With all due respect to the John Deere Company, they may want to think about changing their slogan, "Nothing runs like a Deere," to "Nothing shoots like a Deere."
Warren junior forward Adrian Deere pulled more weight than a tractor Friday night in Gurnee, plowing his way through the Libertyville defense and planting everything from 3-pointers to fastbreak layups while leading the Blue Devils to a 68-44 victory in the North Suburban Lake Division finale for both teams.
Seventeen of Deere's game-high 26 points came in the first half as Warren (15-11, 6-6) build a 5-point lead at intermission. The Wildcats (5-20, 2-10) did a better job against Deere in the second half, but senior guard Arthell Rosquist (12 points), senior forward Dre Von Hill (11 points) and senior guard Timmy Pieper (10 points) all stepped up to help the Blue Devils pull away for a comfortable win. Senior guard Aarias Austin dished out 13 assists.
"We've been preaching at them that everybody's got a job to do and that they need to share the ball and do it together, and that's what happened tonight," said Warren coach Ryan Webber. "We ran the floor real well. When our energy is good and the ball is moving around, better things happen for us.
"AD (Deere) was awesome tonight. He's starting to figure out how good he can be. And Aarias showed he doesn't have to shoulder the scoring. He made some great decisions in the second half. Arthell is a vocal leader who steals the ball and does things that don't show up in the box score, and Dre was very active and showed very good lateral movement."
Libertyville was led by sophomore forward Joe Borcia with 15 points, sophomore guard Drew Cayce with three 3-pointers and 11 points, and junior guard Jack Lipp with 7 points.
"There were a couple of times when we were within striking distance and had our chances, but then we'd turn the ball over, they'd get uncontested layups and suddenly we'd be down by 13," said Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil. "It's pretty tough to defend a one-on-none break. We need to stay close because we can't chase them and we don't have the firepower to come from behind.
"Joe (Borcia) had a good game. He's been playing very well for us. He's got his footwork down and is moving well. He's gaining confidence and gaining some invaluable experience that is going to carry over."
Warren started the third quarter with a 10-2 run to grab a 39-26 lead and Libertyville never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way. The Blue Devils' biggest lead was 28 points (68-40) with two minutes to play.
"I was looking to be aggressive tonight and felt like I knew what to expect against them," said Deere, who left the game with 2˝ minutes remaining. "It's a great feeling when it's a Friday night and the gym is crowded. We were very focused in the locker room and talked about what it means to be a team."
Von Hill concurred.
"We always talk about being a team and it's never about who's scoring," Von Hill said. "Being a senior, I wanted to go out (of the conference season) with a big win and so I was more aggressive tonight."
The last time these two teams met, on Jan. 11, Warren came from behind to defeat the Wildcats 66-59 in Libertyville.