TINLEY PARK – There's good news for Thornwood and other foes of Andrew in the SouthWest Suburban Red.
Jubril Adekoya graduates from Andrew in the spring.
The savvy Valparaiso-bound senior taught a graduate course in how to play to the Thunderbirds in Andrew's 59-42 victory on Friday night.
Adekoya scored 29 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the course of 32 minutes.
"He's a load," Thornwood coach Paul Slavich said.
"He's our constant," Andrew coach Mike O'Halloran said. "He doesn't go into a slump."
Adekoya, a physical presence at 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, is also a hard worker. He doesn't take possessions off, much less minutes or quarters.
Thornwood, partly because of the Thunderbolts, partly because of themselves, did.
"We couldn't get into an offensive rhythm," Slavich said.
Sloppy guard play was part of that. Starters Patrick Bolton and Donzel Vinson combined for 12 points, but didn't distribute the ball well, and had company.
A pass or two, and suddenly the Thunderbirds, too often stationary, were confronted by more Thunderbolts than they expected. Forward Mike Hook was a pest, Adekoya pure trouble.
Thornwood only turned the ball over 12 times, but too many forced shots led to a 16-of-38 shooting night that was that good only because of a 5-of-10 final quarter.
The problem was, Andrew had outscored Thornwood 21-9 in the second quarter, an 8-0 run early in the frame the key to the outburst, and led 39-28 going into the final eight minutes.
An 11-point lead isn't insurmountable, unless Adekoya is playing against you on both ends of the court. Thornwood barely got it to single digits before the final Thunderbolt surge.
Andrew, with Adekoya leading the way, outrebounded Thornwood 28-17. Donte Thomas (13 points) led the Thunderbirds. Andrew's Glorina Lisha added 16 points for the Thunderbolts.
Andrew advanced to 10-3 overall, 5-1 in SWSC competition. Thornwood dropped to 7-10, 3-3.
That record is a far cry from what Slavich envisioned.
"It's getting to be late in the year," he said. "In stretches we play decent, and in other stretches we just don't play good at all."