2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/13/2018 10:40 PM

Evanston puts an end to Lake Zurich's playoff run

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  • Lake Zurich's Peter DiCerbo, left, is greeted at the bench by teammate JR Cison and coach Billy Pitcher during the closing minutes of the Bears' loss to Evanston in Class 4A supersectional play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.

      Lake Zurich's Peter DiCerbo, left, is greeted at the bench by teammate JR Cison and coach Billy Pitcher during the closing minutes of the Bears' loss to Evanston in Class 4A supersectional play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's JR Cison drives to the basket for a layup against Evanston's Jaheim Holden during Class 4A supersectional play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.

      Lake Zurich's JR Cison drives to the basket for a layup against Evanston's Jaheim Holden during Class 4A supersectional play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Kenny Haynes makes a move toward the basket against Evanston's Matt Hall during Class 4A supersectional play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.

      Lake Zurich's Kenny Haynes makes a move toward the basket against Evanston's Matt Hall during Class 4A supersectional play at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Ryan Kutsor reacts to the Bears' loss to Evanston in the Class 4A supersectional at the Sears Centre.

      Lake Zurich's Ryan Kutsor reacts to the Bears' loss to Evanston in the Class 4A supersectional at the Sears Centre.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Kenny Haynes, front, embraces teammate Ryan Kutsor after both players came out of the game for substitutes in the closing minutes of the Bears' loss to Evanston in the Class 4A supersectional at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.

      Lake Zurich's Kenny Haynes, front, embraces teammate Ryan Kutsor after both players came out of the game for substitutes in the closing minutes of the Bears' loss to Evanston in the Class 4A supersectional at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Tuesday.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Zurich's Peter DiCerbo tries to keep the ball inbounds during Class 4A supersectional play against Evanston at the Sears Centre.

      Lake Zurich's Peter DiCerbo tries to keep the ball inbounds during Class 4A supersectional play against Evanston at the Sears Centre.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

It looked familiar.

Only instead of raining 3-pointers on the opposition, Lake Zurich was the team that needed an umbrella. A heavy-duty one.

During the sectional championship game last week, Lake Zurich hit one 3-pointer after another, for 11 total, to sink Barrington and secure the first supersectional berth in boys basketball history at the school.

On Tuesday night at the Sears Centre supersectional in Hoffman Estates, Evanston turned the tables on the Bears.

Evanston nailed 11 3-pointers, while also forcing 18 Lake Zurich turnovers, to blow by Lake Zurich 78-52 and earn its first trip to the state finals in 10 years. The Wildkits are also celebrating the 50th anniversary this season of the last team in school history to win a boys basketball state title.

Evanston, which improves to 27-5, will take on Whitney Young in Friday's 7:15 p.m. state semifinal at Carver Arena in Peoria. The first semifinal (at 5:30 p.m.) pits Elgin Larkin against Belleville West.

Lake Zurich closes the season at 26-8.

"We got a lot of shots up this week (in practice)," said Evanston junior guard Jaheim Holden, who scored a game-high 21 points on three 3-pointers. "It meant a lot to win this game. Making all those shots was really big for us. Everyone got rolling and we went from there."

Evanston lit it up from 3-point range starting in the second quarter, rolling up seven 3-pointers in those eight minutes alone. The Wildkits broke open a 1-point game at the end of the first quarter (Evanston was up 13-12) and took a 38-26 lead into the halftime locker room.

Junior guard Lance Jones added three 3-pointers in the period.

"They just came out (in the second quarter) on fire and buried three after three after three and that was kind of our game plan. That's what we wanted them to do," said Lake Zurich senior guard Ryan Kutsor. "We wanted to take away the drives and give them contested threes and I give them credit. They just kept making the shots."

Evanston continued with the hot shooting from long range in the third quarter, hitting three more from downtown.

The Wildkits were up by 20 points (59-39) by the end of the third.

Evanston coach Mike Ellis figures experience had something to do with his team's shining performance. Last year, the Wildcats also played in the supersectional, but were knocked out.

This was Lake Zurich's first rodeo.

"We've been on this stage before and I think that played a role in this, and for Lake Zurich, this is their first time here," Ellis said. "I think our kids were really ready for this stage and that helped a lot."

Lake Zurich junior guard JR Cison seemed perfectly comfortable with the stage. He led the Bears in scoring with 19 points, including 3 first-half 3-pointers.

Meanwhile, senior guard Kenny Haynes added 13 points off the bench for Lake Zurich.

Seniors Ryan Kutsor and Peter DiCerbo each added 9 points for Lake Zurich and were tough on the boards.

Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher was grateful for the two seniors, who were determined to lead the team to its first supersectional after a near-miss two years ago. The Bears lost in a tight sectional championship game.

"I can't be more proud of two guys like (Kutsor and DiCerbo) who have really led our team," Pitcher said. "They've been warriors and great leaders and I can't say enough about how much I appreciate what they've done for us."

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