CRETE | It was a night when it seemed that everything that needed to happen for Crete-Monee to get a win was happening.
Crete-Monee limited Rich South to four points in the first quarter, held leading scorer Bryce Lydon scoreless until the final two minutes of the game and were able to feed the ball inside for easy baskets at will.
But in what has become the norm in the second half of the season, the Warriors (14-12, 5-5 Southland Athletic Conference) lost intensity early in the second and fourth quarters and allowed the Stars to take control of the game and a 65-60 win.
“We hurt ourselves more than anything tonight,” Warrior’s coach Tom Cappel said. “Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy; we were a little selfish out there.”
After taking a 9-4 lead into the second quarter all the energy seemed to leave the Warriors who allowed Rich South (11-14, 4-6 Southland Athletic Conference) to open the second quarter on a 12-2 run seizing the momentum along the way.
“We tried a new starting five tonight,” Junior forward Mike Nelson said. “We started a little slow offensively in the first half and it cost us.”
After falling behind 31-22 early in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with an 11-2 run of their own to tie the game at 33 and took the lead 40-39 moments later behind 6-foot-8-inch center Rashad Lee who had seven of his game-high 14 points and four rebounds in the quarter.
The Stars had no answer for Lee inside using three different players and 13 fouls to try to slow him down as the Warriors continually fed him the ball in the second half.
Lee’s scoring total could have been higher as he found his way to the line six times on the night, but converted only 4 of 10 free-throws.
“Rashad played well tonight,” Cappel said. “But I had to sit him in the fourth quarter because he didn’t hit the free-throws.”
Rich South used another run in the fourth quarter to open a 10-point lead with just over three minutes to play, but the Warriors still had one push left in them.
Senior Guard Tyler Williams scored seven points in a 45 second stretch to cut the lead to four points, but with the Warriors forced to foul, the Stars hit 5 of 6 free-throws down the stretch to take home the victory.
“We didn’t play together very well,” Cappel said. “It seems like we have a different team show up on different nights, we’ve got Lincoln-Way East on Monday, so we’ll see who shows up.”