BOYS BASKETBALL: Kankakee, St. Anne victorious; BBCHS, Herscher fall in evening session
KANKAKEE — For 16 minutes, Bradley-Bourbonnais looked like it had just enough offense on Thursday to advance to the winner’s bracket of the 69th annual Kankakee Holiday Tournament.
But that offense sputtered mightily down the stretch, going scoreless in the fourth quarter until a pair of Tyler Webb free-throws in the closing seconds, as the Boilers saw their three-point halftime lead evaporate into a 51-35 loss to Shepard.
“A real poor effort in the second half,” Boilers coach Alex Renchen said. “Turnovers, not executing—we looked pretty lost in the second half.”
The Boilers struggled from the field, shooting just 9-of-34 on the evening (26 percent). But even with the shooting woes, the Boilers were still able to take a 24-21 lead to the locker room.
But the Astros came out of the intermission with a more efficient use for the wealth of lengthy athleticism at their disposal and upped the ante with an intense full-court defense. The end result for the Boilers was 17 second-half turnovers.
“The run and jump (defense) wasn’t a surprise, we’d been working on it,” Renchen said. “We just couldn’t get it done, and give Shepard credit.”
And even then, the Boilers could have still eeked out a victory, as their 1-2-2 defense played well for the most part, led by Deylon Johnson at the point with three steals. But they allowed the Astros to snatch 10 offensive rebounds and efficiently convert them into 15 points.
“It makes a big difference with Deylon (on defense),” Renchen said. “But today, I don’t think we defended well, because we gave up a lot of second shots.”
Gabe Renchen led the Boilers with 19 points, three rebounds and two steals. Johnson added five points, four rebounds, an assist and a block to his team-high three steals.
The Boilers are in action at the tournament today, taking on Champaign Centennial at 10:30 a.m.
St. Anne 52, Herscher 43
In arguably the day’s most intriguing game, the Cardinals came back from a 23-4 deficit to knock off the Tigers by a nine-point margin.
The Cardinals improved to 9-4 and advanced to the small division quarterfinals, while the Tigers fell to 4-8 and moved into the small division consolation bracket.
“Give Herscher credit, they came out and took it to us at the start,” Cardinals coach Rick Schoon said. “But fortunately for us, our kids came out at halftime and played a pretty good 16 minutes.”
The Tigers were routinely able to break the Cardinals full-court press with ease in the early going, with forward Jack Holohan proving to be the main beneficiary.
The do-it-all senior scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first half as he spent the night making life difficult for the St. Anne defense.
“Jack is a point forward; he’s a point guard in the forward position and he makes us so much better because he can bring the ball down,” Tigers coach Ron Oloffson said. “He made so many big plays tonight.”
But similarly to how the Boilers struggled with the Astros’ press in their game, the Tigers eventually succumbed to the daunting pressure. After looking like they would cruise away with a huge upset win, the Tigers found themselves down 30-28 after three quarters and never regained the lead.
“If you stay after it long enough, good things will happen,” Schoon said. “Herscher doesn’t play a whole lot of kids, usually three kids off the bench, so we thought we could get at their legs a bit, and I think we did.”
Arguably the biggest play of the night came at the hands of Connor Cotton. The senior forward, who didn’t see much time because of an illness, powered home one of the most thunderous dunks and converted an ensuing free-throw to spark his team and the crowd, while also pulling the Cardinals to within one point at 28-27 late in the third.
Those were Cotton’s only points of the game, and E.J. Hays scored his only three points of the game on a 3-pointer the next Cardinals possession to give them the 30-28 lead at the end of the quarter.
“That was huge,” Schoon said of Cotton’s dunk. “When he got his dunk down, that energized everybody and brought us to an even higher level than before.”
Mico Sullivan led the Cardinals with 17 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals. Caleb Baines had 11 points, five rebounds and two assists. Jamari Winston, Brooks Schoon and Kemell Bender each had six points.
Logan Lunsford and Blake Ohrt finished tied for second on the Tigers with eight points apiece. Ohrt added 11 rebounds, two steals and three blocks, while Lunsford also had a steal.
The Tigers take on Peotone at 9 a.m. today, while the Cardinals square off with Chicago Christian for a trip to the small division championship game with a 3 p.m. tipoff.
Kankakee 84, Reavis 33
While the Tigers and Cardinals played in one of the most exhilarating games of the day, the Kays had the most lopsided game, outmatching the Rams from start to finish for the 51-point victory.
The win improved the Kays to 9-2 and has them one game away from their second-straight large division championship appearance.
It was Lavell McIntosh who stood out on a team full of standouts on Thursday. The springy forward notched a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, 10 of those boards coming offensively, which helped give the Kays 19 second-chance points.
“I’m always ready,” McIntosh said. “I come here early every day and go to the back (gym) to get some shots up and stretch.”
And while McIntosh led the way for the Kays offensively, it was another junior, guard Kevin Allen, who was the most impressive Kay on the defensive end of the floor.
His six steals and numerous deflections led a Kays defense that turned into offense quickly, scoring 22 points off of 27 Rams turnovers.
“Kevin has shown that he can defend the ball and be that demon that we need defensively,” Kays coach Chris Pickett said. “We pride ourselves on playing defense and he’s done that; he’s active, he has good anticipation and he makes it hard on opposing point guards.”
Darion Binion sunk three 3-pointers and had 17 points, two assists and two steals. Allen had 12 points and three assists. T.J. Wicks and Jacquan Binion had nine points apiece.
The Kays are in action at 7:30 p.m. again today, taking on Lindblom as they attempt to defend their tournament title.