By THE HERALD-WHIG
CARROLLTON, Ill. -- Standing in the locker room after his team's victory Saturday night, Todd Bradshaw had one question for his team.
"Did anybody really believe we would be going on the bus ride home with a title?" Bradshaw asked after the fifth-seeded Tornadoes dispatched No. 2 Carrollton 82-69 for the championship of the Carrollton Holiday Tournament.
Before they replied, he asked for honesty in their reply.
"There wasn't one person who thought it would happen," Bradshaw said. "When you look at our record and our slow start to the season, going into the week we probably thought we should have been beaten.
"We didn't have any confidence at all."
The tide shifted Thursday night when the Tornadoes rallied from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter to come back and beat Roxana 61-59. Roxana was then 10-1 while the Tornadoes were 2-8.
"To come back and beat that type of team gave us confidence to go against a team like Carrollton on their home floor," Bradshaw said. "That gave us confidence to play relaxed tonight. After beating them, we feel like we can beat just about anybody."
Griggsville-Perry (5-8) jumped out early against Carrollton, which placed second in the last season's Class 1A state tournament.
"I think they took us for granted," Bradshaw said. "We played good defense and defense leads to offense."
Matthew Kennedy scored 14 of his 23 points in the first quarter as the Tornadoes rumbled to a 27-17 lead.
"When (Kennedy) wants to run the floor and play hard, it's hard to catch him," Bradshaw said of his senior. "He got a headstart and got a lot of breakaway layups. The fast start was the key to the whole game."
The Tornadoes built on to their lead in the second quarter, limiting Carrollton to seven points while scoring 16 of their own. Griggsville-Perry was ahead 64-44 heading into the final period.
Griggsville-Perry hit 13 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter was 21 of 27 in the game. Dryden Craven was 7 of 8 from the line in the final period.
"(Free-throw shooting) has been one of our strengths," Bradshaw said. "At the start of the year we had too many turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds, but now we're starting to build that chemistry. We can be a pretty tough team to beat."
Craven led all scorers with 26 points and Kennedy added 23. Both were named to the all-tournament team. Hayden Bradshaw scored a career-high 17 points for the Tornadoes.
"We are finally getting contributions from others," Todd Bradshaw said. "(Hayden) stepped up and had a huge game for us. We have a whole team of guys contributing.
"We were 1-8 at Christmas and are 5-8 at the New Year. Things can change in the blink of an eye."