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Crete-Monee puts blemish on Micah Bradford’s big night

Bradley-Bourbonnais junior Micah Bradford was just a few seconds from capping his phenomenal individual performance Saturday with his team’s biggest win of the season. Then Jermiah Matthews happened.

The Crete-Monee junior stole an inbounds pass and scored with 1.4 seconds to play to seal the Warriors’ 82-79 comeback win at the Crete-Monee shootout in Crete.

Warriors coach Tom Cappel said it was a lucky break, but Matthews makes a convincing case otherwise.

“I’m a cornerback on the football team,” Matthews said. “That was an interception. I was watching him, I figured out where he was going to pass it.”

Matthews stole the inbound, made a layup and was fouled. He made the free throw to finish with 11 points. Bobby Parker drained a three with six seconds left to tie the game and set up Matthews’ heroics.

Bradford heaved a halfcourt shot up before the buzzer, a final futile attempt to tie the game. He had been sick with the flu all week, but you would’ve never known it by his performance. The 6-foot proved he’s one of the top players in the state’s 2016 class. He scored a career-high 37 points with six assists and three steals while shooting 12-for-18 from the field.

“He’s for real, I have to give him credit,” Crete-Monee’s Tyler Williams said. “We had heard about him but he lived up to it.”

Williams was the key to the Warriors (6-3). He scored 25 points, 13 in the third quarter as Crete-Monee trimmed the Boilermakers’ 10-point lead to just three.

The Warriors were wild and careless with the ball for most of the game, but suddenly that changed in the final two minutes.

“We knew it was important and we had to slow things down and do things right,” Williams said. “This was a big game. They were undefeated, ranked. We needed this win to set us up for a run at the [McDipper Tournament].”

Bradley’s Zach Hollywood, a 6-8 junior, scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in the first half. He was ineffective in the second half though, with just three points and no boards. Warriors center Victor Curry was a force throughout. He scored 13 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and was a consistent, relentless presence.

Junior Peter Gray added 12 points and five rebounds for Bradley-Bourbonnais (6-1). The Boilermakers play a fluid, fun style of basketball. Crete-Monee was their first real test of the season.

“They are a solid team,” Williams said. “We’ve been up and down this year, but we are starting to come together.”