January 17, 2014 || By Mike Helfgot, Special to the Tribune
A talent shortage is rarely a problem at Proviso East.
The leaders of the Pirates’ teams that advanced downstate the last two seasons graduated, and guys such as junior Kalin Fisher have taken their place.
With West Virginia-bound guard Jevon Carter struggling to find a groove and the Pirates trailing Morton during most of their first big West Suburban Gold game of the season, Fisher scored 21 points and ignited the fourth-quarter run that lifted the No. 17 Pirates to a 66-60 victory Friday night in Cicero.
Carter added 17 points. The two combined for 15 of the Pirates’ 19 fourth-quarter points and 14 during a 16-3 run that turned a 50-45 deficit into a 61-53 lead with two minutes remaining.
“Last year I was more of a role player, I did a little of everything,” Fisher said. “It helped me learn how not to be the main focus on the team, kind of take a step back and let the game come to me instead of going out and being aggressive all the time.”
The one thing Proviso East (12-3, 4-0 West Suburban Gold) may not possess is a player to match up with tough, versatile forwards like 6-foot-6 Morton junior Weisner Perez.
Perez (18 points, 12 rebounds) dominated the interior while 6-10 center Detallion Jackson rested for much of the third quarter, but the somewhat raw Jackson returned to make an impact.
Jackson (8 points, 7 rebounds) grabbed four rebounds, blocked a shot and threw a perfect outlet pass for a Fisher layup during the Pirates’ big run.
Senior reserve Josh Funderwhite also gave Proviso East a boost. The forward scored seven of his eight points in the second half, including a pair of tide-stemming free throws after Morton (8-4, 3-1) clawed back with a 7-0 run that cut East’s lead to 61-60 with 59 seconds remaining.
“I thought guys responded great not succumbing to the pressure, because it got really, really loud in here the last minute,” Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce said. “I thought Josh stepped up and played big for us.
“I thought Detallion Jackson played well. That is way we need him to play, to be a presence. Hopefully this win can build some confidence, because we are a young team.”
Player of the game: Kalin Fisher, Proviso East, 21 points, 5 rebounds.
Key performers: Morton — Weisner Perez, 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks; Jarvis Cannon, 16 points, 5 assists. Proviso East — Jevon Carter, 17 points, 3 steals. VFP