Boys basketball: Bradley-Bourbonnais too much for Lincoln-Way East

Trio of scoring runs by opponent doom Griffins

Lincoln-Way East logo

BRADLEY — It was a situation of wrong place, wrong time for Lincoln-Way East on Friday.

The Griffins were looking to bounce back from a somewhat surprising loss to Andrew earlier in the week. But Friday night’s opponent, Bradley-Bourbonnais, was still riding the wave of momentum from its massive win over the state’s top-ranked Class 4A team, Homewood-Flossmoor on Tuesday.

And as such a confident Boilermaker squad asserted its will from the opening tip in earning a 56-42 SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover victory over the Griffins.

“They (Bradley-Bourbonnais) are an excellent basketball team,” Lincoln-Way East coach Rich Kolimas said. “They have four seniors out there and then big fella (Nick Allen) is a junior. “They are very skilled and they are hard to guard. They play extremely well together and they are coming together and playing with confidence.”

“They punched us in the mouth early. We came back but it was it was hard for us to sustain whether we tried zone or man-to-man defense.”

Bradley (15-4) jumped out of the gates by scoring the first seven points of the game as the Griffins were held off the board for nearly half of the first quarter before Brendan Sanders got Lincoln-Way East in the scorebook with a 3-pointer.

The Griffins slowly started to catch their footing, but Bradley seemed to be able to counter almost anything by getting the ball in the post to the 6-foot, 10-inch Allen, who finished the first quarter with eight of Bradley’s 15 first quarter points and the Boilermakers held a 15-13 lead after one frame.

Lincoln-Way East (15-6) showed a big spark to start the second quarter. After surrendering a 3-pointer to Ethan Kohl to start things, the Griffins rattled off the game’s next seven points and Brent Taylor’s pull-up jumper gave Lincoln-Way East its first lead at 20-18.

It turned out to be the first and last lead for the Griffins.

Spearheaded by a strong sequence from Anthony Kemp (team-high 19 points), Bradley scored the next 10 points of the game to establish a comfortable lead one, which wouldn’t really be challenged the rest of the way.

“We’re a young team. And they are not,” Kolimas said. “In boys, two years difference is gigantic. We’ve been able to out-quick a lot of teams. But not these guys. They were able to use their strength and put it on us and we struggled with that.”

Bradley started the second half with by scoring the seven of the first nine points of the third quarter, but Lincoln-Way East managed to put together one more push to make it appear a rally might be possible. Karson Thomas was a one-man wrecking crew in the third quarter, scoring nine of his game-high 20 points. the last of those coming on a traditional three-point play that pulled the Griffins to within six.

But Kemp and Allen would score the last two baskets of the third quarter to extend the lead back to double digits and it would never dip below that barrier for the game’s final eight minutes.

“The best thing about what we’re doing right now is executing game plans,” Bradley-Bourbonnais coach Ryan Kemp said. “Any adjustment that we make they are just doing. And the beautiful thing about it is that they actually have a ton of information for us and it’s coming a lot from them and that’s when we started getting good because the players on the floor are noticing what has to get adjusted.”

After getting its seven-game winning streak snapped by Bloom on January 11, Lincoln-Way East has gone just 3-3. But Kolimas isn’t ready to sound any alarms.

“We’re 15-6 and I’ve got three sophomores and two juniors out there,” Kolimas said. “This was a good lesson for us tonight. It’s just about maturing and getting better and getting ready for the stretch run here.”