Boys Basketball: Josh Williams leads Yorkville to win over Streator
Led by Josh Williams’ all-around play, Yorkville posted a 74-68 victory Saturday night over visiting Streator in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference crossover match.
Both teams entered the game with 13-5 overall records and boasting two of the league’s top offensive performers, and neither disappointed.
J.J. Cravatta had a game-high 31 points in leading Streator, which sports a 4-2 record in the West Division, while Williams had 21 for the host Foxes, 3-3 in the East.
However, Williams made the most of his supporting cast and contributed in every manner from starting the contest with back-to-back three-pointers, to hitting 7-of-10 free throws, snaring eight rebounds, blocking two shots, and dishing off four assists.
“Williams certainly came to play tonight,” Streator coach Beau Doty said. “He’s a load to handle, and then he drains those two threes to start the night, plus he has the moves in the post and can alter shots.”
Trailing 23-19 after one quarter, the Bulldogs pulled to within one (26-25) before Yorkville went on a 12-0 run en route to a 43-33 halftime lead. Streator narrowed the gap to four on two occasions during the third quarter, but Williams had seven of his points early in the final frame to keep Yorkville ahead. Thanks to some inconsistency at the charity stripe, the Foxes were unable to shut the door on the Bulldogs until the final minute.
“All week I worked on stepping up my game,” Williams said. “I haven’t played to my potential and coach kept telling me that nobody can stop me as much as I can stop myself. Most important is the win, but I want to contribute any way I can, with field goals, threes, rebounds, blocks, steals or assists.”
Yorkville coach Dan McGuire was glad to see his 6-foot-6 senior come on strong, but was equally pleased with his team’s overall play.
“This was a good win because we played good team basketball, very unselfish,” McGuire said. “We knew Cravatta would get 25 or 30, so we wanted to keep the others, like (Micah) Swagert, (Brock) Armstrong, and (Ryan) Nagle in check. Last year at their place, Armstrong killed us. We need Josh to have more confidence in his game. At 6-6, teams fear him and he has to capitalize on that.
I thought he and all the guys made better decisions in the second quarter and our three-quarter court pressure was also a key.”
In addition to Williams’ 21, Yorkville had 12 from Cody Bailey, 10 from Brandon Holmes, nine from Stephen Jones, eight from Derek Piszczek and seven from Brett Assell.
“This was a big weekend for us beating Morris and Streator, and it was nice to sweep Streator after they took two from us last year,” Piszczek said. “The key for us was to pick up our intensity, have a little extra execution on offense and rotate on defense.”
While Cravatta’s 31 included six three-pointers including an NBA-plus range trey late in the fourth quarter, Streator had 18 from Wes Hall while the next closest to twin figures was Nagle with seven.