February 22, 2024

Thornton’s Morez Johnson wasn’t having an excellent day.

The senior ahead — thought of by some to be the very best participant within the state — discovered Tuesday afternoon he wasn’t one in all 24 picked for the McDonald’s All-American recreation.

The Illinois recruit tried to shrug off the snub with somewhat humor.

“I at all times preferred the 4 for $4,” Johnson mentioned of a former promotion at Wendy’s, which is a rival of McDonald’s. “I by no means cared for a Huge Mac.”

Johnson’s day bought a bit harder Tuesday evening when he went scoreless and took only one shot within the first half whereas being bottled up in a rivalry recreation in opposition to host Bloom.

“I feel Morez was somewhat bit down for not making the McDonald’s recreation,” Wildcats coach Tai Streets mentioned. “I feel that bothered him somewhat bit. He wasn’t taking part in like himself.”

However not for lengthy. Johnson become Huge Morez, erupting for 21 factors within the second half and main Thornton to a 69-52 Southland Athletic Convention victory in Chicago Heights.

The 6-foot-9 Johnson scored 16 factors within the fourth quarter as Thornton (19-2, 6-1) avenged a 65-54 loss on Dec. 1 to the Blazing Trojans. Isaiah Inexperienced contributed 17 factors and 7 assists, whereas Johnson added 10 rebounds and Meyoh Swansey had 11 factors and 5 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Amare Pryor paced Bloom (12-6, 4-1) with 16 factors off the bench, together with 12 within the fourth. Elijah Lovemore scored 14 factors and Santana Flowers had 11.

Whereas Johnson tried taking part in off the McDonald’s snub, Streets blew a gasket at 2 p.m. when the names have been launched and Johnson’s title was to not be discovered on the listing.

“He deserved to go to that recreation,” Streets mentioned. “That was probably the most ridiculous factor I’ve ever heard of. It’s crap. They need to be embarrassed.

“That’s horrible by that committee. It’s terrible. It’s rubbish. Rubbish. I’ve no respect for them. And I would like them to know that.”

Avenue believes the snub is political involving rival shoe firms.

Johnson additionally confirmed his perception that politics have been concerned.

“It’s loopy,” Johnson mentioned. “I’ll guess if I went to (a prep faculty) or one thing like that, I’d have been on there. However it’s all good.”

Even his former coach thought Johnson ought to have been part of that elite recreation.

Roshawn Russell, Johnson’s coach at St. Rita for 3 years and now an assistant at St. Laurence, posted on X that “Morez Johnson 100% deserves to be on this recreation!!! Many should be on this listing. Morez was undoubtedly missed!!!”

Thornton, in the meantime, confirmed its depth Tuesday evening by main 26-23 at halftime regardless of Johnson not having scored some extent.

“Morez is the catalyst,” Avenue mentioned. “However everybody performed properly.”

Inexperienced knew after Johnson’s quiet first half there can be a breakout within the last 16 minutes.

“After all,” Inexperienced mentioned. “We at all times think about him, out and in of the sport.”

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Streets is also a believer.

“You noticed within the second half,” Avenue mentioned. “When he desires one thing, he goes out and will get it.”

The Wildcats savored the revenge victory. Johnson had an enormous smile on his face after the ultimate horn, whereas Avenue pumped his fist and yelled to the Thornton crowd.

It was a a lot completely different scene than after they misplaced in Harvey — their first lack of the season.

“We discovered from our errors from that final recreation,” Inexperienced mentioned. “We corrected them. We weren’t blocking out and our vitality wasn’t good. Our protection wasn’t good and we weren’t sharing the ball.

“We simply modified all that on this recreation.”

Jeff Vorva is a contract reporter for the Each day Southtown.