Cochran’s Heroics Help Brooks Secure Regional Title
The Bulldogs clinched the seventh-grade title on Friday.
Tyler Cochran hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 39 seconds to go and then calmly hit four straight free throws down the stretch to secure a 34-32 victory over Jefferson Junior High Friday afternoon, giving the Bulldogs a 7th grade regional championship.
The Bulldogs (17-1) move on to the IESA Class 7-4A sectionals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Jefferson in Woodridge against Lincoln Middle School of Rockford. The winner advances to the state quarterfinals at 10 a.m. Feb. 8 at Kingsley Junior High in Normal.
Cochran’s scoring spree turned a 27-27 tie into victory. His first free throws made it 32-27 with 18 seconds left. His second pair of charity tosses made it 34-29 with 4.7 seconds left. Jefferson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer wasn’t enough.
Brooks’ full court man-to-man defense kept the Bulldogs in the game early despite hitting just one of their first nine shots. Jefferson (21-3) turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter but used a huge offensive rebounding advantage to take an 8-6 lead.
Marquise Ratcliff (6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 points) and Elisha Armstrong (4 points, 5 rebounds) opened the second quarter with a pair of buckets to spark a 12-3 run that resulted in an 18-11 Brooks halftime advantage. Cochran (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) hit a 3-pointer from the corner during the period.
The Wolverines not only picked up the pace but also cut down on their turnovers in the third quarter, utilizing a 14-3 rebounding advantage to climb back within two of the Bulldogs. A drive by Anthony Thompson (12 points, 3 blocks) was the only tally for Brooks.
The Bulldogs withstood a pair of 3-point plays by Jefferson that gave the Wolverines a 24-22 lead early in the fourth quarter. A Cochran free throw and a basket by Demari Burd (5 points) made it 27-24 Brooks.
Other members of the team include Darius Little, Cedric Ross, Cameron Mitchell, Tayveun Williams, Jeremiah James, Quentin Pringle, Isiah Burd, and Xiaver Tang.
They are coached by Patrick Meginniss and Michael Sedor.