Another fine finish as Lake Zurich tips Crystal Lake South
MILWAUKEE -- Lake Zurich's boys basketball team brought in the new year like it ended the old one.
Only the venue was different as the Bears finished with a strong effort in the final few minutes to get past Crystal Lake South 57-51 in a nonconference game at the Bradley Center on Friday.
Lake Zurich scored the final 10 points and held the Gators scoreless for the last couple of minutes.
"Our guys believe that they can pull out every game and they can test my heart like that," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. "We have a group that's balanced and experienced. They know how to win."
Lake Zurich (12-2) played just two days earlier, capturing the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament on New Year's Eve thanks to Nick Meyer's buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
The Bears found another way to win against Crystal Lake South (10-4), which led 51-47 with just under two minutes left.
Meyer was clutch again, hitting a 3 with 1:13 remaining.
"I told the guys (during a timeout) that we're going to win this game," Pitcher said. "It sunk in right after Nick Meyer hit that 3-pointer. Then it really sunk in because we got to 1 point, and then we got a stop and another score."
Nick Penny got the eventual winning bucket on a backdoor pass from Will McClaughry (12 points), who was triple-teamed, with 45 seconds on the clock for a 52-51 lead.
"Every time he has the ball, he usually gets double-teamed," Penny said. "I just had to get somewhere so he could give me a great pass. We know once Will gets the ball, the whole defense looks at him, trapping him or coming into him. We expect to get open shots."
McClaughry stepped up defensively, too, adding a key block and altering other shots.
"I just had to get over to help," McClaughry said. "I knew we needed that block and the possession."
The Bears closed out the game by making 5 of 6 free throws in the remaining seconds. McClaughry made 3 of 4, while Penny sank a pair.
Mike Travlos led Lake Zurich with 18 points. Meyer finished with 11.
Crystal Lake South came in with fresher legs, having not played since the Jacobs tournament last Saturday.
The Gators trailed 26-19 at the break. They turned to Kyle Bartusch, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter. The Gators outscored the Bears 18-11 and the game was tied 37-37 going into the final quarter.
"Coming out of the locker room, I wanted to give the team a boost," Bartusch said. "It helped for us to take a lead (in the fourth quarter), but we couldn't finish it. It was awesome to play out here and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Crystal Lake South built a lead to 46-41 when Weston Buckner hit a short jump shot with 5:21 remaining.
The Bears got within a point, but Nathan Schingel (16 points) dropped in a 3 to give the Gators a 51-47 lead.
"I thought we played a really good second half until the last minute," Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage said. "I thought the boys played hard against a really good Lake Zurich team. We had our chances. It was a tough loss, but it was a good team we played. They made their shots down the stretch."
McHenry 48, Grant 38: Grant was after its second straight victory, but the Bulldogs couldn't stay with the Warriors in the nonconference game at the Bradley Center.
Jason Kaye led Grant (1-12) with 13 points, and James Mobley added 8 coming off the bench.
"I like the fact that we kept (McHenry) to 48 points," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "I didn't like that we couldn't finish near the basket and we got lost offensively trying to run and execute what we were doing."
McHenry (3-10) broke away in the final quarter after holding a 35-32 lead to start the fourth.
The Warriors were led by Corey Lersch with 13. Nicholas Bellich added 11.