2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 1/7/2017 9:59 PM

It's DiCerbo, again, at crunch time for Lake Zurich

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  • Carmel's Johnny Roeser shoots between Lake Zurich's Ryan Kutsor, left, and Peter DiCerbo during Saturday's game in Mundelein.

      Carmel's Johnny Roeser shoots between Lake Zurich's Ryan Kutsor, left, and Peter DiCerbo during Saturday's game in Mundelein.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Lukas Galdoni, left, takes possession of the ball as he gets between Lake Zurich's Luke Kuhn (24) and Peter DiCerbo during Saturday's game in Mundelein.

      Carmel's Lukas Galdoni, left, takes possession of the ball as he gets between Lake Zurich's Luke Kuhn (24) and Peter DiCerbo during Saturday's game in Mundelein.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Zion Kilpatrick, left, tries to make a move past Lake Zurich's Will Tucker during Saturday's game in Mundelein.

      Carmel's Zion Kilpatrick, left, tries to make a move past Lake Zurich's Will Tucker during Saturday's game in Mundelein.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel's Lukas Galdoni, left, takes possession of the ball as he gets between Lake Zurich's Luke Kuhn (24) and Peter DiCerbo during Saturday's game in Mundelein.

      Carmel's Lukas Galdoni, left, takes possession of the ball as he gets between Lake Zurich's Luke Kuhn (24) and Peter DiCerbo during Saturday's game in Mundelein.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

His putback beat the final buzzer to beat Grayslake North in Lake Zurich's season opener. His bucket in the final seconds beat Richwoods in Pekin three days after Christmas.

So as the final seconds off the clock in overtime at Carmel Catholic Saturday night, Peter DiCerbo figured to be a main option to get the basketball for the visitors.

Right?

"No," DiCerbo said. "I was the last option."

His latest game-winning bucket might leave a lasting impression. After taking a pass from Ryan Kutsor, DiCerbo drove into the lane and flipped up a shot that hit the front of the rim and rolled in at the buzzer, lifting Lake Zurich to a 58-56 nonconference win.

"Shooter's touch," said DiCerbo, smiling.

Michael Bens scored a game-high 22 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, for Lake Zurich (10-3), which hiked its winning streak to a season-best five games. DiCerbo's final basket gave him 15 points.

"After everyone was trying to get open, running off screens, it ended up that Kutsor and me had a two-man game because (Carmel) packed the defense over and guarded everybody on the left side," said DiCerbo, who also had 6 rebounds and 3 steals. " 'Kuts' just drove over and nobody was over on my side."

It's good to have options. Brett Hensley is another example of that. On a night when Kutsor, Lake Zurich's leading scorer, never got going offensively and was hounded by Carmel's John Barr, Hensley scored a season-high 14 points, including a 3-pointer, on 5-of-7 shooting.

"I just felt I could drive against them," Hensley said. "We needed scoring because we got off to a slow start (down 11-2 in the first quarter and 22-12 in the second). I just stepped up for us."

Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher singled out Hensley in the locker room after the game, naming the veteran guard the Bears' player of the game. Hensey also took 2 charges, including one in OT, and grabbed 4 rebounds.

"He followed everything we talked about, scouting report-wise," Pitcher said. "Just a great floor game. He was our best player tonight."

Like Lake Zurich, Carmel (5-11) had three players score in double figures. Brian Julien netted 16 points, Johnny Roeser had 13 and 12 rebounds, and Evan Myers scored 12 points. The Corsairs started quickly, lost steam late in the second quarter but went into halftime up 24-20.

"We were flat," Pitcher said. "We concerned about that because even though this is a geographically close game, it's not a real rival game. We got Stevenson on Tuesday, and we had our first home game (Thursday) against Lake Forest and everybody was jacked about that."

Pitcher also knew Carmel was explosive offensively. The Corsairs had their spurts, namely in the fourth quarter after DiCerbo put Lake Zurich up 47-36 with 6:53 left. Dominic Speights' second 3-pointer cut Carmel's deficit to 49-42 with 3:30 left.

Myers also provided a spark, scoring 5 points in the final quarter. Julien forced OT with a three-point play with 14 seconds left, evening the score at 52-52 and erasing Carmel's 11-point deficit.

Bens, who shot 9 of 16 from the floor, rimmed out a tough 3-pointer at the buzzer. Bens scored the Bears' other 4 points in OT.

By Carmel coach Zack Ryan's count, his Corsairs have been up at halftime in more than half of their losses. He doesn't question his team's fight.

"When you're playing these veteran teams that are good and really well-coached and run their stuff, you got to be able to get stops coming out of halftime," Ryan said. "We didn't. We started to at the end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter, and made a game of it. We're optimistic. We just got to dig a little deeper. We're close."

The 6-foot-4, long-armed, savvy Barr helped hold Kutsor to 5 points and 2-of-7 shooting. Kutsor, who made 19 3-pointers in four games at Pekin, did not take a shot from beyond the arc.

"He was outstanding," Ryan said of Barr. "He's been doing that all year. He's our defensive guy. We just call it 'man lock' and he 'man-locked' (Kutsor) and did a great job."

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