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Sports

Boys Basketball: Jimmy Braddish scores career-high 41 in huge Sandwich rally

Indians storm back from 15 down in final 10 minutes to stun Reed-Custer 89-77

Sandwich junior Jimmy Braddish shoots over a defender Dec. 8 during the game against Coal City at Sandwich High School.
Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com
Sandwich junior Jimmy Braddish shoots over a defender Dec. 8 during the game against Coal City at Sandwich High School. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com

Jimmy Braddish slowly shuffled past Sandwich's bench.

Braddish, his team down 15 points late in the third quarter Friday, was searching for answers. His frustrations showed in his step.

"Are you tired?" questioned his dad, Indians' assistant Jim Braddish.

He shook his head.

Braddish, and the Indians, were actually just getting started.

Braddish scored a career-high 41 points, and host Sandwich stormed back from 15 points down in the game's final 10 minutes for an 89-77 win over Reed-Custer in the Interstate Eight Conference.

Braddish came two points shy of Sandwich's school record. Almost as stunning, he did so playing all 32 minutes against a Reed-Custer team that plays the frenetic Grinnell system with frequent mass substitutions.

"I knew I was tired," Braddish said, "but I was not taking myself out of the game. I was just going to lay whatever I had on the line."

Braddish, a junior guard, twice had scored 37 points before Friday. He had 26 in the first half alone Friday, but Sandwich (8-8, 2-3) trailed 47-42 at the half.

That deficit ballooned to 66-51 with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

From there, though, Sandwich flipped the switch. Bryan Leon's layup capped off a 15-0 run to tie it 66-66. Braddish tied it again, turning a loose ball into his seventh 3-pointer and then fed Luke Bell for the 71-69 lead with 4:45 left.

Sandwich never gave it back.

"Most teams that play Reed-Custer, it's their big guys that score 25 or 30," Sandwich coach Brennan Callahan said. "To have a point guard do that, the kid [Braddish] just had an outstanding game."

And never left the court.

"For us he can't leave the court," Callahan laughed.

Reed-Custer (6-12, 0-6), for nearly three quarters, flustered Sandwich with fullcourt pressure that generated 30 turnovers, and 10 3-pointers. Gavin Grace had six, and scored 25 points.

A key defensive switch turned the tide.

"Before the fourth quarter our coaches decided to go back to our normal defense and that worked," Braddish said. "Our defense for the game was one-on-one no help because [Reed-Custer] relies on the drive and kick and we were getting beat off the dribble. We went back to our normal helpside defense. They couldn't score."

Indeed, Reed-Custer went without a made field over the first five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter during a stunning 27-4 Sandwich run.

"Jim Braddish made the call, to make the defensive switch," Callahan said. "Great call by him. That's why you have assistant coaches. Just a little switch like that and the kids got confident."

The younger Braddish was the star, but he had plenty of help late.

Leon, making his first career start, easily surpassed his career high with 20 points. Eight came in the fourth quarter, as he repeatedly got himself clear for finishes at the rim.

"He's a cool, calm kid – very athletic," Callahan said. "Offensively we started breaking the break and making the right pass."

Bell, who went to the bench late in the third quarter, returned to score all seven of his points in the fourth quarter.

"Luke was a spark," Callahan said. "He got after the rebounds, and finished at the net. I'm really proud of the guys."

Big games are nothing new for Braddish, averaging over 20 points per game coming in.

He made his first five shots Friday, the first four from beyond the arc, but from there was the focus of constant attention and withering pressure defense. Reed-Custer routinely tracked him in the backcourt with two defenders.

Still, Braddish made 12-of-21 field goals, missing a 3-point attempt in the final seconds that would have broken Drew Avery's school record 43 set back in 1992.

"I really didn't know how many points I had until coach was drawing up a play for me to get the record," Braddish said. "It's humbling. I'm just glad that we came back to get the win and executed in the fourth quarter. We showed a lot of heart."

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