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Warren's Adrian Deere (right) dribbles past Zion's Trenton Curry. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Milik Yarbrough hit the first of two free throws with 0.8 seconds left to play to give host Zion-Benton a come-from-way-behind 56-55 win over rival Warren on Friday night.
The win moves the Zee-Bees to 8-3 in the North Suburban Lake and 18-5 overall. Warren is 13-10 and 5-6 going into Saturday’s game at Downers South.
Zion chased most of the game and after a couple of late lead changes, pulled even at 55-55 with 1:54 left. After Warren missed with 1:10 to go, Zion held the ball for the final shot. Warren’s sequence included two shots in the paint blocked by Zion’s 6-6 junior Greg Swane and a missed three-pointer by Aarias Austin that was rebounded by Zion’s Trenton Curry.
Then, with the clock winding down, Yarbrough, arguably the county’s best player, fired from long range — his feet were on the arc.
And as he shot, Warren’s Austin clipped him from the side. Yarbrough hit the first of two, missed the second and Warren rebounded.
After a timeout, Austin — who had won games for Warren the last two Friday nights with last-second three-point baskets — could only get off a heave this time that had no chance.
“It (games down to the wire) is something that’s happened a number of times now, so we’re comfortable in these situations,” said Yarbrough. “We know we just have to get the best shot we can and make the most out of our possession.”
Yarbrough finished with a game-high 24 points, and added eight rebounds and five assists. His final assist was to Curry, whose layin with 1:54 left tied the game at 55-55.
“Warren has really improved during the year. They played extremely well in the first half,” said Zee-Bees coach Don Kloth. “We definitely played better in the second half defensively, rebounding and just moving the ball. Fortunately, we had the ball at the end.
“Give Warren a lot of credit, but I am pleased with the way we responded.”
Swane, who is emerging as a force in the middle, is coming off the bench and getting meaningful minutes.
He said this about his back-to-back blocks in the final minutes. “As soon as they went up, I knew I could block the shots so I went for it,” he said. “Every game, I feel my confidence growing. My teammates have done a great job encouraging me.”
Zion’s 13-0 run early in the third quarter completely flipped the script after the first half was owned by Warren.
The Blue Devils led 17-11 after one quarter and 37-25 at the half.
The second quarter ended with Warren on a 6-0 run that was started after Yarbrough missed a dunk.
The only tie of the first half was at 2-2 and Zion-Benton chased Warren until finally catching the Devils at 40-40 midway through the third period.