a total team effort,” Heath said. “We just had to get in the flow and the rhythm. We knew we had to make our free throws. Those were huge.”
Eddie McElrath went 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 40.8 seconds of the overtime period to ice the win for the Steelmen. This is the first time this season that the Steelmen have beat a team over .500 and they are all alone atop the Southwest Suburban Blue.
But Joliet Central (10-7, 5-1) was without starting guard and leading scorer Jonah Coble. Central coach Jeff Corcoran said Coble had to sit because of a violation of team rules, but did not specify what Coble had done. Coble was on the bench during the game, sitting with his teammates and wearing his warm-ups.
This is the second time this season that Coble has had a disciplinary issue. Last month, Coble and four other Steelmen players sat out the first half of Joliet Central’s game at Lincoln-Way Central for a violation of team rules. Corcoran said Coble will not play Monday against Mount Carmel in Central’s MLK Day of Hoops.
The Steelmen could have used Coble in the second quarter, where both teams’ offenses stalled. Bolingbrook only outscored Joliet Central 9-4 in the second quarter.
Central took a 45-44 lead with 2:37 remaining in the fourth quarter on Heath’s jumper. The Steelmen increased their lead to 47-44 on two Heath free throws with just under 1:50 to play in regulation.
Bolingbrook’s Prentiss Nixon tied things at 47 with a three-pointer at the 1:45 mark. The Raiders held the ball for the final 1:30 of regulation for the final shot, but Nixon’s three-point try was off the mark as time ran out.
Kenneth Williams led the Raiders with 17 points and Ben Moore added 14 points.