CRETE | It wasn't pretty down the stretch, but the Warriors were able to hold on for the win.
Crete-Monee broke a five game losing streak with a 90-80 win over Kankakee in Southland Athletic Conference action. Tyler Williams led the Warriors with 25 points and five steals. Teammate Mike Nelson added 20 points and six rebounds, and big man Brandon Johnson scored 18 and brought down 10 rebounds.
"Us bringing the tempo tonight helped us to get steals," Williams said. "With the tempo we bring, it helps to make them make more mistakes."
The Warriors (12-9, 3-3) trailed by four at the half, but a 17-6 run to start the second half quickly put Crete-Monee ahead. The Warriors outscored the Kays 28-16 in the third quarter to change the momentum of the game. Kankakee was looking to shoot the three all evening, but the Warriors did a good job of defending the three point line, and the Kays managed just six three pointers on the night.
"We were on a five game losing streak, so we just wanted to pick this one up," Nelson said. "The trap was working and we were getting steals and easy buckets."
Crete-Monee committed 25 turnovers in the game, and head coach Tom Cappel was not pleased by the loose play at the offensive end of the floor.
"We scored a lot of points in the fourth quarter, but so did they," Cappel said. "We need some kind of consistency where they run an offense. When we run it, we get easy shots. When we don't run it, we're disconnected."
Down the stretch, the game took on the feel of a tennis match on the hardwood, as both teams exchanged buckets and open layups at either end. The Warriors also made plenty of trips to the free throw line, going 27 of 42 from the charity stripe.
"At the end, it seemed like we were lacking on defense," Williams said. "We just weren't playing at the same tempo that we were playing early. That's just something we need to work on, playing throughout the whole game."
The Warriors are now 3-3 in Southland play and are looking to get prepared for the playoffs and the stretch run.
"I feel like we got off to a slow start plus the five game losing streak," Williams said. "We can pick it back up, I think we just need to run our defense for the playoffs. We can score the ball, we just need to stop our opponents."