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Maine South is one win away from its first-ever CSL South title after slaying a hulking giant dressed in purple.
Waukegan (13-12, 5-4) has dominated the Hawks in the last three years, beating Tony Lavorato Jr.’s team in every game since the 2009-2010 season.
But that all changed on Friday night. Maine South (24-3, 8-1) weathered senior Devonte Taylor’s 11 first-half points, took a six-point lead at the end of the third quarter and then held on for a 41-37 victory.
“They beat us by one (in a 45-44 game on Dec. 21) and we felt like we kind of let them have that one,” Maine South senior Danny Quinn said. “It was kind of a tough one and we wanted to focus and treat it like any other game.”
Quinn and fellow senior Frank Dounis were vital in Maine South’s breakthrough victory. Dounis scored a game-high 19 points, while Quinn scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Beyond individual statistics, Dounis hit a pair of free throws with 17.2 seconds remaining to give the Hawks a 39-36 lead.
After Waukegan senior Quintin Davis split his free throws, Quinn grabbed the rebound and was sent to the line. The 6-foot-6 senior drained both of his free throws to put the game out of reach.
Both players had struggled with their free throws before the game’s final 30 seconds – Dounis was 3-of-6 from the line, Quinn was 2-of-5 – but they came through to set up a winner-take-all showdown with New Trier on Feb. 15.
The Trevians, like Maine South, are currently 8-1 in the CSL South.
Lavorato Jr. “always says ‘bend and follow through, bend and follow through,’” said Dounis, on his mentality at the line near the end of the fourth quarter. “I can’t let what happened in the past dictate what’s going to happen in the future.”