BBCHS three-peats as 4A regional champions
BRADLEY — In its final game inside Donald K. Turner gymnasium, Bradley-Bourbonnais did what it does best.
With the season on the line, the Boilers not only defended their home floor but kept the hardwood inside the doors of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School with a 67-52 victory in a Class 4A Regional final over Moline, the team’s third-straight regional championship.
“This title is definitely special,” senior forward Mikayla Brandon said. “We weren’t even expected to get pasted Normal in the second game and in the previous two years, we’ve never had to play in a play-in game to compete for the title. The expectations were completely different because we had a longer road to regionals so it’s a greater feeling to win.”
Ball movement and timely passes were key to the Boilers’ fast start. The signature press defense also played a part by forcing eight first-quarter turnovers, which turned into 10 points for the Boilers.
Camryn “Feisty” BeDell took control of the ball and dished out a couple early assists, including a no-look pass to Arianna Lombardi for a 3-pointer from the left corner that put BBCHS ahead 10-2.
Controlling a 24-17 lead early in the second quarter, Brandon picked up her second foul that relegated her to the bench, but the Boilers kept the offense moving.
BeDell dished out a couple more dimes, Zoie Langlois came up with a couple steals and finished on the other end with lay-ins. Evey Evans and Lombradi each buried a 3-pointer and BBCHS controlled a 30-23 lead in the break.
“We’re not the most talented team or the most skilled team there is,” BeDell said. “But we all work extremely hard and we mesh so well as a team on and off the court that it makes the game a little easier for us.”
Moline began to make its push midway in the third quarter as it strung together an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 38-34. But Evans buried back-to-back 3-pointers raising the lead back to 10 points and BBCHS led 51-45 into the fourth.
“It’s the same story with us, the game is never pretty,” Bradley-Bourbonnais coach Evan Tingley said. “We had spells where we shot the ball really well, but all goes back to our belief that we can play with anyone defensively and this game proved it.”
As time began winding down, Moline made one final push and trimmed the lead to 57-52 with 2:31 left.
BBCHS called timeout and that’s when the turning point happened.
When play resumed, Moline received a technical foul for having six players in the play. That shifted all momentum and the Boilers ended the game on a 10-0 run for the championship.
“There’s not another gym in the state of Illinois that looks like this one and was as loud as this one,” Tingley said. “That’s a testament to this community and how they rally around these kids. We couldn’t have done this without the support of the community and our students showing up and being as loud as they were.”
Brandon finished with a game-high 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Langlois followed with 15 points and four rebounds.
Evans posted 13 points and four rebounds while Lombradi added nine points and four rebounds.
Bradley-Bourbonnais takes on the winner between Rock Island/Normal West on Monday in Class 4A Sectional at Champaign Centennial.