Josh Aniceto streaked down the court in the final seconds on Wednesday in Bolingbrook. He was a kid on a mission.
“I was just trying to get a stop,” Aniceto said.
The junior guard got a steal, poking the ball loose from a Waubonsie Valley player just past half court. Aniceto found junior Kyan Berry-Johnson on the other side of the court and he laid it in to give No. 13 Bolingbrook a 72-69 comeback win against the Warriors.
Berry-Johnson scored eight points in the final 1:43 to key the comeback. The junior is playing his first varsity basketball this year but has been a star wide receiver for the Raiders for several seasons already.
“Football helped me a lot,” Berry-Johnson, who will be a football player in college, said. “I’m well-conditioned and I know how to play with a lot of guys. And I’m used to the pressure because of football.”
Berry-Johnson finished with 13 points. Junior DJ Strong scored 14 and Mekhi Cooper led Bolingbrook (5-1) with 22 points.
“He provides a level of toughness and intangibles for us,” Raiders coach Rob Brost said. “He’s getting minutes now that we have three guys out and I’m proud of him. We’re lucky he put the pads down for awhile to pick up a basketball.”
Bolingbrook is missing 6-10 Donaven Younger, 6-8 Aries Hull and 6-4 Torrion Harris due to injury.
“We just want to get better, no excuses,” Brost said. “I don’t know if we are ever going to be completely healthy but when we get a little more healthy we will be a lot better.”
Waubonsie Valley (6-1) led for the majority of the second half and had its biggest lead of the game at 61-52 after a free throw by senior Shoi Rathi with 5:38 left to play.
“The fourth quarter defense with our press won it for us,” Aniceto said. “We upped the tempo.”
The Warriors had a chance to tie at the end, pulling off a beautiful play in the final three seconds: the inbounder passed to the free throw line who kicked it into the corner for an open look. But the shot didn’t fall.
Rathi led Waubonsie Valley with 15 points and Eric Chtilianov added 13 points. Sophomore guard Tyreek Coleman was an eye-opener, finishing with 10 points and displaying a solid all-around game.
Watch the final minute of Waubonsie Valley at Bolingbrook: