HARVEY | At one point in the third quarter, Thornton's Keondre Woods wondered if he'd ever get in Tuesday night's SouthWest Suburban Red contest against Andrew.
"Honestly, I was kind of skeptical," the junior guard said.
When he finally became the 10th Wildcat to have his number called, he wasted little time making an impact.
The Wildcats, in the lead for most the first three quarters, were trailing 36-34 when Woods, the leading scorer on last year's Thornton sophomore squad, drained a three-pointer with 1:56 left in the the third quarter. The Wildcats (4-3, 2-1) never again trailed, ending the quarter on a 12-2 run and easing to a 66-41 win over the Thunderbolts (3-4, 0-3).
Woods scored eight points in the run, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer, and finished with a team-high 15 points in barely more than a quarter of playing time. He exited shortly after staking Thornton to a 62-40 lead with a three-point play at the 3:21 mark of the fourth quarter.
After starting for freshman and sophomore squads that didn't lose a game, Woods is adjusting to his new role.
"This is just a reality check for me," he said. "Honestly, I think the coach is trying to make a man out of me.
"Sometimes, I play too fast. He needs me to slow down and play his offense."
Thornton coach Troy Jackson smiled at Woods' analysis.
"That is so accurate — so accurate," he said. "That's why he went in the game when he did."
Thornton used 16 players, but most of the minutes were hardly garbage time. Andrew was within three points with less than 80 seconds to play in the third quarter.
"I've got 16 players, and any of them could start," Jackson said. "Keondre is a quality player, but he's got some guys ahead of him."
Nine Wildcats scored, Justin Taylor putting in nine of his 11 points in the first half, while Da'Marques Turner added nine for the night.
"Their depth and rebounding just wore us out in the fourth quarter," Andrew coach Mike O'Halloran said. "We played a good game for three quarters."
Jarvion Franklin led the Thunderbolts with 17 points and Gino Karapoulos added 15. But, Andrew struggled to get the ball past half court, turning the ball over 27 times.
D'Quan Applewhite keyed Thornton's defensive pressure, coming up with four steals. Turner added three and Leslie Wilson two.