Bradley slams Junior Bucs to title

By Wes Holtsclaw

   13-0. Nobody but the University High boys team thought it could be possible during the first half of their season, but the Junior Bucs accomplished the feat in their 68-62 victory over Whitesburg, Kentucky in the championship of the Grindstaff Holiday Classic at VanHuss-White Gymnasium last night.
   Said Junior Bucs coach Tony Gordon: "We've been in these kind of situations this year, but the kids kept their poise. We just kept grinding it out and our defense stayed strong the last three to four minutes of the ball game."
   Although University High fell prey to the sharp-shooting of the Jackets' Bo Cook, they received a dynamite performance from their dynamic duo in twin brothers Matt and John Tillman.
   Matt and John battled back and forth with Whitesburg at the end, assisting Brandon Bradley in clinching the victory for their squad, scoring 16 and 13 respectively.
   "It feels good to go 13-0," said John Tillman, "It's the best that our team has done in a long time.
   "We played good as a team," said Matt Tillman, "At times we struggled, but we came back and played our best ball. I hope we can carry it on into this next half of the year."
   Bradley gave another groundbreaking performance with his five jams that would've sent Dick Vitale crazy en route to his 20 points.
   Both sides of the gymnasium went wild with his one handed reverse slam, and it was memorable for the tournament MVP.
   "It means a lot coming down here and winning it," said Bradley of winning the MVP. "Everybody wanted my neck, I guess, after the first game. But I just kept playing hard."
   The support from other schools meant a lot to Bradley.
   "It felt good to see the support, but as long as we had our fans out there, it was all that mattered."
   Cook led all scorers with 26 for Whitesburg, while teammate Brett Lewis downed 11.
   Gordon believes the tournament will help his squad, but is unsure of a boost.
   "I don't know if we can get boosted any more," he said, "We can play better, and there are areas of our game that we can improve. Everybody improves with you, so it comes down to who improves the most."
   "We've got to be careful and try not to burn our kids out," he said, "We're full of confidence and these guys do a good job of putting it all into perspective. We don't come out cocky, we just punch the clock and go to work."
   University High begins conference action this Friday on the road at Unaka.