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Lakes' Direll Clark (above) shoots between North Chicago's Kurt Hall (left) and Cortez Zimmerman-Dixon during their boys basketball game at Lakes.
Justin Bergeron hit the decisive bucket with eight seconds left and Jake Kohler blocked North Chicago’s final shot from point-blank range at the buzzer as host Lakes beat the beleaguered Warhawks 67-66 in overtime on Friday.
Both teams are now tied at 9-1 in the North Suburban Prairie. Lakes is 18-6 and North Chicago 22-2.
The Warhawks (22-2) played for the first time without five players who were suspended earlier in the day for a violation of school athletic policy. That included leading scorer JaVairius Amos-Mays and key subs Joseph Thoms and Travaris Knox.
Still, after trailing 36-23 at halftime, North Chicago battled back to forced extra time at 58-58.
It came down to the final seconds. Bergeron’s driving shot in the paint completed the scoring and Kohler blocked Jamero Shelton’s bid for victory from in close.
Bergeron finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Kohler added 15 points and 11 boards.
North Chicago got 24 points from JayQuan McCloud, but he was 8 of 32 shooting, including 1 of 14 from behind the arc. Kurt Hall had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Jarrod Coleman had five points and 19 rebounds.
“It was just about everything could want in a high school basketball game,” said Lakes coach Chris Snyder.
At the end of regulation, Lakes’ Troy Swindle drove the lane and hit a floater from 12 feet with eight seconds to go to tie it.
Bergerson said the game-winning play wasn’t designed for him. “It was supposed to go to Jake, and we were going to run a set. But the play broke down and I was in the right place to finish,” he said.
Lakes took command right from the start, as North Chicago played like a team that was completely shellshocked by the suspensions.
It was 36-23 at halftime, with North Chicago shooting 8 of 31 from the field, 6 of 13 from the foul line and 1 of 14 from behind the arc.
But the second was different, as the Warhawks regrouped. Sophomores who were called up contributed, including Jamero Shelton (six second-half points) and Cortez Zimmerman-Dixon (six points).
“It’s very emotional,” said Kohler of the Eagles’ win. “I’ve played North Chicago for three years. It feels like so long since we’ve beaten them. It’s the best feeling in the world right now.”
As for his game-saving block, Kohler said, “I saw them (Hall) drive to the basket and nobody was defending (Shelton). They ran that same play against us last year in the second overtime. I wasn’t going to let it happen again. I dropped back, went up and hoped they didn’t call a foul.”