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Twice-in-a-lifetime experience

The Oswego East boys basketball team beat Plainfield Central Wednesday at the United Center.
The Oswego East boys basketball team beat Plainfield Central Wednesday at the United Center.
By Dennis Nelson

CHICAGO – Normally, playing a basketball game on the hardwood of the United Center would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.


For Oswego East’s Jay Harris, Wednesday’s Southwest Prairie Conference tilt against Plainfield Central was his second in the house that Michael Jordan built. Harris, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, was a sophomore in 2008 when Oswego East made its first-ever trip to Chicago for an afternoon game in the home of the six-time World Champion Chicago Bulls.

“I played here two years ago and I have the same feelings,” Harris said. “I love it. I love playing on this court.”

Harris scored 20 points in the Wolves’ 65-52 league victory Wednesday. Oswego East has won 14 of its last 15 games, nine in a row in the SPC and sits at 17-4 overall and 9-1 in the league.


“Now, we’re in first place in the SPC, so winning this game was big for us,” Harris said.

“It’s so much fun for the kids,” Oswego East coach Jason Buckley said. “We just saw (Bulls forward) Tyrus Thomas walk on the floor. Their jaws dropped. It’s really cool for them to be here. Years from now, Kelly Garrigus and James Washington are going to tell everybody, I buried a three on the same floor as Michael Jordan. We hope to be able to do this in the future.”

Two years ago, Oswego East beat Plainfield Central 57-50 in the United Center.

“It was great,” Harris said. “I played in the same building Michael Jordan and all the greats played in. It feels good to get a W on the same floor as the Bulls.”

“It’s a great experience for the team,” Plainfield Central coach Steve Lamberti said. “We try to do it every other year for the seniors. Hopefully, the kids enjoyed it, relished it and took it all in.”

“Everybody’s going to remember this and it was great we got everybody in,” Buckley said. “Everybody’s been looking forward to this game for months.”


Plainfield Central (15-7, 6-4 in the SPC) played all 13 of its rostered players and nine of them scored.


“We talked before the game,” Lamberti said. “Michael Jordan played on his floor. (Bulls guard) Derrick Rose and (Magic forward) Dwight Howard are going to play on this floor tonight. It sounds corny, but Alex Stevenson, Nick Merklein, Derrick Marks and the rest of the guys can say they played on this floor. It’s good for the kids. We would have liked to have played a little better, but it was a fun experience for them.”



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