Boys Basketball: Thornwood cooks up win over Crete-Monee
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org January 14, 2014 9:36PM
Updated: February 16, 2014 6:32AM
Thornwood coach Paul Slavich had a feeling his team would have a good shooting night Tuesday if Crete-Monee played a zone defense.
The Warriors obliged, and Slavich’s intuition proved correct.
Thornwood buried 12 three-pointers, including seven in the first quarter, and held off a determined Crete-Monee squad 78-73.
The Thunderbirds (11-4) finished 30-of-52 from the field and a sizzling 12-of-22 from beyond the arc.
“I had a feeling if we saw a zone (defense) we’d shoot the ball and shoot it well,” Slavich said. “We do have some kids who can shoot the ball. We’ve been lacking some confidence.”
It didn’t show Tuesday.
The Thunderbirds recorded their second consecutive win without leading scorer Donte Thomas, who suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee and will undergo surgery Friday.
The loss of Thomas, a Bradley recruit, is substantial. However, Thornwood showed it still has plenty of firepower to remain competitive.
The Thunderbirds spread the scoring wealth, with six players reaching double digits. Kaliph Fagan led the way with 14 points, followed by Brian Thomas, Donzel Vinson and Chelby Frazier all with 13, Rashaad Alexander with 11 and Christian Scott with 10.
Alexander contributed two treys on the night, including one from the left corner with 2:22 remaining that gave the Thunderbirds a 73-71 lead. The trey also ignited a 7-0 run, with Frazier and Vinson contributing free throws and Brian Thomas a layup, that made it 77-71 with 18.3 ticks left in the game.
“Coach had called out a play — a play for me to take the shot,” Alexander said. “It was a good shot. It felt good when it went in the net.”
Thornwood found nothing but net much of the first quarter. Vinson drilled three threes to help the Thunderbirds grab a 27-15 lead after one quarter.
To Crete-Monee’s credit, it rallied behind Tyler Williams, Mike Nelson and Brandon Johnson. A three by Williams tied the game at 37 before Thornwood went to the locker room with a 43-40 halftime advantage.
The Thunderbirds led by as many as nine in third quarter, but watched the Warriors (11-5) chip away and eventually take a 64-63 lead on a bucket by Johnson and putback by Williams, who finished with a game-high 24 points. Johnson added 21 points and 10 rebounds and Nelson chipped in with 16 points.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Crete-Monee coach Tom Cappel said. “They fought back.”