TJ Edwards has missed 13 games for Lakes' basketball team because of a knee injury.
He returned to the court Friday night at Grant for the first time since the Mundelein Thanksgiving tournament, and the quarterback star delivered.
Edwards started, scored 7 points and pulled down 6 rebounds playing about half the game, as Lakes defeated Grant 61-56 in North Suburban Prairie Division action. The Wisconsin football recruit also was busy breaking up passes and creating turnovers.
In the end, Edwards was high-fiving teammate Ethan Sage after Edwards missed a pair of free throws. Sage snagged the offensive rebound to help Lakes preserve a three-point lead.
Sage then knocked down both free throws. He finished with a game-high 18 points.
"I know (Sage) is a fighter and my teammate, and he would have my back on that one," Edwards said. "I was struggling from the free-throw line and I needed someone to pick me up. It's a camaraderie that we've built on this team."
Edwards played just two games in the Mundelein tournament. He was thrilled to be back on the court.
"It felt great to hit the floor. I missed the team," Edwards said. "The team accepted me back and it felt like I never left. It really helps."
Sage scored 8 points in the final quarter. He missed a couple free throws earlier in the quarter, before coming up with a clutch one later.
"I let the game get the best of me on those two (misses)," Sage said. "I was caught in the moment a bit. I was thinking I've got to make this, instead of thinking about following through with my mechanics."
Lakes (6-10, 2-2) led 18-10 after the first quarter but shot just 1 of 6 from the field and turned the ball over 9 times in the second quarter. Grant (7-7, 1-2) took over with a 19-6 run and led 29-24 at the half.
But the Eagles opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run. Sage hit a layup that put Lakes up 33-31 with 4:49 left.
The Bulldogs held court by the end of the quarter, Ryan Noda (8 points) hit a short jump shot to beat the buzzer. Grant led 46-42 going into the final quarter.
Again the Eagles went on a run, as Tramone Hudson (7 points) dropped in a 3 that capped a 10-0 run and put the visitors up 52-46 with 5:35 left.
Grant couldn't get closer than two points after that. Lakes pushed the lead to 56-50 on Hudson's steal and layup with 1:52 left.
"I thought it was a great win," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "It was good to see our spots in the second half. That's a game a month ago that we might not win. We weren't good enough to get that win on the road. It shows a lot about these guys. At the end, we hit a free throw when we needed it. We could have hit more, but it was nice to see the resiliency from the guys."
Jacob Balliu and Michal Tomasiewicz each added 12 points for the Eagles.
Steve Dunning led Grant with 14 points, Mike Burns added 11 and Devon Bald chipped in 10.
"Our defense stepped up in the second quarter," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "(Lakes) had some jump starts, but they did a nice job of picking up the tempo. We wasted some key possessions and took some bad shots. We were out of control at times, and that's been our downfall all year. We just can't afford to waste possessions."