2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/14/2013 10:44 PM

North Chicago hangs on against Grant

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Scoring nearly 100 points was fun.

And dunking the ball was, too.

But in the postgame locker room on Saturday night, the North Chicago boys basketball team probably didn't have much fun recounting the rest of its 98-81 North Suburban Conference Prairie Division win over host Grant.

It wasn't exactly the Warhawks' most complete game.

While they were rolling up the offense, which included 31 points from JayQuan McCloud and a couple of dunks and 22 points from Kurt Hall, they were letting Grant do the same thing. North Chicago dominated the first half and built a 17-point halftime lead, but Grant dug deep and matched North Chicago point-for-point in the second half and even outscored North Chicago in the fourth quarter by 8 points. And that was with the Warhawks' starters playing most of the game.

"We didn't play any defense in the whole second half," said North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman, disappointed that his team let up 35 points in the fourth quarter alone. "We were just matching baskets. Grant has nothing to hang its head down about.

"We just had better athletes than they did. But from a basketball standpoint, I thought they out-played us in the second half. I'm so disappointed in our defensive effort. The first half, I thought we played well. We trapped and we were in the rotations. But the second half was just "

Despite a spirited effort in the second half that was spearheaded by the aggressive play of Devan Bald, Steve Dunning, Matt Malmberg and Ryan Noda, Grant was never able to cut its deficit to less than 13 points.

"North Chicago is a really good team," said Bald, a senior forward who scored a team-high 21 points. "They play tough. We just wanted to give it our best."

Bald, who is making up for lost time after missing all of last season with an injury, established himself inside and attacked the North Chicago defense with confidence. So did senior forward Steve Dunning, who finished with 15 points, including 10 in the second half.

Matt Malmberg (13 points) and Ryan Noda (12 points) also reached double figures and scored all but 1 of their combined 25 points in the second half.

"I think our boys played their butts off," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "I told them I was real proud of them. They busted their tails over the last three quarters. We just let one quarter (the first) get away from us."

Grant's start was particularly disappointing for Dunning, who had been gearing up for North Chicago all week.

"My mindset was that I was ready to go for this game," Dunning said. "It's North Chicago. It's a big rivalry and I knew the crowd would be loud. I was really ready for this game. We're disappointed with how it finished."

North Chicago also got a 20-plus-point effort (25 points) from JaVairius Amos-Mays. He scored 19 points in the second half. McCloud was the Warhawks' big scorer early. He had 19 first-half points, including two 3-pointers.

"We like to run a lot. In practice we run and condition real hard," McCloud said. "We like to get up and down the court and we were doing that a lot tonight. It's real fun. We just have to stay focused and keep going and not let up on teams.

"We kind of let up in the second half tonight, defensive-wise. I know (Coleman) is not happy about that."

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