Darius Paul nearly had a Brandon Paul moment.
Instead, two other talented basketball siblings provided the heroics, as Lake Forest Academy held off Warren 57-53 in the opening game of North Chicago's Thanksgiving tournament Wednesday night.
Rice-bound guard Dylan Ennis scored 23 points and his sophomore brother and fellow guard Tyler Ennis added 20 to lead Lake Forest Academy, which rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit.
"I was happy with the way they responded," coach Matt Vaughn said of his Caxys. "I got into them a little (at halftime) and just said we got to compete. In the first half we kind of sat back and that was partly my fault and partly their fault for not being aggressive enough."
Despite trailing by 7 points with 2:43 left, Warren showed no quit, as Kendall Harris sank three baskets in 50 seconds. The Blue Devils had to chance to force overtime or win in regulation after LFA turned the ball over at midcourt with 15.9 seconds to go.
Darius Paul ended up taking a 3-pointer from the right wing with five seconds left, but his shot was just off target. The Caxys got the rebound, and Dylan Ennis' 2 free throws provided the final margin.
A Paul jumper in the closing seconds is nothing new for Warren. Brandon Paul, Darius' brother and current University of Illinois sophomore, provided many late-game thrills for the Blue Devils during his high school career.
"That was a good shot," Warren point guard Jameris Smith said of Darius Paul's 3 attempt. "He hits those in practice. Darius can shoot."
Paul, who did not play in the first half, had not taken a 3-pointer in the game. Warren coach Chuck Ramsey wasn't lamenting the shot selection, however.
"I don't mind that," Ramsey said. "I would have rather gotten the ball inside first, but the clock was winding down and he was open. He shot it with confidence and the ball was right there."
Few shots fell for Warren in the second half, after the Blue Devils sank their first eight in the second quarter in helping them build a 35-25 advantage by halftime.
But Warren got outscored 15-4 in the third, as it committed eight of its 17 turnovers in the quarter.
"We did a very poor job of passing, catching, making the next pass and being aggressive," Ramsey said. "We were very passive against their 1-3-1 (trap)."
Tyler Ennis drained back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth to extend the Caxys' lead to 50-43. A would-be goaltending call wasn't called on a Smith drive. That would have pulled Warren within 50-47.
"We just fell apart mentally," said Smith, who had 5 points. "There's no excuse. We just got to learn from this."
Besides Paul sitting the entire first half for apparent disciplinary reasons, Warren's 6-foot-5 Jeremiah Jackson, a returning starter, did not play the entire game for reasons Ramsey also did want to discuss.
"(Jackson) will be playing Friday (against Waukegan, 7 p.m.)," Ramsey said.
Nathan Boothe led Warren with 15 points. The 6-8, 260-pound junior showed his soft touch around the basket in the first quarter in particular, scoring 9 points, but he picked up 2 fouls before halftime and picked up his third in the third.
Brandon Ferguson scored 5 of his 8 points, including a 3-pointer, in the second quarter for the Blue Devils.
"I can't say we did anything really well tonight," Ramsey said. "We had a 10-point lead at the half and we weren't playing all that well."
Despite its height advantage, thanks to players such as Boothe, 6-6 Roman Schultz and the 6-6 Paul, Warren got outrebounded 22-21. Lake Forest Academy also shot 28 free throws to Warren's 14.
"We scrapped," Vaughn said. "Our guards really rebound, which is big. Given our size, we say five guys got to go to the boards. No one's leaking out for us."