By Michael O'Brien
All of No. 4 Andrew from the coach to the players to the fans in the stands knew that Sundays game at Thornwood was a measuring stick. A win in South Holland would go a long way towards validating the Thunderbolts undefeated record.
It was with that pressure on his shoulders that junior Glorind Lisha stepped to the free-throw line twice in the final eight seconds of the game. He made two of four, just enough to seal a 48-45 win over Thornwood.
It was way too stressful, said Lisha. I came up short on one and off to the right on the other.
Jubril Adekoya had a coast-to-coast rebound and floater with 2:01 to play, and then found his older brother Jawad for a dunk with 1:45 to play, giving Andrew a 44-34 lead.
But Thornwood star Darrell Combs scored seven consecutive points to cut the lead to three. Jubril Adekoya made one of two free throws to increase the lead to five, but Combs was fouled on a drive to the basket on the next possession. He made both free throws to cut the lead to three with 12 seconds to play and set up the pressure situation for Lisha.
He had my heart racing missing those two, Jubril Adekoya said. He usually shoots like 90 percent from the line.
Jawad led Andrew with 15 points and four rebounds. Jubril scored 11 and grabbed six rebounds and Lisha scored 12. Mike Bobek contributed eight for the Thunderbolts (16-0, 7-0 SouthWest Suburban Red).
Combs finished with 17 points for Thornwood (12-6, 6- 1) and Khapri Alston added 12points and 14 rebounds.
Im very impressed with Alston, Andrew coach Tim OHalloran said. Any time he doesnt have the ball in his hands Im happy.
Andrews defensive effort was the key in the second half, especially considering Thornwood dominated the boards, out-rebounding Andrew 35-25.
We keyed on Alston in the second half, Jubril Adekoya said. Hes really strong and can get his post position every time.