2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/31/2012 11:36 PM

Zion-Benton gets its groove back against Mundelein

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Dead batteries in the Mundelein boys basketball team's boombox led to a lifeless start by the Mustangs.

But the real killer for them all night was the lively effort by Milik Yarbrough and his Zion-Benton teammates.

Supersoph Yarbrough poured in 33 points, and the Zee-Bees put together one of their better games of the season in a 69-66 upset at Mundelein on Tuesday night.

"We played well tonight, and we have struggled as of late," said Zion-Benton coach Don Kloth, whose team never trailed in improving to 8-10 and 2-6 in the North Suburban Lake Division. "It's been an unusual year."

It was a strange night for Mundelein (19-6, 6-3), starting with its pregame routine.

"We just weren't ready to play," junior Sean O'Brien said. "We didn't do our usual pregame. Usually we're listening to music, getting ready to go. But we were just like dull, sitting around, not getting ready to play."

The Mustangs' lethargy carried over to the court.

Zion-Benton bolted to a quick lead as Richard Ray drained an 18-footer from the corner and Yarbrough knocked down a 3-pointer. Yarbrough scored on a layup, before hitting a long jumper from the wing to make it 9-0 with 4:53 left in the opening quarter.

The Zee-Bees were up 20-13 at quarter's end.

"We had no energy whatsoever," said Mundelein coach Dick Knar, whose squad missed its first 8 shots. "There's no reason why we had no energy. We had none. We had no communication going on."

The 6-foot-6 Yarbrough showed off his freaky athleticism and determination, too, early in the second quarter. He drove baseline, lunged and threw down a one-handed dunk over Mundelein's high-flying Chino Ebube.

"It felt real good," Yarbrough said of the slam that extended his team's lead to 22-13. "We needed to get our team hyped. I had to do something to get our team up."

The Mustangs eventually pulled even at 29-29 in the second quarter and still trailed only 44-43 after a layup by Ebube midway through the third. But the Zee-Bees closed the quarter with an 11-6 run, offsetting a pair of dunks by Ebube off dishes from O'Brien.

Zion-Benton, which led by as many as nine points in the fourth, was up 66-58 after Yarbrough hit 2 free throws with 2:48 left. But Mundelein answered with back-to-back 3s by Nate Brune and Robert Knar.

It wasn't until Yarbrough made 2 more foul shots with 18.5 seconds to go and Knar missed a tough 3 try in the closing seconds that Zion-Benton could finally celebrate victory.

"They have such good 3-point shooters," Kloth said of the Mustangs. "I'm just very happy for our players."

Yarbrough shot 10 of 19 from the floor and 11 of 13 from the line. He also had 8 rebounds and 4 steals.

"He uses his body well," O'Brien said. "He's thick, and he's got guard skills. He's definitely a high D-I player."

Knar led Mundelein with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, despite being defended well all night by Ray. O'Brien -- who had to switch from his usual No. 33 to No. 23 after getting popped in the nose and dripping blood on his jersey early in the game -- finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals. Ebube and Cliff Dunigan had 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Center Chris Moragne added 10 points for Zion-Benton, and Ray finished with 8 on 3-of-3 shooting (two 3s).

"We wanted to win so bad," Yarbrough said. "We just had to play hard. Our point guard, Maurice Young, played real good. He got where he needed to be and we all contributed."

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