CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Samson wouldn't have taken the risk.
But, Tyler Williams showed up for the start of Crete-Monee's basketball postseason with a fresh haircut Monday, and he lost none of his strength as a 3-point shooter, his five treys helping to lift the Warriors past Lincoln-Way East 71-55. Crete (15-12) advanced to an 8 p.m. semifinal today in the Bloom Township Class 4A Regional against Joliet Central.
In Monday's early contest, Plainfield South beat Washington 81-42. The Cougars (15-12) face Bloom Townhip at 6 p.m. today in the first semifinal.
"I wanted something new," Williams said of his short-cropped look. "It's a nice, clean cut."
The Warriors did not trim the Griffins (6-20) so neatly from the postseason, watching a 19-point lead entering the fourth quarter shrink to nine in barely three minutes. But with Williams hitting the first four of nine Crete free throws in the quarter, the Warriors held on.
Williams also keyed Crete's 3-point barrage that spanned the first and second quarters, when the Warriors made five straight from beyond the arc to go from trailing East 13-7 to leading the Griffins 22-15.
After missing his first two 3-point attempts, and his first five shots overall, Williams finished with a game-high 25 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 from the line. He was 5 of 8 from long range.
"He's shooting about 35-percent shooter from out there," Crete coach Tom Cappel said. "He's a legitimate 3-point shooter."
"I was a little bit anxious to play," Willams said of his slow start, "and I had to get used to the rims."
The Warriors didn't have much choice. East's didn't leave a lot of options.
"The way they came out in that zone, they were really forcing us to shoot," Williams said.
So they shot. For the game, the Warriors shot better from 3-point range (10-of-16, 63 percent) than they did overall (21-of-40, 53 percent).
Bobby Parker was another of Crete's ranking marksmen, making 3 of 5 3-pointers en routed to 12 points while also pulling down 12 rebounds. Mike Nelson and Brandon Johnson added 11 points each.
"That's the hardest they've played in a while," Crete coach Tom Cappel said. "We'll find out (Tuesday) if they've got anything left in the tank."
Lincoln-Way East seas led by Jake Attar, who came off the bench to score 14 points — eight of those in the fourth quarter. Austin Winkler added 11.