Rich South coach Scot Ritter's pregame concerns regarding his team's lack of interior brawn in Friday night's McDipper quarterfinal with Bolingbrook turned out to be justified.
The host Stars were outrebounded 37-15, a major part of the narrative in the Raiders' come-from-behind, 66-59 victory that puts them in a semifinal Saturday against Thornton.
A subplot was the continued improvement of 6-foot-6 center Kenny Williams, who was playing in his third game after recovering from a meniscus tear in his right knee he suffered in November.
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- Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Rich South Campus High School, 5000 Sauk Trail, Richton Park, IL 60471, USA
Bolingbrook High School, 365 Raider Way, Bolingbrook, IL 60440, USA
"I'm still trying to work back into shape and get my explosiveness back up," said Williams, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. "I know my role on this team. Basically, I just have to keep the middle contained."
Part of the reason for that is the Raiders' tandem of future Division I guards, junior Prentiss Nixon and senior Gage Davis. That duo and Williams combined to score 32 of Bolingbrook's 40 second-half points after the Raiders (8-1) found themselves in an eight-point hole on two occasions midway through the third quarter.
The first of back-to-back Williams baskets gave Bolingbrook the lead for good, 55-54, with 4 minutes, 38 seconds to go. Nixon's 3-pointer two minutes later gave the Raiders a 60-54 cushion, which was protected in part due to 9-of-11 fourth-quarter foul shooting.
It was also no accident that Bolingbrook's late surge coincided with Davis, an IPFW recruit, shaking off a slow start, who scored all of his 13 points after the break.
"(Gage) didn't play very well in the first half, but it's to his credit how he came back and played in the second half," Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. "That's why he's a Division I player."
Player of the game: Kenny Williams, Bolingbrook, 14 points, 9 rebounds.
Key performers: Bolingbrook — Prentiss Nixon, 14 points, 4 3-pointers; Gage Davis, 13 points. Rich South — Denzel Kimbrough, Myles McCoy, 15 points apiece.