By Mike Sandrolini
HILLSIDE | Westchester St. Joseph High School head basketball coach Gene
Pingatore didn’t mince words when stating what he wanted the end result to look like
prior to competing in the 53rd annual Proviso West Holiday Tournament. “The
Chargers hoisting the tourney’s championship trophy.”
The Chargers found themselves one step away from reaching that goal, but
Stevenson—last winter’s Class 4A state runner-up—denied them a spot in Tuesday’s
title game after handing St. Joseph (12-0 going in) its first loss of the season, 85-71, in
the semifinals Monday night.
Glynn Watson tallied 20 points for the Chargers while Jordan Ash had 17, Joffery Brown
15 and Nick Rekocevic 14 points and eight rebounds. Division I recruit Jalen Brunson
netted a game-high 32 points for Stevenson and teammate Connor Cashaw poured in
St. Joseph played for third place on New Year’s Eve day against Bogan, while
Stevenson and defending champion Morgan Park tangled for this year’s crown.
Meanwhile, Proviso East, which finished second to Morgan Park last year, faced
Fenwick for fifth place on Tuesday after squeaking out a 74-70 overtime win Monday
over West Suburban Gold foe Morton.
Kalin Fisher’s three-pointer in the OT period gave the Pirates the lead for good, 71-70.
A free throw and bucket by Jevon Carter in the game’s final 21 seconds secure the
victory. Carter led four Pirates in double figures with 18 points. Fisher, Antonio Williams
and Oshea Miller scored 13 each. The Pirates (10-2) won their fifth-place matchup, 59-
51. Carter finished with a game-leading 29 points, Williams had 13 and Fisher 10.
PIRATES VS. CHARGERS
Proviso East and St. Joseph, located less than six miles from each other, engaged in
the latest installment of their longtime neighborhood rivalry during a quarterfinal game
last Saturday, won by the Chargers, 68-61.
The Chargers took a 14-9 first-quarter lead, but the Pirates tied it 14-14 two minutes
into the second period on a three-pointer by Fisher. However, the Chargers went on a
12-3 run with Ash scoring eight of the 12 to grab a 26-17 advantage. St. Joseph led 35-
22 at the break.
A dunk by Ash midway through the third quarter kept the Chargers comfortably in front,
45-33. The Pirates, though, mounted a charge of their own to get back into the contest.
Proviso East pulled to within a basket of St. Joseph, 45-43, with 1:25 to go in the period
thanks to a blocked shot from Titterrion Edmond which led to Miller’s layup at the other
“Proviso East, you know that they’re going to come after you,” Pingatore said. “You can’t
beat them trying to match what they’re doing. You’ve got to be smarter than they are. We
handled their pressure pretty well. Then the second half came and typically when you
have a lead you tend to relax. You can’t do that against East. Before you know it, boom,
boom, and all of a sudden they score.” Yet that would be the closet Proviso East got to
St. Joseph the remainder of the contest. The Chargers finished the third with a 9-0 flurry
and led, 52-43, going into the final quarter.
“Anytime you dig yourself in a big hole like we did (in the first half), especially against a
good team like Joes, it’s always going to be difficult,” said Proviso East coach Donnie
Boyce. “We’ve got to tip our hats off to them.
“I thought our kids in the first half let their emotions get in. It’s a neighborhood game
and it got a little out of control in the first half, but I’m really proud of the way the kids
fought back. It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t do enough that we didn’t make enough
plays to win the game.”
Ash led all scorers with 26 points and collected a team-leading eight rebounds.
“Proviso East, we know each other,” Ash said. “They have structure but it’s a different
type of structure. They’re up and down, run and gun; they’re smaller and we match up
with them. Every game we go into, no matter what the other team is going to do, it’s all
Fisher was the Pirates’ top scorer with 22, and Carter chipped in with 20. Williams
scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Josh Smith also had nine rebounds.
“They made the plays at the end, kept their composure a little bit better than us, but it’s a
good measuring stick,” Boyce said. “Hopefully the guys will understand that we have (to
have) all 15 guys committed in the game, focused the same way in practice. The last
couple of weeks our practices haven’t been consistent enough and it showed in our
“We have to understand what type of targets we have on our backs. We’re always going
to be everybody’s ‘A’ game and everybody’s always going to be up to play us. More than
anything, we’ve got to look at ourselves and we’ve got to play more together.”
The host Panthers went 1-2 during the tourney, with their only victory occurring Dec. 27
against Von Steuben, 57-36. Khalill Walker and Jamonte Robinson scored 14 points
apiece, and Tivonte Allen added 12.
Proviso West fell 79-52 to Rockford Auburn in its opener on Dec. 26. Walker dropped in
20 points and Jamaar Edwards had 13.
In the consolation round quarterfinals, Thornton Fractional South handed the Panthers
(7-5) a 64-59 defeat. The Panthers led 16-12 after one period, but T.F. South outscored
West, 20-8, in the second quarter and held a 32-24 halftime lead. The Panthers sliced
T.F. South’s lead to two, 44-42, at the end of three quarters, and held off Proviso West in
the fourth. Walker pumped in a game-high 25 points, Allen contributed 11 and
Robinson 10. Andre Boyce hauled down 11 rebounds.
Pirates, Chargers advance
deep into tourney