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ketball game at Lakes High School. | Mark Ukena~FoLakes' Direll Clark keys in on Grant's Ryan Node. | Mark Kodiak Ukena~For Sun-Times Media
With 19 wins in hand and a share of the North Suburban Lake Division title just one victory away, confidence is oozing out of the home locker room at Lakes High School in Lake Villa.
Saturday’s 63-54 victory over improving Grant did nothing to diminish the belief that Lakes — and not state-power North Chicago — can represent Lake County in the Round of 8 Supersectional that is part of March Madness.
Lakes stunned North Chicago in overtime earlier this month to earn a share of the division title, although North Chicago will represent the division in the NSC Championship Game at Stevenson. The Warhawks have the tiebreaker over the Eagles — the margin of victory in the two games between the teams.
Saturday’s game lacked all the emotion of the North Chicago game. Lakes used an 11-2 run early in the second quarter to take control at 23-16, and the lead stayed there for just about the entire rest of the way.
Grant got within 58-52 with 2:12 left, but a layup by Direll Clark and free throws sealed the deal for the Eagles.
Basically, Lakes controlled the game, lost focus in the fourth quarter and then turned it back on to win.
Clark had eight of his 14 points in the fourth period.
“We thought we had the game when we were up [a lot] in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Grant made a nice run on us, but we were able to pick up our defense.
“We feel really confident right now and are ready for a playoff run.”
Eagles coach Chris Snyder was excited to beat a Grant team (12-13) that has been playing great ball for the last two weeks.
“This was a big win,” he said. “It keeps us in position for a chance to share the division. We got a little lazy in the fourth quarter ... we need to finish games a little better than that.”
Grant scored 25 points in the final period.
“Getting to 20 wins before the playoffs wold be a nice mark for the program,” Snyder said. “We need to continue to take one game at a time. I’m happy with the No. 2 seed [behind North Chicago] going into the [Antioch Sectional].”
Clark, Jake Kohler, Troy Swindle and Justin Bergeron each had 14 points for the winners.
Ryan Noda had 18 to lead Grant and Kion Miller added 15.
“We wanted to knock them out of the division race tonight, but we struggled at times, especially in the second and third quarters,” said Bosworth. “The game came down to offensive rebounding. Justin and Jake killed us on the boards.
“We are taking steps forward,” Bosworth added. “I think we can have a nice finish to the season. Kion did a great job for us tonight.”
For the game, Laeks was 22-of-51 shooting while Grant was 18-of-49.