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Ty Jackson puts Marian Catholic past Thornton


Marian Catholic Ty Jackson He didn’t grow up loving basketball.

The 6-foot-8 guard/forward, who lives in Crete, said he didn’t even start playing until sixth grade. In fact, he could have played before, but he was a little hesitant about starting the sport.

“I didn’t want to play because I was tall, and I didn’t want to be stereotyped because of my height,” Jackson said. “But I tried it and I really liked it.”

Marian fans were definitely glad she did.

Jackson scored seven points off the bench Tuesday night, including five in the third quarter, as the Spartans defeated the host Wildcats 52-23 in the Class 3A Thornton Regional semifinals in Harvey.

Western Illinois recruiting Madison DavisMarian, who was named the East Suburban Catholic Conference player of the year, led Marian (27-7) with 19 points. Jordan Bailey added seven.

Thornton (20-8) fell behind Phalan Sigers With 12 points.

This will be the third straight regional final appearance for Marian, which will play Thursday at 7 p.m. against Butler (23-10), which beat Providence 65-34. Gabi Bednar He led the Celtics (18-16) with nine points.

Marian’s trainer Dan Murray He said Jackson played varsity as a freshman as part of an eight-player rotation for the Spartans. Now he is the first one off the bench and supports the team every time.

“He’s full of energy, he’s a great defender and his offense is improving,” Murray said of Jackson. “You can see the talent he has and he gave us some great moments.”

Thornton’s Sajda Tyehimba (5) shoots into traffic against Marian Catholic during the Class 3A Thornton Regional semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Harvey. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

Davis remembered his time playing in college three years ago and how difficult it could be.

“He works hard,” Davis said of Jackson. “When you come in as a freshman, nothing is easy and nothing is given to you, especially with the talent on this team.

“It can be difficult to wear the Marian Catholic jersey, but she has worked hard and gained confidence. She has a lot of talent.”

Davis scored 15 of his team’s 25 points in the first half to put the Spartans ahead on Tuesday.

“Obviously he’s done a lot for us,” Murray said of Davis. “Thornton put in a good effort defensively and we got into foul trouble, so Maddie played an important role for us.

“It’s a luxury for him to be able to do so much and come in at that point and play well.”

Two years ago, Davis helped lead the Spartans to their first regional championship since 2014. They won again last season and are looking forward to the treble on Thursday.

Playing in the regional final is becoming a habit that he and his teammates enjoy.

“I think it’s a good thing to get used to,” Davis said. “It’s a lot of fun. The atmosphere and the environment is so fun to be there with your team.”

Marian Catholic’s Madison Davis (23) starts against the host Wildcats in the Class 3A Thornton Regional semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Harvey. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

Davis confirmed the Spartans are planning a potential trip to state. They are 0-2 in the super section the last two seasons.

“I think we’ll change that this year,” he said.

Davis also said he was honored to be recognized as the best player in the conference.

“I worked hard, but my teammates and coaches did a lot for me to win,” Davis said. “None of this is possible without them.”

What makes this even more possible? A talented player in Jackson has come off the bench and produced quality minutes, helping Marian’s depth in the process.

Jackson may have been skeptical of the sport at first, but now he’s convinced.

“When you play basketball, you can forget about everything,” Jackson said. “When you play basketball, it doesn’t matter what happens at home, what happens at school.

“You can get away from it all.”

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.


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