Breakout junior Nick Allen’s game-winning basket leads Bradley-Bourbonnais past Andrew

Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Nick Allen (15) controls the ball as Andrew’s Grantas Sakenis (42) defends.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The junior class has some sought-after college prospects at the top, but depth is lacking across the state. Expect a low amount of players from the Class of 2025 to sign with Division I schools in November. That’s becoming a trend, and it could last until the Class of 2026 steps up. 

But there has been one junior breakout this season: Bradley-Bourbonnais forward Nick Allen. 

The 6-10 junior has flashed the athleticism and potential college coaches look for while producing major numbers and leading his team to big wins. 

“He’s been dominant all year,” Boilermakers senior Anthony Kemp said. “Whenever he’s within five feet of the basket, no one is stopping him.”

Allen has picked up offers from multiple colleges, including Loyola and SIU. Don’t be surprised if even bigger names start getting involved. 

“It’s a little stressful getting this attention, but for the most part it’s just a lot of fun,” Allen said. 

Allen made the game-winning basket in Bradley-Bourbonnais’ 48-46 victory against Andrew on Friday in Tinley Park. He had 25 points and seven rebounds. 

The Thunderbolts tied the game on a layup by Athan Berchos with 20 seconds left, but a blink of an eye later, Allen was scoring on the other end.

“That’s all due to Gavin [Kohl],” Allen said. “He got it down quickly.”

Andrew had a chance to tie or win the game on its last possession but couldn’t get a shot off after inbounding with 0.5 seconds left. 

The Thunderbolts (15-10, 4-2 Southwest Suburban Red) led by 11 early and by six at halftime. Bradley-Bourbonnais (16-6, 3-3) took control with a 10-0 run in the third quarter. 

“We started just kind of in the same funk we were in the last two games, but then we finally shook it off, kind of, at the end of the second quarter and played well in the second half,” Allen said. 

The Boilermakers are a difficult team to judge from afar. Last week, they beat two ranked teams, Homewood-Flossmoor and Lincoln-Way East. They followed that up with losses to Stagg and Lincoln-Way West. 

“We’ve shown we can play at that high level,” Bradley-Bourbonnais coach Ryan Kemp said. “It’s hard to get there. But then it’s hard to stay there. That’s something we are going to be chasing. We want to be playing well now at the end of the year.”

Anthony Kemp, the coach’s son, scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds. He has been putting up big scoring numbers and opening the eyes of the college coaches who show up to see Allen. 

“The win against H-F was so big,” Anthony Kemp said. “It really opened the eyes of people at our school and all over. The turnout we had for the Lincoln-Way East game was just crazy. We always have a nice crowd, but the energy since we beat H-F has been different.”

Andrew started the season 12-2, and then 6-10 Grantas Sakenis missed five weeks with an injury. This was his first game back. He had six points and nine rebounds and slowed Allen significantly for the first 10 minutes. 

Berchos led the Thunderbolts with 18 points, and James Gallagher added 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

“We have two overtime losses, and we’ve lost three games by one point,” Andrew coach Justin Stirn said. “The kids have nothing to hold their heads about. Now we have [Sakenis] again, and we have to get back to where we were when he went down, but we are in a good spot heading into the stretch run.”

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