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Prep Sports

Bolingbrook's balance just too much

BOLINGBROOK — Midway through the fourth quarter the five players on the floor for the Bolingbrook Raiders all had between nine and 13 points.

There were two more Bolingbrook players on the bench that had exactly the same stat lines to their credit.

That's what opponents are dealing with when it comes to trying to beat Bolingbrook and so far no one has had much luck as Bolingbrook coasted to a 78-59 victory over Joliet Central to capture its own Class 4A Regional crown on Friday night.

The win advances Bolingbrook to next week's East Aurora Sectional where it will lock horns with West Aurora (27-5) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. West Aurora edged out Plainfield Central 66-65 in the finals of the Oswego Regional.

"We had a really balanced attack. I think we had seven guys with nine or more points and two others with six," Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. "We don't go ever go into a game like so and so is going to score and so and so isn't going to score. We're hard to beat when we share. The No. 1 thing I put on the board offensively is that every time we share."

It wasn't a glorious start for the Raiders (21-7) who didn't even notch their first field goal until the 2:25 mark of the first quarter. They did manage to get to the foul line often enough to put the points on the board and with that Tyrique McMurrin basket the Raiders took their first lead of the game at 9-8.

The relatively tight early portion of the game was of no surprise to Brost.

"When you're playing a Larry Thompson-coached team, its sort of like getting a root canal," Brost quipped.

But eventually Bolingbrook found its stride and its myrriad of offensive weapons started to show itself in the second quarter. A lift came from the bench in the person of Anthony Thompson, who hit a trio of 3-point shots in the second quarter to finally help the Raiders get some needed separation.

Bolingbrook took a 34-23 lead into the halftime break, but it felt like the gap was much wider.

The Raiders depth went about making the gap wider by using all of the assets at their disposal. Bolingbrook spread the wealth and started things up with baskets from Joseph Yesufu (10 points) and Tyler Cochran (10 points) but before the quarter was over Kameron Leonard, Jordan Myrick (13 points), Tyrique McMurrin (13 points) and Darius Burford (15 points) all found the scoring column in the quarter. At the end of that frame, Bolingbrook's lead had reached 20.

"It's hard to guard us, because we have so many weapons and we share," Brost said. "I'm proud of our guys. And we're proud to be regional champions but we've got to get back to work because we've got some other things to take care of."

Joliet Central had a lot of will to try to hang in the game, but execution on the offensive end was sporatic for the Steelmen (18-12). And every time something was a slight bit out of place, Bolingbrook tended to swoop in and make a play.

Typifying the effort of the entire team was McMurrin. An active player off the bench for the Raiders, McMurrin seems to get himself involved in just about everything and usually his overflowing reserve of energy finds him in the right place at the right time.

"I still feel like I can crash the boards a lot better," McMurrin said. "But a lot of the credit for my success has to go to my teammates because they do a good job of finding me when I'm open."

McMurrin's humility is noble. But he also does a number of often uncredited things that helps his team succeed. That isn't lost on his head coach.

"He understands his role. He embraces his role," Brost said. "He relishes what he's asked to do, and he does it really well. He's a huge weapon for us to have him come in and do what he does."

Bolingbrook also got a lift from Myrick, who steadiness never seems to go away. The junior guard never seems to force action and gladly takes what comes his way. Like the rest of his team, he's all-in on the team-first concept the Raiders employ.

"How we play, and when we play at our best is when we share the ball," Myrick said. "When we get up and down the floor, we're faster than the teams we play and we share the ball too, we're at our best. Everybody can handle the ball, we can all do what we have to do."

Joliet Central played in chase mode for most of the game. At one point the Steelmen got to within 13 points only to have Bolingbrook rattle off the next six points of the game to thwart any hope of a rally.

Kennell Sutton led the Steelmen with 12 points.

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