Jordan Booker is a tiger for Bogan, scores 29 to beat St. Rita

Jordan Booker (4) of Bogan muscles his way straight to the basket against St. Rita, Tuesday 03-06-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Jordan Booker isn’t used to being called by his name. He’s one of those kids that is known by a one-word nickname: Tiger.

“I don’t even know how it started,” Booker said. “I’ve been called that as long as I can even remember. I think it’s just because I’m tough.”

Booker’s toughness is a bit more noticeable because of his size. He’s generously listed as 5-9, 145-pounds on Bogan’s roster.

The tiny junior guard was a major force for the Bengals on Tuesday in Burbank. He scored 29 points to lead Bogan to a 68-61 win against St. Rita in the Class 3A St. Laurence sectional semifinals.

“It was revenge,” Booker said. “They beat us last year and I couldn’t let it happen again.”

Booker can shoot, he was 2-for-6 from three-point range. But he’s one of the area’s best at getting to the basket. That’s the skill that used to prove toughness and ability in city basketball circles. It’s fallen out of fashion. The past two seasons a much less gritty move, the step-back three-pointer, is what draws ooh’s and aah’s from the crowd.

“I love getting to the basket and showing that no one can stay in front of me,” Booker said.

He did just that three times early in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs led by two after three quarters but Booker’s early fourth quarter burst gave Bogan a 55-50 lead with five minutes to play.

“That’s just what Tiger does,” Goodwin said. “He’s the man. He makes us go.”

Junior guard Jeremiah Washington added 11 points for the Bengals (21-8) and big man Rashaun Agee finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

“I was surprised they ran with us today because that’s what we wanted,” Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said. “I thought they were going to play a zone.”

Senior Landen Gladney led St. Rita (18-12) with 17 points and eight rebounds and Jordan Matthews added 11.

“We were able to wear them out,” Booker said. “We run so much, we are really in shape.”

The Bengals will face their biggest rival, Morgan Park, in the sectional final on Friday. Morgan Park beat Bogan earlier this season.

“We made a mistake in the final thirty seconds last time or we had them beat in our house,” Goodwin said. “This time is going to be a little different.”

Morgan Park knocked off St. Laurence 92-74 in the first game of the sectional semifinal doubleheader.

The Mustangs’ star guards weren’t hitting from outside early in the game, but it didn’t matter. Cam Burrell, a 6-6 senior, absolutely dominated the Vikings in the post.

Burrell finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds and six dunks for Morgan Park (21-9). Illinois recruit Ayo Dosunmu scored 21 points and had seven rebounds and senior Deandre Freeman was excellent, adding 14 points and four rebounds off the bench.

Senior Isaiah Harvey led St. Laurence (20-11) with 21 points. He sat out the entire second quarter after picking up two early fouls. Sophomore Jeremiah Williams continued to flash intriguing potential. He had four points and nine rebounds.

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