Just before it started a run of 8 wins in 11 games, Warren's boys basketball team put together one of its best efforts of the season in a 4-point loss at Waukegan last month.
Tuesday night in Gurnee, it was Waukegan's turn.
The visiting Bulldogs led from start to finish in an 81-70 North Suburban Conference victory, as Bryant Brown, DeShawn Davidson and Carson Newsome combined for 67 points.
"Which we've been waiting for and waiting for and waiting for and waiting for and waiting for," Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw said of his best players finally playing well together.
Brown, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, posted game highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds for Waukegan (15-8, 7-4), which led by double digits most of the first half. Davidson had 22 points and 7 boards, Newsome finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds, and Ja'Dyn Brown had 10 points and 5 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
"That was probably the best game that the starting lineup had together all season," Bryant Brown said. "I think it started in practice because (Ashlaw) was really hard on us this week after the (overtime) loss on Friday night to Zion. Everything was more strict. We had more consequences when we messed up in practice."
Warren (12-12, 5-7), which twice cuts its deficit to a single point in the second half, received 18 points apiece from Jayson Dorsey and Branden Ellis (four 3-pointers), 17 from Juwan Perry and 10 from Declan O'Connor.
It was the most points Warren allowed in a game this season. Bloomington dropped 80 on the Blue Devils at Pontiac.
"The defense was just lax tonight," said Perry, who also grabbed 9 rebounds and took a charge. "They had a couple of big runs and we tried to come back, but when we got close we started chucking up shots, and they started converting on the other end."
Waukegan bolted to 14-0 lead, hitting its first 4 shots, including 3-pointers by Newsome and Davidson. The Bulldogs led by as many as 15 points and went into halftime up 41-33 after Davidson beat the buzzer with his second 3.
A 3-pointer by Dorsey capped a 9-0 run early in the third quarter and pulled Warren within 45-44. And when Dorsey flashed through the lane and finished an acrobatic layup with 4:19 left, the Blue Devils trailed again by just a point. But Davidson's drive made it 49-46, and Waukegan closed the third with a 14-3 run to lead 61-49.
"We started to break down on defense," said Dorsey, who hit three 3s. "We didn't stick to our rules. We started not doing our stuff."
Resilient Warren kept coming and got within 69-64 on Perry's putback with 3:13 left in the fourth. But Newsome used a deft stutter-step before finishing a dunk, and Waukegan had the momentum for good.
"They're good," Ashlaw said of the Blue Devils. "They're as good a team in the area as there's been since the last time we saw them."
After going 0 of 16 from three-point range the last time it played Warren, Waukegan attacked the basket and got shots close to the rim. The Bulldogs shot 55 percent from the floor (33 of 60), while also going 11 of 13 from the foul line.
"That's what he was waiting -- for us to move the ball, get easy layups and just score around the basket," Bryant Brown, who was 12-of-19 shooting, said of Ashlaw. "That's where most of our money is. We're not really a jump-shot-shooting team."
"I thought Waukegan just outplayed us tonight," Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said. "Right from the opening, they were playing at another speed than we were. They were moving quicker, moving the ball faster and cutting faster."