KANKAKEE | Just when it looked like Momence had momentum going its way, Illiana Christian slammed the door.
A 10-0 fourth-quarter run and clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch helped the Vikings hold off the Redskins, 65-61, in the small-school division of the Kankakee Holiday Tournament on Thursday.
Illiana Christian (5-5) led by 10 at halftime but saw its advantage reduced to 42-40 with 7:32 remaining. The Vikings responded by scoring 10 straight and holding the Redskins (3-6) scoreless over the next four minutes.
The Vikings went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final minute to close out the game.
"We have been stressing (finishing strong) a little bit," Illiana Christian coach Tom Roozeboom said. "The last few games where we came up short, we've had a chance to take a lead and failed. ... I credit our guys for getting in the right spots and knocking down some free throws at the end."
Caleb Jonkman scored 22 points to lead Illiana Christian, including nine in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings never trailed but needed every point with the Redskins nipping on their heels.
Momence climbed back within three points twice in the final minute but couldn't overcome a slow start caused by a lack of aggressiveness.
Tony Greenwood scored a team-high 19 for Momence, with 12 coming after the break. Allen Cook scored 12 points and had four assists, and freshman Dazhee Horton added 10 points in his first varsity contest.
Aaron Cantwell flirted with a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds but didn't score in the second half and fouled out with 3:30 remaining.
"The first half, our set half court defense was pretty good, but we let them get in transition too much and let them offensive rebound too much," Momence coach Ben Sikma said. "The second half, we did a much better job of taking care of the ball and keeping them out of transition. We still gave them too many offensive rebounds. If we take those away, we have a chance to win in the end."
Matthew Zandstra finished with nine points and Chad Ketelaar had eight for Illiana Christian, which was in familiar ground with a tight game down the stretch.
Roozeboom pointed to that experience as a reason the Vikings overcame late adversity.
"That's just been our year this year," he said. "We really haven't had any runaway games and have given up leads. It's been a dog fight for us."