SOUTH HOLLAND | When Thornridge threatened Thornwood's comfortable lead on Tuesday night, and threaten the Falcons did, cutting a 16-point deficit to eight with 5:37 to play, someone had to step up.
Enter Rashaad Alexander, the fourth man off the bench for the Thunderbirds. Donte Thomas had already made noise, scoring 17 of his 22 points in the first three quarters, but now it was Alexander's turn. The 6-foot senior found a spot on the left side of the floor to his liking and poured in three 3-pointers from that exalted station in 79 seconds, reestablishing Thornwood's supremacy.
The Thunderbirds would go on to post a 67-55 victory, collecting their sixth win of the season against two defeats, and advancing to 3-0 in SouthWest Suburban Red play. The plucky Falcons dropped to 1-9, 0-3 respectively.
"They stayed with us the whole game," Alexander said of Thornridge.
He was being kind. His trio of treys turned the tables, and pushed him to a season high of 18 points. And Alexander's sudden outburst – he also was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final quarter – allowed Thomas room again.
A brief shoving match between Thomas and Xavier Alexander with 2:27 remaining was just that, brief. And, almost expected given the long rivalry of the two in-district schools. Technical fouls were handed out, but unlike last year's argument with Crete-Monee's Laquon Treadwell, Thomas was not ejected, so can play in Thornwood's next game.
"It was just a tough game," Thomas said. "No hard feelings. This is like family. We know everybody on the team, they know us."
Thornwood shot 55 percent from the floor and outrebounded its neighbor 28-19, but coach Paul Slavich saw room for improvement.
"We could have played better," Slavich said. "But this is always a knockdown, drag out game."
Thornridge coach Scott Alderson, who started four juniors, knows there's room for improvement from his squad.
"We were rushing, didn't show poise," Anderson said. "We were selfish at times. It's a matter of us getting settled down.
"This is a game we didn't want to get away."
Carly Henry led the Falcons with 15 points after having only two points at the half. Victor Trout scored nine of his 12 points in the final quarter.