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Grayslake-12/7/12, Fri./Grayslake North High School #2
Visiting Lakes overcame a double-digit first-half deficit to win its fourth straight game, downing Grayslake North 57-54 on Friday in a nonconference matchup.
The Eagles (6-2) will play rival Antioch at home Saturday night.
Though well-played for three quarters — Lakes led 52-50 at that point — the contest bogged down considerably in the final eight minutes, with the teams combining to shoot 2-for-21 from the field and going without a field goal over the final 5:41.
Danny Mateling’s field goal with 7:08 left tied the game at 52-52, and Troy Swindle’s layin (assisted by Justin Bergeron) with 5:41 remaining gave Lakes a 54-52 lead.
From there, Bergeron hit one free throw with 2:23 to play, Grayslake North’s Nick Carmody made two free throws with 2:16 left to make it 55-54, and Direll Clark hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to complete the scoring. Every other possession ended with a miss or a turnover.
In the closing seconds, Grayslake North had a pair of three-point shots for the tie from opposite corners, but couldn’t hit.
“It’s a good win for our guys. On the road against a rival, it’s a good character-building win for us,” said Eagles coach Chris Snyder. “We knew we came out a little flat. We were defending, but we were a step slow in the first quarter.
“They came out on fire, but it was good to see our guys stay the course.”
Bergeron had a team-high 15 points for Lakes, and Clark and T.J. Edwards each had 13 points.
For North, A.J. Fish had a game-high 16 points along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Mateling had 15 points.
Fish had 14 points in the first half, but was stymied by Edwards, who went man-on-man with the Knights’ star in the final two quarters.
“T.J. helped us a lot offensively, but his defense was really key for us,” said Snyder.
Clark likes playing against Grayslake North. The schools are just three miles apart, and some of the middle schools in the area send graduates to both schools. “We grew up going to school together, so it’s a good, friendly rivalry,” Clark said.
For North (3-3), it was the third loss in fourth games.
“It was a great game. Both teams worked as hard as they could,” said Knights coach Todd Grunloh. “We had a lot of things going in the first quarter. Then, (Nick) Carmody picked up his second foul right away and forced us to play without our point guard for something like 12 minutes. That turned out to be huge.
“You notice it when you’re turning the ball over 10 feet from the basket.”
Lakes led 2-0 early, but didn’t regain the lead until a three-quarters court shot by Swindle at the third-quarter buzzer gave Lakes a 52-50 lead.
“You could tell our kids were disappointed,” Grunloh said of the 65-footer. “Our whole message in the huddle was ‘It’s no big deal.’ We had open looks down the stretch, but we didn’t hit.
The first half of the game gave fans an early look at the contrast in the two talented teams.
Grayslake North shot lights out in the first quarter to grab a 23-10 lead.
But Lakes continued to pound the ball inside and got the Knights in foul trouble to pull within 38-34 at intermission.