Friday, Feb. 25, 2011
By Dale Bowman
Behind Greg Mays' 14-point first half, No. 12 Crete-Monee clinched the Southland Conference title with a 58-39 victory over Bloom Friday night in Chicago Heights.
The 6-9 senior paced the Warriors (21-3, 9-1) to a 26-19 halftime lead.
"It was just instinct that took over,'' said Mays, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
"Our last few weeks, he has been phenomenal,'' Crete coach Matt Ryndak said. "He has been active. He is finally getting back to form after three months without contact.''
The Warriors stretched the lead to double digits, 33-21, on a three-pointer by Jamee Crockett (13 points).
"We came out in the third quarter and turned it up,'' Ryndak said. "We rebounded the ball, which let us run a little bit.''
"The last seven or eight games, we have gotten behind, then have to battle back,'' Bloom coach Jasper Williams said.
And the Trojans (15-9, 7-3) did, cutting the lead to 35-33 on a jumper by Johnny Griffin. But then the Warriors held the Trojans without a field goal for the next eight minutes and pulled away.
"We kept our composure,'' Mays said.
And it helped that junior Michael Orris hit a three-pointer and two free throws as the Warriors built their lead back to 40-33 at the end of the third quarter.
"Jamee and Orris were the guys I challenged at the half,'' Ryndak said.
Crete-Monee botched three dunks on the night, two by Crockett and one by Mays.
Jeremy Roberson led Bloom with 12 points, and Dejahown Freeman added seven.
"The last eight or nine games, we haven't been playing Bloom basketball,'' Williams said.