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Crete-Monee’s Jayden Preston gets ready to make a move against Lindblom on Jan. 28. Photo by Jeff Vorva


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By Jeff Vorva

Crete-Monee’s boys basketball team has had a rough go this season after starting out with a promising 3-0 record.

A four-game losing streak that started in mid-January helped give the Warriors a 9-13 record and seven of those losses were by 10 or fewer points.

But things have turned around a little for the Warriors as they inch closer to the break-even point. They entered this week’s action with a 12-13 record including a huge 71-67 triple overtime victory over Lindblom Jan. 28 at the Chelby Frazier Shootout at Thornwood High School in South Holland.

What’s remarkable about that marathon win was that Lindblom was full of confidence after beating Curie, 73-66, on Jan. 23. Curie was ranked first in the Associated Press in Class 4A at the time.

After the game, sophomore guard Zyheir Gardner proclaimed, “Crete is here!”

Jyaveion Green had 15 points to lead the Warriors

Coach Jawan Nelson likes the way the team is heading.

“We want to be playing our best basketball in February and we’re heading in the right direction,” he said. “It’s all about getting better. Last year, most of the kids struggled so getting big wins is good. Building that momentum and that confidence is big.

“These kids have competed a lot more than they did last year. I pushed the guys pretty hard to be on that level and they are definitely responding in a positive way.”

There were several times in the Lindblom game that the Warriors could have lost. But red-hot free throw shooting not only kept them from losing, it helped them win.

“We’ve struggled from the line and I intensified our free throw shooting in practice,” Nelson said. “We could have won the game in regulation against Rich Township (a 62-56 overtime loss on Jan. 23). There was .8 seconds on the clock, and we missed two free throws and in overtime, we couldn’t score.

“We’ve really been emphasizing making free throws and closing games. Down the stretch, our guys did really good.”

Last one standing

Beecher’s boys basketball team was the last in the state with an unbeaten record.

Beecher, Byron and Waubonsie valley were the last three teams in Illinois with perfect records and Beecher was scheduled to take on Byron on Feb. 5.

But both Byron and Waubonsie Valley lost over the weekend, leaving Beecher as the last team without a loss.

The Beecher/Byron game took place after the Vedette’s deadline, but no matter what the result was, it’s hard to imagine that the Bobcats will not pick up the No. 1 seed in the sub-sectional B portion of the Class 2A Clifton Central Sectional.

Seeds will be announced on Feb. 8.

Girls basketball seeds

Peotone drew the top seed in the sub-sectional B portion of the Class 2A Iroquois West Sectional.

Manteno was seeded third and Beecher nabbed with seventh seed.

In Class 3A, Crete-Monee drew the ninth seed in the Thornton Sectional.

Regional quarterfinals open on Feb. 10.

Threesport Saint

Beecher graduate Kaylie Sippel was already a rare breed when she was a two-sport athlete with the University of St. Francis – volleyball and softball.

Because the Saints were starting to get a little low on numbers, Sippel was asked to also play basketball at the Joliet school.

She made her Saints debut in a 62-53 road loss to Indiana Northwest on Jan. 27 and had two rebounds in six minutes.

Sophomore Zyheir Green prepares to connect on two free throws in the third overtime of an upset over Lindblom on Jan. 28 at a shootout at Thornwood High School. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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