Five seniors started for Grayslake Central on Saturday night against visiting Johnsburg on Senior Night, including guard Danny Reed, who poured in a game-high 20 points.
"It was heartwarming to see all the seniors and their parents on the gym floor before the game tonight," said Reed, who knocked down 2 of his team's trio of 3-pointers and connected on all 6 of his free throws. "It was a nice experience."
What wasn't so nice for the Rams was the ability of Johnsburg to nullify the home team's zone defense with 8 3-pointers in a 67-56 Fox Valley Fox Division game. Junior forward Drew Talbot hit 3 of those 3-pointers off the bench in the second quarter and wound up scoring 11 points, while senior forward T.J. Sigmund drilled a pair of 3-pointers on the way to tallying a team-high 17 points. Senior forward Mike Conroy added 10 points and a team-high 6 rebounds for the Skyhawks (8-10, 2-3).
"We talked before the game about valuing our possessions and I thought we did a good job with that," said Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint. "Talbot had a great first half and we shot the ball well tonight, which I think was a product of our good ball movement.
"We play about 10 or 11 guys regularly, so the guys are fresh when they're in there. And there's usually one or two guys who have a hot hand and the guys find them."
Johnsburg scored the opening basket and never trailed. Benefiting from their hot shooting and some Grayslake Central turnovers, the Skyhawks led 39-26 at intermission and 57-33 after three quarters before playing third-stringers for much of the final eight minutes.
"This game was pretty indicative of our season," said Rams coach Brian Moe, whose team dropped to 2-15 overall and 0-5 in the division. "We had good and bad streaks and we turned the ball over at a ridiculous rate. If I knew what caused us to keep doing that, I'd have corrected it by now. They play a 2-3 zone and we throw it into their hands in the passing lane.
"I knew they were a good 3-point shooting team, but instead of putting hands in their faces, we chased them with our hands down."
In addition to Reed, junior forward Alex Lennartz was a bright spot for Grayslake Central with 16 points.
"We had the mindset coming into the game of getting a win for the seniors, but it didn't work out that way," said Lennartz, who grabbed a team-best 6 rebounds. "We had some good intensity at times, and if we can just maintain those bursts of energy and stick with it, good things can happen."