Corliss prefers flying under the radar. Trojans coach Harvey Jones, a former assistant coach at Simeon, isn’t the type to campaign for preseason attention or complain about rankings.
Jones has assembled an athletic, talented group of players that were overlooked or under-appreciated at other schools. His late bloomers are good enough to mount a serious challenge for the Class 2A state title and could be a major factor in the Public League playoffs.
“We are jelling right now,” Jones said. “We have turned the corner at the right time. It took a lot for these guys to get prepared. They are still learning and have a long way to go.”
No. 24 Corliss was running and gunning and dunking on visiting Westinghouse and led by 21 with four minutes to play. An incredible comeback effort, spearheaded by junior Devin Davis, nearly succeeded but the Trojans held on to win 84-82 in the first round of the Public League playoffs on Tuesday.
“We got a little comfortable,” Jones said. “This is the Public League, you can be up 10 and then down 20 the next quarter. [Westinghouse] made a lot of big shots. We knew they shot the ball well. They played tough all the way until the last whistle. We lost in overtime a lot this season and just weren’t able to close games. Now we can.”
Corliss senior Dhashon Dyson, a transfer from UP-Englewood, has developed into one of the city’s best scorers. He finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. Senior Leondre Townsen, an ultra-athletic transfer from Julian, added 22 points and seven rebounds.
“[The transfers] just want the opportunity,” Jones said. “Some of them where very good at the places they started, they were just unrecognized. What makes them different when they come here is that everyone wants to play together, they want to build a tradition at Corliss. Everyone wants to be a part of building something, not just joining one of the big powerhouses.”
Most teams in the city have talented guards. Joseph Doyle, a 6-9 transfer from Kenwood, is the kind of rim protector that few teams in the state have. Doyle is raw, but he plays hard. The senior finished with six points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.
“Doyle has come a long way,” Jones said. “This is his first year playing varsity basketball. He is growing every day, getting tougher and stronger. He is going to fight and rebound and make his presence felt in every game. That was the difference in the fourth quarter.”
Westinghouse scored 39 points in the fourth quarter, 16 came from Davis. He finished with 32 points and seven rebounds. Senior Cinque Simmons had 17 points and 16 rebounds and senior DeShoun Murff added 17 points off the bench.
“Trying to play from behind, 20 points down in the fourth quarter, is tough,” Westinghouse coach Rafie Fields said. We put ourselves in that hole. Some guys stepped up and put us in a position to try to win the game but they were just the better team tonight.”
The Warriors (15-9) won the White-West and will be promoted to the Red-South/West next season. Corliss (15-7) will play at Orr in the second round on Thursday.
“We’re hungrier than a lot of other teams,” Townsen said. “Everyone underrates us so we know we have to keep pushing. We aren’t going to get too big headed, but I think we can go all the way.”
Final minute of Westinghouse at Corliss https://t.co/6SFgzGAYU1
— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) February 6, 2019