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The comeback proved successful.
Unfortunately for Warren’s boys basketball team, its comeback against visiting North Chicago was not as good as Adrian Deere’s.
Three nights after missing the final three quarters of the Blue Devils’ loss at Lake Zurich, after tweaking his right knee, Deere was in the starting lineup Tuesday for his team’s North Suburban Conference crossover. The senior guard led all scorers with a career-high-tying 26 points, but his effort wasn’t enough, as North Chicago pulled out a 76-65 win.
Jamero Shelton’s 18 points led four players in double figures for North Chicago (20-3), which saw a 17-point lead early in the second quarter erased by the middle of the third quarter.
“Warren did a good job of taking us out of our up-tempo game,” Warhawks coach Gerald Coleman said after his Warhawks closed the game with a 16-7 run, after the hosts pulled within two. “I was telling my guys during timeouts, when they were running up the floor and at halftime, ‘You got to make the defense work.’ We were walking it up. I told them, ‘I can’t coach that type of basketball. We got to pick the tempo up.’”
Deere, who missed Warren’s first six games this season with a hyperextended left knee, jump-started the Blue Devils’ comeback with the first of his four 3-pointers after North Chicago opened the second quarter by scoring the first seven points to increase its lead to 30-13. Deere hit all 6 of his shots, including a pair of 3s, in the second quarter. His steal and layup got the Blue Devils within 38-31 with 2:20 left, before the Warhawks took a 40-31 lead into halftime.
So much for the achy right knee.
“It’s feeling strong,” Deere said. “It’s a little bit sore, but I just played through it today.”
Two free throws by Gregory Swane (16 points coming off the bench) with 3.7 seconds left in the third got Warren (15-12) within 54-50, and when North Chicago’s Kurt Hall (17 points, 13 rebounds) picked up his fourth foul on a charge just before the buzzer, it appeared to be a good sign for the home team.
But the Toledo-bound Hall never left the floor in the fourth and never fouled out.
“You got to play like you got only one foul,” said Hall, who grabbed 5 boards and hit 3 of 4 free throws in the fourth. “You can’t let them mess up your game. You still got to play.”
Warren’s Eric Gillespie (18 points) hit the third of his four 3-pointers with 4:37 to go to cut North Chicago’s lead to 60-58. But the Warhawks responded immediately, as Shelton scored on a drive and then dropped in an easy layup after Hall heaved a perfectly placed outlet pass.
The lead grew to 10 before Deere answered with another 3, which was too late.
“I think good shots and getting back on defense (keyed the comeback),” Deere said. “North Chicago is very fast and very athletic. They can push the ball down the court, and they look up the court. They’re very good passers in transition.”
“We’ve gotten to the point where we know how to keep our composure,” Hall said. “When a team makes a run at us, we just got to be calm and make a run back at them.”
Warren coach Ryan Webber thought simply following the game plan of being patient when reversing the ball on offense and getting defensive stops is what got his team back in the game.
“It’s like our guys didn’t believe us how hard they had to run back down the floor and get stops,” Webber said. “They didn’t believe us that five guys had to go rebound.”
North Chicago also got 13 points from Arnold Shead, while Murray State-bound JayQuan McCloud added 11 points, despite sitting out the entire second half. The guard, who just recently returned to the lineup after missing about six weeks with an ankle injury, sat out after his ankle swelled up.
“I wanted to see what would happen if I gave him a lot of minutes,” Coleman said. “We knew (the ankle) was going to swell up. ... I saw what I wanted to see. He’s fine.”
Warren is suddenly on a season-worst four-game losing streak and seeks to end it by avenging an earlier-season loss to Libertyville on Friday night.
“It’s the first time in my career I’ve lost four games in a row, and I’m not happy about it,” Webber said. “I just told the guys, ‘Losing’s got to get old. You’ve got to get sick and tired of it.’ Only those guys can come together and say enough is enough.”