It didn’t come easy, but the Bradford boys basketball team held on for a Southeast Conference win over crosstown rival Tremper at the Bradford Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
The Red Devils led 45-30 at halftime and by 18 nearing the midway point of the second half and withstood a furious rally by the Trojans for a 79-76 victory.
“We’re just a young group,” Bradford coach Greg Leech said. “It’s going to be a learning process. I told them, ‘We have to learn how to play with a lead.’ ... We played into their hands by taking quick shots, not necessarily good shots.”
Yet the end result was good enough for the Red Devils to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in SEC play.
“When you’re young like this, every win is important, because it gives the kids confidence that they can do this in critical situations,” Leech said.
Bradford’s Max Glass scored a game-high 29 points, Tanner Hurley scored 12, DaQuantae Sawyer added 11 and Jake Sykora and Will Darden chipped in 10 apiece.
Jake Gross led Tremper (1-4 overall, 0-3 SEC) with 22 points, Zayshan Coleman scored 21 and Jyon Young had 19.
“I was really proud of our effort in the second half, with the great and character we showed to fight back into it,” Tremper coach Ben Chamness said. “We have just been talking to our guys about playing 36 minutes with that intensity. We’ve just been playing like that in spurts, and we dug ourselves a hole.
“... We believe we’ve got to do it through the defensive side of the ball.”
According to Leech, Sykora was the game’s unsung hero.
Glass exited the game with several minutes left after injuring his ankle, and Sykora stepped up with some key plays, including a rebound and a free throw to seal the win.
The Trojans whittled the lead down to 78-76 and had the ball, but Trey Cardona came up empty on a floater, Sykora grabbed the rebound and made 1-of-2 free throws with 1.8 seconds left.
“We could not have done this tonight without Jake Sykora,” Leech said. “He doesn’t get consistent minutes, and he got an opportunity, and he was ready for us.”
Gross got a shot off beyond halfcourt at the buzzer that Leech said had a chance but bounced off the backboard as Bradford hung on.
Indian Trail 67,
Racine Case 63
Junior guard Jeremiah Suber scored a game-high 17 points to help the host Hawks hand the Eagles their first loss of the season.
Indian Trail outscored Case 36-31 in the second half to improve to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Southeast Conference.
Ezra Stargell added 15 points for the Hawks. Arlind Zemaj hit four of Indian Trail’s nine 3-pointers for 12 points. Clayton Bishop and TJ Fullilove each scored nine points.
Jakobe Thompson paced the Eagles (3-1, 1-1) with 14 points, while Jayvian Farr added 13.
Martin Luther 79, Shoreland Lutheran 43
Sawyer Smith led the host Pacers with 18 points, but Martin Luther — ranked second in Division-3 in the latest WisSports.net state coaches poll — breezed to the Metro Classic Conference win to remain unbeaten at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference,
Shoreland, which has lost four straight, dropped to 1-4 and 0-4.
Quentin Bolton had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, while Brandon Freitag chipped in six points.
Martin Luther’s Trequan Carrington led all scorers with 21 points.
St. Catherine’s 88,
St. Joseph 48
The visiting Lancers couldn’t keep pace with the Angels in a Metro Classic game.
St. Catherine’s, ranked third in Division-3 in the latest WisSports.net state coaches poll, improved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference. St. Joseph dropped to 2-3 and 0-2.
Tim Berry scored 16 points to pace the Lancers.
“Our coaching staff is proud of the way our players responded to one of the toughest teams in state,” St. Joseph coach Brandon Morris said. “We showed some heart, some toughness and grit at times.
“Our biggest challenge is to find a way to put all of those together for a full 36 minutes. We believe our players will find a way to meet that challenge.”
Heritage Christian 73, Christian Life 32
The host Eagles were led by Austin Eifert’s 18 points in the Midwest Classic Conference defeat.
CLS dropped to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the conference, while Heritage Christian improved to 2-3 and 1-2.
Scott Koker and