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2014-'15 Season Coverage
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Weaver's must-see performance powers Vernon Hills
 

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Weaver's must-see performance powers Vernon Hills
 

Of all the games Matt Weaver's mother, Susan, to miss -- wouldn't you know it? -- this had to be the one.

Where's the justice?

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"My mom's at work," Weaver said. "It's all right. I'll show her the film."

She might want to kick back with some popcorn and enjoy.

Her son enjoyed the best game of his varsity basketball career Tuesday night, scoring 28 points on a remarkable 10-of-11 shooting, as Vernon Hills held off visiting Warren 71-68 in a North Suburban Conference crossover, which was also the regular-season finale for both squads.

Weaver, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, went 6 of 6 from three-point range. He scored all of his points in the first three quarters.

"We got about five game films and he doesn't make any 3s in them, and he made them all tonight," Warren coach Ryan Webber said. "So he gets all the credit."

With 19 points in the first half, Weaver tied his season-high point total. In Vernon Hills' last game, at Grant last Friday night, he scored just 5 points in the Cougars' loss.

"Matt didn't play very well against Grant, and I know he was hard on himself," Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said after his team improved to 15-11. "He was really dialed in tonight. That's a great step for him as a junior and a growing basketball player."

Weaver sank four 3s in the opening quarter and added a conventional bucket, although Warren (16-14) took a 25-22 lead into the second quarter.

"The first shot went in, and it was a blur from there," Weaver said.

McCarty liked that Weaver was able to bounce back from the Grant game. Great players learn not to lament.

"Against Grant, I probably went 0 for 6 (from three-point range); not 6 for 6," Weaver said. "We shoot a lot on the gun, and (Monday) I shot well on the gun. So that carried over. A lot of it was the coaches staying in my ear, telling me to stay positive, because sometimes I get in my own head too much. That's what happened against Grant."

Despite having the hot hand against Warren, Weaver didn't even attempt a shot in the fourth quarter, which featured a furious pace early on, as the Blue Devils' Eric Gillespie (16 points) hit a 3-pointer and finished a layup in the first 30 seconds.

"Warren, to their credit, had that little run and they were making it difficult to get the ball to the high post," McCarty said. "That's where Matt's really good. He just didn't get as many touches there with Warren stepping up their intensity."

Trailing 59-51 entering the fourth, after Vernon Hills' Sam Rattner beat the buzzer with a left-corner 3, Warren took the lead when Adrian Deere knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:09 left.

Deere led the Blue Devils with 23 points, 16 in the first half. Both he and Gillespie hit three 3s.

Vernon Hills regained the lead at 69-68 when Cory Levin finished a fastbreak layup with 1:20 left. Robby Nardini -- who had 24 points, including four 3s -- made the dish on Levin's basket.

Bo Manso blocked Deere's 3 try in the final 35 seconds with Warren trailing by one. Earlier, Manso swatted Gillespie's baseline shot and earned the rebound, too, when he saved the ball to a teammate.

"That was huge," McCarty said.

Rattner hit both ends of a one-and-one with 18 seconds to go, and Warren missed a couple of tough three-point tries in the final seconds.

The Blue Devils enter the state tournament having lost six of their last seven.

"We can't get any stops," Webber said. "We got to take pride in guarding somebody, and we don't have that right now."

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