Practicing and preparing for the high-intensity full-court trap of Zion-Benton is one thing.
Actually seeing it and reacting to it in live game action is another issue, and it was a big one for Lake Zurich.
In their North Suburban road contest at Zion Friday night, the Bears fully expected the hosts to double- and triple-team the ball every chance they got. Even with that expectation, Lake Zurich didn't react well.
Zion forced 4 turnovers to end the first quarter and 5 in 6 possessions to start the second quarter. That little burst, along with a 12-0 run by the Zee-Bees, lifted Zion to a 68-57 win over Lake Zurich.
The loss was the second in a row for Lake Zurich, which dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in league play. Zion earned its second win of the week and improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the NSC.
"It was real disappointing because we prepped (for the press) the last two weeks, because we had Waukegan on Tuesday and now Zion tonight," said Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher. "We ran 3-on-4 and 5-on-6 and knew it was coming tonight. We just handled it terribly."
The Bears built a 19-12 lead early in the first quarter before the Zion halfcourt press kicked in. Lake Zurich committed four straight turnovers, including one at the end of the quarter that Damarquis Henry turned into a buzzer-beating layup.
The 8-0 run to end the quarter went to 12-0 before Lake Zurich finally ended the bleeding on a 3-pointer from Brian Chmiel to cut the margin to 24-22. Unfortunately for the Bears they would never regain the lead.
"We were trying to give the ball up too much and in situations like that you have to want the ball," said Lake Zurich senior Ryan Kutsor.
Zion started the second half much like it started the second quarter. A run led by Henry and fellow senior Rod Henry-Hayes took the margin to double figures for the first time. Henry-Hayes had a bucket and an assist to build the lead to 47-34 with 3:33 left in the third.
"Our defense was a big reason why we were successful tonight," said Henry-Hayes who led all scorers with 23 points. "We worked really hard in practice and focused on our trap and defense."
Kutsor tried to keep the Bears close. His 22 points led the way for the visitors and had a long 3 to open the fourth quarter.
Michael Bens added 10 points for the Bears. Henry chipped in with 16 for Zion along with 7 assists. Jaalen Ray added 13 for Zion.