MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- For Matt Reed and the rest of Libertyville's boys basketball team, the chance to play on an NBA basketball court was not to be taken lightly.
So the Wildcats were savoring their chance to play in the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon, home to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Reed in particular had his sights set on attempting an NBA-range 3-pointer. He managed to hit a couple of them and finished with a game-high 12 points.
The dream ended there, however, as Highland Park got past Libertyville 41-40 in nonconference play.
"It was a lot of fun, and I'm a big Bucks fan too," Reed said. "It was fun to play on their court and it was great what Libertyville does to play up here.
"It was my goal before the game -- those 3's are fun. I know that I have the range in me, and my teammates were finding me open. I wasn't afraid to shoot them."
The NBA court is some 10 feet longer than that in high school gyms. Add in the seats in the arena, and the players had a completely different perspective on the game.
"It was a little different, there was no backdrop behind the basket," Reed said. "Once you get used to it, then you're fine.
"It's so much fun to be out there -- something to remember forever."
The game came down to the final seconds, with Libertyville (10-10) trailing by 1 point against Highland Park (16-5), but with one last chance to attempt a game-winning basket. The Wildcats set up a play after a timeout with six seconds left.
Libertyville, however, couldn't get a shot up as Highland Park's Luke Norcia (10 points and 5 steals) knocked the ball away.
"We turned the ball over three straight possessions at the end," said Libertyville coach Scott Bogomul. "You really don't want to do that in a close game like that. You have to give (Highland Park) credit with the way they played in a close game. They do a great job in the 1-2-2 zone and we don't really see that too often."
The Wildcats' Johnny Vanesco (9 points) dropped in a trey in a back-and-forth fourth quarter to give Libertyville a 40-39 lead with 3:05 remaining.
But the Giants' Max Goshen hit a 12-foot jumper that ended up being the winning shot with 2:18 left.
"On the defensive end, we did a great job battling against a team that we give up a lot of size to," Highland Park coach Paul Harris said. "We were real active getting deflections that led to the steals. Really, I don't think we did anything fancy defensively. We just played our defense really well in the fourth quarter."
Highland Park was led by David Sachs with 11 points and five steals.
Joe Borcia added 8 points and 6 rebounds for the Wildcats, and Jack Lipp contributed 6 points and 5 boards.
Libertyville held a 14-13 lead after the opening quarter.
But the Giants limited the Wildcats to just 3 points in the second quarter and led 22-17 at the break.
Highland Park held a 32-28 edge after the third quarter before the lead changed hands six times in the fourth.