Lake Zurich boys basketball coach Billy Pitcher changed his mind.
Upon reflection, no, Drew Peterson's stellar shooting night on Saturday wasn't the best of all time he'd seen against his Bears. That distinction goes to a Mundelein player who burned him in the playoffs a few years back.
But Pitcher did have plenty of praise for Peterson's 34-point, 11-rebound performance.
"He was unbelievable,'' Pitcher said of the Libertyville junior. "He was super hot. That was the second-best shooting I've seen in my seven years. And he's 6-foot-7."
Peterson was sizzling hot in his gym. He made step-back 3s, six in total and at least two from NBA distance.
It was a good Saturday night crowd at Libertyville, and those folks won't soon forget this performance as Peterson and Libertyville won 51-42 in North Suburban Conference play.
Another Wildcats junior, Brendan Cook, may be the answer to a trivia question down the road: Who ended Peterson's personal 13-point run in the third quarter?
Yes, Cook scored in the final 30 seconds of the quarter -- on a pass from Peterson. In Peterson's 13-point run, he had three 3s.
"I was feeling it the whole night,'' Peterson said. "Once I hit that jab 3, I knew my shot was on. They (Lake Zurich) were trying to get physical with me. We pulled out a great win tonight."
Maybe it wasn't a total surprise to the home team's coach, Brent Mork. But he, too, marveled at Peterson's performance.
"He shot the ball really well,'' Mork said. "We've seen this before. He was certainly feeling it."
Peterson split his scoring evenly in the two halves. Late in the third quarter his own scoring
actually exceeded Lake Zurich's 30-26.
Pitcher applauded Peterson's shooting but wasn't all that pleased with his team's defense on the sharpshooter.
"This was another game in which we didn't take any charges,'' Pitcher said.
On Peterson's last 3-pointer of the night, the Libertyville lead was at 17 points (43-26).
The Bears (13-6, 2-4) got some offensive production from senior Michael Bens (15 points), who had four 3s.
"Bens and (Ryan Kutsor) attacked the basket,'' Pitcher said. "I just wasn't happy with our defensive assignments tonight."
Pitcher tinkered with his lineup in the fourth quarter and saw a junior step up as Kenny Haynes had 5 of his 7 points in the final quarter. On a driving layup from Peter DiCerbo, the Bears cut the Wildcats' lead to 9 points (at 49-40).
Naturally, Peterson answered back for the Cats with a steal and bucket.
Libertyville (9-9, 5-1) played without the services of a key senior, Brandon Rule (illness), but found help elsewhere. Josh Lilja had two 3s in the opening half, one of which was banked in.
"I like the direction we are headed,'' Mork said. "We learned some lessons, and from a conference standpoint, this was a good win."