Boys Basketball

Romeoville gets big SPC rivalry win over Joliet West

Romeoville High School Logo

ROMEOVILLE – Rivalry games are always fun and Friday night was no exception as Romeoville fought back and then held on to defeat Joliet West, 55-50, in a Southwest Prairie Conference boys basketball game.

Joliet West (3-3, 1-1) came out of the gates on fire as they hit three 3′s in their first three possessions, two by Justus McNair (15 points) and the other by Jayden Martin (15 points) to take a 9-0 lead with only 1:30 gone in the first quarter.

Then Romeoville (4-2, 2-0) methodically cut the lead in a back-and-forth first half of exciting basketball. With 1:19 left before the break the Spartans’ Jacquise Warren hit two free throws to tie the game at 21-21. Each team hit a free throw and we were tied 22-22 at the half.

The third quarter saw sophomore Meyo Swansey and junior Kaharie Loggins put on a show for the Spartans. The twosome combined for 17 of the 21 points the Spartans would score in the quarter. The Spartans returned the favor to West as they also hit three consecutive 3’s, the final one coming with 3:42 left in the quarter and the Spartans had a 10-point lead. Romeoville, again had a 10-point lead in the quarter, but a 3-pointer by Martin for West, at the buzzer, cut the lead to 43-37 going to the final quarter.

“At halftime we just talked about staying focused, getting back on defense and playing good basketball,” said Swansey, who scored 15 points. “The crowd tonight was fantastic and this was our first home game of the season and we really wanted this one. West has been the conference champs the past two years and tonight was our statement that we will be a factor this year.”

Loggins had 15 rebounds and 10 points in the game and relishes his role on the team.

“That was a fun game tonight, especially against a rival like Joliet West,” Loggins said. “Everyone likes to score, but I know my role on this team and that is to rebound the ball. Meyoh can score, but our teammates saw that we were both hot in the third quarter and really got us the ball.”

With 1:10 left in the game, the Spartans had a 53-40 lead after hitting six consecutive free throws, including four by Tony Cicero Jr. (12 points), and it appeared the game was over. But West didn’t let that happen. Jeremiah Fears (15 points) hit a basket, then hit two 3-pointers along with a basket by Martin, and all of a sudden it was 53-50 with nine seconds remaining. But two free throws by Romeoville’s Keshaun Vaval sealed the Spartan victory.

“This is a great rivalry, especially in our conference,” Romeoville coach Marc Howard said. “There is a lot of history between the two schools with the coaches and the city of Joliet.

“We are really inexperienced, especially with our youth this season and you saw some of that at the end of the game when West came all the way back. They [West] are well-coached and have a great program, so I knew they weren’t quite done when we had a big lead. Swansey and Loggins really played well in that third quarter and really put us in the position to win. Our kids really came through and we grew a lot tonight with this game.”