2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/17/2014 11:17 PM

In the end, momentum favors Z-B against Libertyville

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

One 3-point shot could've been the momentum-changer for Libertyville's boys basketball team against Zion-Benton on Friday night.

The Wildcats had clawed back from a 14-point second-quarter deficit to tie the game on Jack Lipp's jumper with five minutes left in the final quarter. He finished with a team-best 21 points.

When Libertyville got the ball back following a Zion-Benton turnover, Matt Reed (14 points), who had hit 3 straight three-pointers in the fourth quarter, lined up a try at a fourth straight.

But Libertyville's momentum ran out at that point, as Reed's shot went in and out.

After the Wildcats missed that opportunity at the lead -- the first such chance since the first couple minutes of the first quarter -- they didn't get another.

Zion-Benton never relinquished the lead and held off host Libertyville 67-64 in the North Suburban Lake game on Friday night.

"It definitely could've changed the game," Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil said. "We fought all the way back. If (Reed) hit this shot, then all we have to do is focus on stops and not chasing them anymore. It was a good look and I thought it was going in. It came out, and (Zion-Benton) made us pay at the other end."

The Zee-Bees (15-1, 5-0 in the Lake) held court in the final minutes. They tried to pull away but could never get more than a two-possession lead.

Malik Yarbrough scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in fourth quarter. He went 7-for-8 from the foul line down the stretch and finished 12-for-14 for the game.

"My team needed me to close the game and I was there for them," said Yarbrough, who also pulled down 10 rebounds. "I'm always there for them."

Lipp kept the Wildcats (8-5, 2-4) on the prowl, right down to the buzzer. He hit a half-court shot for the final 3-point difference and had 11 points in the fourth quarter.

"We were right there and just had a few mental errors at the end," said Lipp of a couple of costly turnovers in the final minute. "We just got confused and (Zion-Benton) took advantage of us.

"I thought if Reed hit that shot (3-pointer), we had a chance to win. They were already a little rattled and the it went in and out."

Early on, Zion-Benton built an 18-11 lead in the opening quarter as Admiral Schofield scored 7 of his 18 points.

The Zee-Bees increased their lead to 30-16 as Yarbrough made a couple free throws with 4:12 left in the second quarter. Zion-Benton held a 33-23 lead at the break.

Libertyville came out with a strong second-half effort but still trailed 46-38 going into the final eight minutes.

Then the Wildcats went on an 11-2 run, with Reed's three treys and Lipp's bucket to tie.

"I thought in the third quarter, we had too many turnovers," Zion-Benton coach Don Kloth said. "We had some good shots, but we couldn't get the ball to the basket.

"Second half, there was good offensive execution by Libertyville. They're a good team and shot the ball well. It seems that every game we play in the Division is a hard fought game. They can go either way."

Yarbrough continues closing in the Lake County scoring record held by former Deerfield standout Ryan Hogan (2,407 points) despite playing with some pain in a knee. He said he hurt it a couple of days ago in practice, but it didn't seem to slow him down.

"I wasn't feeling right, but I wanted to run a bit," Yarbrough said. "I really wasn't going to start, but I just wanted to come out and try it. It's nothing major, I would say it's at 75 percent."

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