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Libertyville win upstages Mundelein’s Knar

02/08/2013, 11:32pm CST
By P.J. Bonato

The Libertyville players, mired in the midst of a miserable season, have suddenly regrouped, and their 87-80 win over visiting Mundelein on Friday was the second big victory in the last few weeks for the 4-18 club.

Mundelein Senior Chino Ebube brings in a nice lay up against Libertyville's Varsity Basketball team. | Mark Ukena~For Sun-Times Media

As things turned out, Mundelein star guard Robert Knar isn’t the only player on the comeback trail.

The Libertyville players, mired in the midst of a miserable season, have suddenly regrouped, and their 87-80 senior night win over visiting Mundelein on Friday was the second big win in the last few weeks for the 4-18 club.

Last month, Libertyville knocked off Zion-Benton, a result that is likely going to cost the Zee-Bees a shot at the NSC Lake title.

Still, the evening belonged to Knar, who saw his first meaningful action in a prep contest since the Mustangs lost to Warren during March Madness of 2012.

Knar, a four-year varsity player, would have ended his prep career as the all-time leading scorer in Lake County boys basketball history if he hadn’t torn his ACL last summer. Friday night was the first time he touched the ball in a game, as he played the final four seconds of Mundelein’s last game standing behind the three-point arc as a decoy.

This time, he was a player. When he checked into the game for the first time in the first quarter, he received a standing ovation for a crowd that was partial to Libertyville.

He missed his first three shots in the first period, and then sat out 4:25 was left in the second quarter. That’s when he went to work, draining a three-ball for his first points of the season and then hitting another from long range before resting for the remainder of a half that ended with Libertyville up 37-34.

For the game, Knar finished with 12 points, hitting four three-pointers. He needs another 12 points Saturday against Zion-Benton to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, passing Kyle Kessel to become No. 4 on the county’s all-time list.

The result had to make the evening bittersweet for Knar. He was 4-of-10 shooting. Senior star Sean O’Brien led Mundelein 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Chino Ebube added 24 points and had four dunks.

Said Mundelein coach Richard Knar — Robert’s father — after the game: “After the first couple of shots, I didn’t know if he was going to make one or not. He was shooting too relaxed, but he started to figure it out. He’s going to play in two-minute spurts and is playing the’3’ for us.”

Knar played 2:28 in the first quarter, 2:32 in the second, 2:11 in the third and the final 2:26 of the game.

“Once I finally hit one, I felt elated,” Robert said. “The rest of the game felt good. I’m proud to finally get to this point and get back out there.

Robert’s doctor and physical therapist were both at the game and checked him out thoroughly.

As for the loss, the coach offered this analysis: “We didn’t play well tonight. We came out tight and weren’t able to get over the hump. Give Libertyville credit. They knocked down their shots. The kids played hard but we weren’t focused tonight.”

Matt Reed had a huge game for the winners. He was 8-of-8 from the field, including five three-pointers and scored 25 points. Sophomore Joe Borcia added 18. Libertyville was 33-of-63 from the field.

“We’ve been playing better over the last few weeks and we were on fire tonight,” said Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil. “I can’t say enough about our seniors. Everyone has worked extremely hard and this was a great win.”

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