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Lakes boys basketball coach Chris Snyder surprised his team with brand new black, red and blue road uniforms before the start of the Eagles road contest at Grayslake North on Friday.
It didn't even take a full quarter before he was ready to take them away, and it got worse before it got better.
"With the way we started, I was ready to make them take the uniforms off at halftime," Snyder said.
Fortunately for Eagles, they got to keep the new threads. And with the way they closed their contest with the Knights, they may never take them off.
Senior Direll Clark drained a pair of free throws with 10.3 seconds left in regulation and the Eagles survived two final 3-point attempts by the Knights to squeeze out a 57-54 win Friday night.
"Coach told us he was going to make us take the new threads off," Clark said with a smile. "These are nice and I don't think we are ready to give them back just yet."
The Eagles spent most of the night chasing the Knights before one long shot changed the fortunes for Lakes (6-2).
As time was winding down in the third quarter, senior Tyler Swindle started up court. With everyone on the Lakes bench counting down the clock, Swindle launched a half-court heave towards the basket. As the horn sounded, the ball swished through the net to give Lakes its first lead since early in the first quarter, 52-50.
"You could tell that the kids were a little disappointed," said Grayslake coach Todd Grunloh. "We just told them we had a fourth quarter to go, but you could tell we were starting to wear down and you could see Lakes wearing down too -- it was that kind of game."
Grayslake North (3-3) started the game red-hot from the field. The Knights hit 9 of 14 from the field and opened up a 23-10 lead after one quarter.
"That's the way we start games a lot," Grunloh said. "When we got into foul trouble, it caused us to turn it over, in some cases 10 feet from the basket."
The Knights built their lead to 42-34 to start the second half before TJ Edwards, and Justin Bergeron started to heat up for the Eagles. Edwards (13 points) and Bergeron combined for 14 points in the quarter as their effort, combined with Swindle's heave gave the Eagles the lead. Bergeron led the Eagles with 15.
"I thought we came out a little flat and didn't match the energy that (Grayslake) had in the first quarter," Snyder said. "As the game went on, we started to get into better rhythm and lock in on defense better."
As good as the Eagles' defense was, it still wasn't enough to slow down Knights senior A.J. Fish. He scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half to lead all scorers but couldn't get going in the second half.
"We knew it was going to be a fight," Fish said. "We were up 10 or 12 points and we knew that (Lakes) would come back. Give them credit, they hit a big shot and made their shots down the stretch to win it."
Clark finished with 13 points for Lakes, Danny Mateling chipped in with 15 despite foul trouble.