The Skinny: The game might as well have been billiards. Ryan Modiest was playing 3-ball and calling his pocket in Joliet West’s 59-41 boys basketball victory over Sandburg on Friday night in Orland Park. Modiest knocked down four 3-pointers in the first quarter—five in the game—and went on to score a career-high 19 points as the Tigers led from start-to-finish on a night when two of the area’s big guns took a back seat to the zone-busting shooting of Modiest.
Joliet West’s Morris Dunnigan—a four-year starter—played a complementary role for the Tigers with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Sandburg’s Malek Harris—touted as a potential Division I recruit—scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the first half. He kept the Eagles within striking distance—they were down 44-34 in the third quarter—until he began to cramp up and exited to catch his breath.
In Harris’ absence, Joliet West went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter and pushed its lead to 52-34 at the start of the fourth on a drive by Brandon McCullum.
Patch’s MVP: Ryan Modiest, 5-10, senior, guard, Joliet West. Modiest made 6-of-11 shots en route to his career-high 19-point scoring barrage. Included were four 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Key Moments: Joliet West opened leads of 8-2 and 16-4 in the early going in large part because of the dribble-drive penetration of Morris Dunnigan and Carl Terrell and the hot shooting of Ryan Modiest. He shot the Eagles right out of their 2-3 zone. The Eagles turned the ball over 18 times as a result of the Tigers’ pressure.
Joliet West Leaders: Ryan Modiest (19 points, 6-of-11 shooting, five 3-pointers), Morris Dunnigan (10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks), Carl Terrell (9 points, one 1-pointer), Brandon McCullum (8 points, 4 rebounds), Andre Hardy (5 points, 7 rebounds).
Sandburg Leaders: Malek Harris (19 points, 11 rebounds), Niko Cahue (4 points), Niko Kogionis (8 points, two 3-pointers).
Quotable I: “Yeah, they shot it extremely well to start—kinda got us back on our heels early,” Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. “I don’t know what they shot in the first quarter (Joliet West was 6-for-13, including four 3-pointers), but it seemed very good. I thought we hung around somewhat, but you can’t turn it over 18 times and try to get back into basketball games. I thought other than Malek (Harris), we didn’t have anybody else step up. I thought he did a heckuva job. He scored for us. He handled the ball for us. He rebounded.”
Quotable II: “Well, they came out and played a 2-3 and we were looking to space the floor early and get some ball movement,” Joliet West’s Ryan Modiest said. “And the ball came to me and I was ready to shoot.”
Quotable III: “Our guys have the freedom to shoot the shots they can make, and Ryan (Modiest) has proven over the course of the season and then in practice that he can make those shots,” Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. “He’s shooting 40 percent for the year from 3, so whenever he has an open look, he has free rein to shoot that basketball. And, if he doesn’t, he’s coming out.”
Team Records: Joliet West is 10-5 overall and 4-2 in the Southwest Suburban Blue. Sandburg is 2-14 and 1-5.
What’s Next: Both teams plays in the MLK Day of Hoops event Monday at Joliet Central. Joliet West faces Crete-Monee at 3 p.m. Sandburg takes on Rich Central at 6 p.m. The first game starts at 10 a.m. and the last at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $5 for the entire day.