2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/27/2017 10:58 PM

Z-B lines up a win despite Lake Zurich's strong effort

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By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent

Zion-Benton took a seemingly safe 11-point lead to the fourth quarter on Friday night at Lake Zurich.

But then, on a 3-point play from Lake Zurich's Peter DiCerbo, it was knotted at 47-47 with less than five minutes to play.

The Zee-Bees (17-7, 6-2) made only one basket the rest of the game -- yet Zion-Benton also made 12 free throws in a row, while led to a 62-54 victory in North Suburban Conference action.

Host Lake Zurich had a spectacular 3-point shooting night from Michael Bens (24 points). The senior made four in a row in the first half and finished the night 6-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Lake Zurich also lost Bens, Brian Chmiel and DiCerbo to fouls late in the contest. Despite the defeat, Lake Zurich coach, Billy Pitcher applauded his team's effort.

"I'm very proud of our kids,'' Pitcher said. "This was one of the best games we've played this year."

Zion-Benton also had a fine performance from a senior. Roderick Henry hit the Bears with 29 points and was remarkably consistent at the foul line, pouring in 13 shots in 15 attempts.

"We got the W,'' Henry said. "I think we are best team around. I know we can beat anybody."

Lake Zurich (14-7 3-5) had a quick start as Bens hit back-to-back 3s to put the Bears up 8-2.

But both Henry and teammate Jaalen Ray both had 6 points by the end of the quarter as Zion-Benton led 17-12.

"We played hard,'' Bens said. "Against most other teams, we might have won."

Bens hit his last trey of the first half, which cut the Zee-Bees' lead to a single basket at 28-26.

"We played great,'' Pitcher remarked. "But I don't recall getting any offensive rebounds."

Henry took a page out of Bens' playbook and hit a pair of 3s in a high-scoring third quarter. After Ryan Kutsor (14 points) made good on a 3-point play in the third quarter, the Zee-Bees went on a 7-0 run to close out the period.

The Bens/Kutsor connection helped erase Zion-Benton's lead in the fourth quarter. On back-to-back 3s by the pair, the Zion lead had been chopped to 46-44.

"We tried not to foul at the end,'' Pitcher said. "But we really stepped up tonight. If we play like this we will win most of the games."

Zion-Benton's 12 free throws were key, but the Bears excelled in that department as well. Bens was 4-for-4 and DiCerbo (9 points) joined Kutsor in landing shots. Danny Carlson completed the Bears' scoring by coming off the bench to land a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Zion-Benton had 16 points from Ray, and Demarquis Henry checked in with 10 points.

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