Less is often more.
But for the Grayslake North boys basketball team, more has been more this season. More players in the rotation has equaled more success for the Knights.
Typically, Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh will use seven or eight players heavily in his rotation. But this year's team is so deep that he's often reaching six players down into his bench for what has been an 11-man rotation for many games.
The revolving door seems to be working as the Knights sit at 10-5 on the season and could be fighting for a Fox Valley Fox Division title.
"Playing nine, 10, 11 guys every game has never happened for us," Grunloh said. "In the past, with seven or eight guys, when we'd get in foul trouble, we were in trouble. Some of our main guys also didn't get very many breathers.
"Now, we don't really have those issues. Our bench guys give us such a boost. A lot of people look at our big three. But our reserves have a lot to do with our success, too."
Senior guards AJ Fish (19 points per game), Danny Mateling (15 ppg) and Nick Carmody (7 assists per game) are Grayslake North's "Big Three." Their productivity is being maximized thanks to the productivity of reserves such as junior guard Matt Taskovic and senior guard Brandan Walker. They are the first players off the bench for Grayslake North and have logged some serious minutes this season.
Other reserves who have come up big this season for the Knights are: junior center Nate Dodge, sophomore guard Dom Diprova, senior forward Dylan Toole and senior forward Anthony Winfield.
"I think our growing rotation started in the Lakes game earlier this season," Grunloh said. "That was a big game for our guys who come off the bench. We had three starters in early foul trouble and our reserves had to play almost the entire second quarter.
"I think that's where those guys gained a lot of confidence and it's just kind of grown from there."
Since breaking for the holidays, Grayslake North is 7-2, which includes a 4-1 mark at the Grant Holiday Tournament.
Both of the Knights' losses in that stretch came the hardest way of all: on buzzer-beaters.
Grayslake North lost by 1 point to McHenry at Grant on a 3-pointer at the buzzer. And Woodstock North forced a turnover in the final seconds and then hit a basket at the buzzer to win by 2 points.
"We had a 2-point lead with 10 seconds left against McHenry and we were up 3 points against Woodstock North in the final 30 seconds," Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh said. "Woodstock North tied the game with a 3-pointer, then they forced the turnover that led to the winning basket. Those were crazy games."
The Knights would probably be on the verge of going crazy themselves had they not also won some close games this season. They held on in the final moments for wins over Jacobs and Northridge Prep.
"You kind of forget about the close games you've won when a couple of buzzer beaters have gone against you," Grunloh said. "But I think we've actually played pretty well in tight games and we've got some confidence there. We just had a couple of tough breaks in the two games that we lost."