2017 Game 15 Recap:  Illini Bluffs vs. Macomb

Box Score

Illini Bluffs Team Info
Macomb Team Info


Illini Bluffs earned its first ever semifinal berth in six years of play at the Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament by fending off a late charge by the Macomb Bombers in a 53-47 decision Friday night.

The fourth seeded Tigers (8-3) became the first seeded team to win in the quarterfinal round after the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds lost earlier in the evening. Illini Bluffs had been 0-4 previously in quarterfinal round games in the tournament.

Illini Bluffs thoroughly dominated the first half. The Tigers out-shot the Bombers (6-6) 62 percent to 33 percent and earned a 6-0 advantage at the foul line in taking a whopping 34-20 lead at intermission.

The Bombers would certainly provide their opponents some anxious moments during the second half of play, however. Carter Fayhee scored seven points in the first five minutes of the second half as Macomb went on a 9-2 run to climb within 36-29.

Brandon Bickers assisted with Xavier Campbell twice for buckets and then converted an old fashioned three-point play with 5:33 remaining to trim the Illini Bluffs lead to 40-37.

Then it was Brock Bower-Preece to the rescue for the Tigers. He canned a pair for three-pointers followed by a pick-pocket steal and foul as Bower Preece, scored seven of his 12 points for the game in the span of 65 seconds.

Illini Bluffs was back ahead 47-39 when Macomb made one last push. Fayhee and Ben Higgins both drained a pair of free throws before back-to-back steals and breakaway lay ups by Fayhee, which brought the Bombers within 49-47 with 1:30 to go.

After Cam Scott of Illini Bluffs split a pair at the line, Fayhee had one chance for the tie, but could not add to his game-high 25 points from long distance. Scott polished off an 18-point effort with two free throws with 19 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.

Illini Bluffs will play at 2:30 pm Saturday against the winner of the game between Brown County and West Hancock. Macomb will take on the loser of that game at 10:30 am.

Brian Sullivan
December 29, 2017
The bracket:
Keep up-to-date on the ever-changing bracket during the tournament by visiting this page.