North Shore shuts down Christian Liberty
North Shore Country Day had a week to try a different angle and avenge a 1-point loss to Christian Liberty.
The stakes were higher when they met again Thursday night in Christian Liberty's Class 1A boys basketball regional title game. And the top-seeded Raiders knew they had to contain senior guards and scoring leaders Luke Comerouski and Kyle Moriarty.
Comerouski and Moriarty were dogged by a triangle-and-two defense that limited them to a combined 16 points. For the second straight year North Shore won a regional title at Christian Liberty's expense -- this time 59-34 at Grace Gym in Arlington Heights.
"They were a ton different," Christian Liberty coach Jed Bennett said of a 57-56 win over North Shore last week. "We hadn't seen a triangle-and-two all year and to try to make adjustments in the middle of the game is tough.
"To their credit they did and it was a phenomenal job on Luke and Kyle. They did a better job than anyone we saw do in the Buffalo Grove (Thanksgiving) tourney."
The Raiders (16-4) never trailed as they won for the 12th time in 13 tries and advanced to Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. Mooseheart sectional semifinal against the winner of Grant Park or Newark in tonight's Serena regional final.
Austin Curren (20 points, 9 rebounds), Riley Hall (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Jake Bruce (15 points) combined for all of their 34 second half-points on 13-for-17 shooting.
Ben Thomas had 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting and 8 rebounds for the second-seeded Chargers (18-11). But the rest of the team was just 5-for-33 from the field and 2-for-19 on 3-pointers.
"We just didn't run our offense that great," said Thomas, a 6-foot-3 senior who missed the first 16 games with a broken thumb. "We just needed to work as a team and we didn't today."
Moriarty and Comerouski hit their 14- and 13-point averages respectively in last week's victory. But each of them could get only 1 first-half shot from the field.
"They tagged me and Kyle the whole time and didn't leave us with many open shots," said Comerouski, who finished with 9 points to cap a career with more than 1,200. "Ben got a lot of open shots but obviously we hadn't seen (the triangle-and-two) before and we were hesitant against it. The whole game we never really got a good rhythm."
Christian Liberty got within 21-17 on Thomas' layup 2:56 before halftime. North Shore responded with a 12-2 burst into the third quarter and used an 11-point run to take a 47-25 lead with 6:41 to play.
"In all of our four losses we lost close games and we were able to make adjustments," said North Shore coach Rashid Smith. "Their little guards hurt us in the first game with their penetration and we really had to focus on them."