High school basketball: Freshman Jeremiah Fears dazzles in debut but Joliet West loses to St. Louis Vashon

WASHINGTON, ILLUSTRATION — Joliet West freshman Jeremiah Fears had a memorable high school debut, confidently registering 17 points, four rebounds and four steals.

But luck was not with him in the end. He missed a possible three-point winning buzzer and the Tigers lost 61-59 to St. Louis Vashon at the Kevin Brown Memorial Tournament of Champions.

“He exudes confidence and tenacity,” Tigers coach Jeremy Kreiger said. “He led us in scoring in his first game in high school. He embraced the step to take the winner of the match, then walked into the locker room and apologized to his teammates for missing him.

Sophomore Justus McNair, who was also playing his first game in high school after missing his first year with injury, added 16 points for the Tigers (0-1).

Joliet West built a 21-13 lead early, but the Wolverines came back with an 11-0 run in the second quarter. The Tigers returned the ball over 23 times and shot just 6 for 15 from the free throw line.

“As a team you have to value basketball,” Kreiger said. “This is something that we are going to have to improve.”

Junior Jayden Martin scored 16 for Joliet West, who started a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors.

“I’m super proud of the guys considering how young they are and how inexperienced they are,” Kreiger said. “They have faced a national powerhouse and possibly the best team in Missouri over the past few seasons.”

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