BOYS BASKETBALL

Taylor, Pierce lead Thornton

2014-03-02T19:00:00Z 2014-03-02T20:55:45Z Taylor, Pierce lead ThorntonMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
March 02, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

HARVEY | Thornton's Jamani Pierce and Justin Taylor don't mind if social media is unsociable towards them.

Instead of texting back, the two use the jibes as a positive and do their talking with their on-court actions.

"I got everything negative people have said about me on a piece of paper on my wall in my room," Pierce said. "I look at it everyday as motivation to get better.

"I didn't play that much last year and people were talking that I couldn't play, I wasn't that good. Well, I went out and worked on things everyday to get better."

Taylor does the same.

"People said I had a good junior year, but I couldn't have a good year and lead the team this year," Taylor said. "We both hear things, but I don't get mad, I use that as a way to better my game, to help my team."

Both have been a reason the Wildcats are 19-5 overall and finished second in the in the SouthWest Suburban Red Conference with a 12-2 mark as they prepare for the Class 4A Lincoln-Way Central Regional. They are also a reason Thornton is the No. 4 seed in the Class 4A Thornton Sectional complex.

"Both attack the boards and are not afraid to get in there in the paint," Thornton coach Troy Jackson said. "They can score, but they are leaders. They are out here pushing the younger kids, doing what you want your seniors to do."

Another motivating factor was the team's usual slow start at the Decatur Thanksgiving tournament.

"We always struggle down there," Pierce said. "We came back 1-2 and we just knew we had to get better and it was on us to see that we did."

Since then, the Wildcats are 18-3, having lost twice to Thornwood and once Marian Catholic.

"We didn't want what happened last year, 14-15 or something like that," Taylor said. "We were juniors and I had a good year, but I didn't because we didn't as a team. My goal and my job as a captain is to make sure we are playing our best, make sure everyone is on the same page."

The 6-foot-4 Pierce is averaging a double-double with 15.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Taylor, who is 6-6, is averaging 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

"Justin is a big man who can also score from the outside, but he can go to the basket and play inside," Jackson said. "Jamani is a strong kid and he can control things underneath and has a nice shot. Both give us a strong inside game and an advantage on the boards."

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