The MVP award for the MLK tournament at Lake Zurich didn't have to "Travlos" far.
Junior guard Mike Travlos averaged nearly 20 points per game over the Bears' five games. In the championship game against Carmel, Travlos hit 20 points on the head and was a big reason Lake Zurich was in the game late.
Travlos nailed a 3-pointer to cut Lake Zurich's deficit to four points with 4 minutes left. He also made an old-fashioned 3-point play just a couple minutes later to keep the Bears within striking distance.
"He's a guy that you can really rely on," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. "He may have some droughts, but then he makes up for it with streaks in which he gets really hot. He's our best scorer, best athlete and best shooter and it makes a huge difference having a guy like that you can rely on."
The final game on the schedule of the Martin Luther King tournament at Lake Zurich happened to provide fans with the perfect send-off.
The matchup, predetermined well in advance, pitted undefeated Carmel (4-0 up to that point in the tournament) against host Lake Zurich (also 4-0).
The Corsairs won Monday's game 58-47 to win the championship and get their 17th win of the season.
"We kind of looked at all the teams in the tournament and made a guess on which teams might have the best shot of getting to that point (with a good record), and it happened to work out having us play Carmel last," said Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher, who is heavily involved in the planning of the 2-year-old tournament. "It was a good game, we got some students here, so it was a good atmosphere (for a championship game)."
With Martin Luther King tournaments becoming more en vogue, Pitcher is excited to keep his tournament going, even though it means adding to his plate.
"It can be a little hard, because I'm trying to deal with referees, I'm making sure that all-tournament team picks get in and I'm going around making sure that people are having a good experience here. And there's all the planning that goes into it, too. It's a lot of time," Pitcher said. "But I think it's fun and it's fun for our kids and it's a great opportunity to get a lot of home games, too.
"All the teams we've talked to want to come back and we're doing some recruiting to add some teams, too."
Being a freshman on the varsity last season wasn't always a ton of fun for Chris Duff.
The Carmel forward went through some rough patches.
"It was a tough transition for me (from eighth grade)," Duff said. "The game was so much faster. I had to get in way better shape, I had to get stronger.
"But I think I getting there now. I'm loving it now."
And what's not to love? Duff looked as comfortable as a seasoned veteran Monday in the championship game of the Martin Luther King tournament at Lake Zurich. He scored all 10 of his points in the second half to propel the Corsairs to a victory.
Duff also made the all-tournament team, along with teammate Michael Barr.
"Chris is so good at getting to the basket," Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. "He's very strong now."
At 6-foot-10, Carmel center Jack George doesn't often get his view blocked.
But sometimes on the basketball court, his sightlines are impeded by all the arms and hands that surround him. Opposing defenses have found that the best way to defend him is to use double and triple teams.
So when George saw nothing between him and the basket on Monday in the championship game of the Martin Luther King tournament at Lake Zurich, his eyes lit up. He sprinted with the ball from half-court and finished on a breakaway dunk with authority.
"That felt good. It's fun to get those dominant ones," George said. "I usually (have a lot of defenders nearby). I can do a lot of things, so you really have to double me, if you don't have anyone my size.
"Everyone is always pounding on me, but you've got to keep fighting through it and then it's nice when you get opportunities like (the dunk)."