Grayslake Central’s boys basketball team has been perfect in nine Fox Valley Fox Division games this season.
Playing teams out of the conference has been a different story for the Rams.
Grayslake Central couldn’t stay with visiting Waukegan in losing a 62-55 decision Saturday.
The nonconference loss dropped the Rams to 13-9 overall and 4-9 against teams outside of the FVC Fox.
Grayslake Central started out well against Waukegan (6-14) and enjoyed a seven-point lead in the second quarter. But the Bulldogs then tightened up their defense and took over the game.
“We were just taking bad shots, and not making bad shots against Waukegan isn’t a recipe for success,” Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe said. “They got us to force shots that we shouldn’t have taken so early. We lost our patience on offense. We missed the shots, (Waukegan) got the rebounds and ran on us.”
It was the Rams’ third game in five days, and fatigue might have been a factor.
“We just didn’t have a lot of focus for the whole game,” Moe said. “It was disappointing. For high school kids, it was a tough week for them. We haven’t beat an athletic team with pressure all year.”
In the second quarter, a pair of free throws by David Llorens (8 points) had the Rams up 21-14 with 5:35 left. But Waukegan went on a 26-6 run that covered the last half of the second quarter and the first half of the third.
Tyler Williams (game-high 17 points) capped the run with a 3-pointer, putting Waukegan up 40-27 lead with 2:42 left in the third.
“We have a resilient group that knows how to bounce back,” Waukegan coach Mike Wasielewski said. “Our defense started everything. We played a great defensive game. Our focus was to take better shots. I thought Grayslake Central played hard out there. Our defense carried us.”
The Rams bounced back with an 8-0 run to close the third. Malcolm Reed scored 4 of his team-high 13 points, as the hosts cut their deficit to 40-35.
In the fourth quarter, Grayslake Central got only as close as four points. Free throws hurt, as the Rams went 4 of 12 from the line, while the Bulldogs made 12 of 16 foul shots.
Joey Mudd added 10 points for Grayslake Central.