Montini forward Simmie Cobbs was looking for the right opportunity to put St. Edward away in Friday's Suburban Christian Conference boys basketball showdown.
When Cobbs stole the ball at midcourt late in the fourth quarter and finished the play with an authoritative dunk, he came up with the spark needed to help the Broncos pull away from the Green Wave to capture a 59-44 home victory in Lombard.
Cobbs scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, including 6 points in the final 3:28. Two plays after his turnover dunk, the 6-foot-4 junior soared over a St. Edward player for a highlight-reel slam. Montini (6-1, 2-1 Suburban Christian Conference) outscored the Green Wave 9-4 in the game's final 2:44. Freshman Terrence Williams made 5 free throws during that stretch too.
"I was thinking if we get a big stop, I can get a play to get my team going," said Cobbs, who joined the team this year after transferring from Oak Park-River Forest. "Then we can get the momentum and just end this game faster than it needed to be before the fourth quarter was over and get it out of reach."
The clutch play of Cobbs, seniors Brian Orr, Cameron Roedel and Sean Nash and juniors Tom McGillicuddy and Jack Brady, Williams and others was key in this fast-paced battle. Standout sophomore Matt Brachmann did not play because he has mononucleosis and will be out for at least two weeks. Also, senior captain and all-conference guard Logan Goss went out with an ankle injury late in the third quarter after he was fouled hard on a drive to the basket.
"(Cobbs) knew Logan was hurting and just put the team on his shoulders and said I will carry you guys to the finish line," said Montini coach Brian Opoka. "He had a big steal at halfcourt to get things going. Offensively, he went at guys and went strong. Defensively, he really affects things."
Cobbs was a monster on the glass, especially on the offensive end, where he had 11 of his 17 rebounds. He felt that boxing out and limiting St. Edward's second-chance points was pivotal.
The Green Wave (8-2, 1-1) stayed close for about three quarters but whenever it seemed to make a little surge to try to cut the deficit, the Broncos responded. For instance, Nick Duffy's putback pulled St. Edward within 37-31 with 1:17 to play in the third quarter. On its next possession Montini got those points back and then some as Nash made a 3-pointer and was fouled. He sank the free throw for the rare 4-point play. The closest St. Edward got in the fourth quarter was 10 points.
"Every time we made a little run, they answered," said St. Edward coach P.J. White. "That's what games are for. That's why you play them. You have to give them a lot of credit. They played at a little higher speed and were a lot more aggressive.
"Cobbs is pretty hard to stop. We did not have an answer for him tonight."
The Green Wave was paced by 12 points from Duffy and 10 from Adrian Ponce.