Peterson, Libertyville finish with flair at Lake Forest
Just as Northwestern, Davidson and William & Mary surely enjoyed Drew Peterson's show last Friday night, Stanford must have been impressed with Libertyville's 6-foot-7 junior Tuesday.
Quiet for three quarters at Lake Forest, Peterson scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth, as the Wildcats stayed hot with a 45-40 win in North Suburban Conference action.
"I was playing pretty bad in the beginning," said Peterson, who was coming off a 33-point effort against Waukegan. "But I really focused in and started going to the hoop, and everything started working out."
The win was the fourth in a row for Libertyville (5-5, 3-0), which doesn't play again until the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. Lake Forest, which got a game-high 20 points from sharpshooting Justin McMahon, fell to 3-5 and 1-2.
Peterson was just 2 of 8 from the floor in the first three quarters, as Lake Forest did a good job of keeping him on the perimeter. He finished 7-of-14 shooting (5 of 6 in the fourth) and also grabbed a team-best 7 rebounds.
McMahon sank his fifth 3-pointer early in the fourth and then hit a free throw to put Lake Forest up 32-29, but Peterson scored off an inbounds play and was fouled. And although he missed the free throw, Peterson was just getting warmed up.
Still, the Scouts went up 40-39 on Reed Thomas' layup with 2:16 left. Then, Peterson, who was 0 of 6 from three-point range, responded with a 3 from a set position and a defender in his face at the top of the key.
"I was short on a lot of jumpers," said Peterson, who has scholarship offers from Loyola, IUPUI, Kent State, Tulane and William & Mary. "I started to get in a rhythm. Going to the hoop helped me really get my confidence back in my shot. I started getting a little more lift."
Peterson's drive hiked the Libertyville lead to 44-40 with 55 seconds left, and Riley Gowens (5 points, 4 rebounds) hit 1 of 2 free throws to finish the scoring. Lake Forest didn't score again after Thomas' basket put the Scouts ahead.
Peterson scored all but one of the Wildcats' points in the fourth. He went 4 of 5 from the free-throw line in the final quarter.
"He just got the best of us at the end," said Thomas, a 6-4 senior who had 7 points and 6 rebounds. "We were mentally bad and we didn't play defense how we prepared, and he took advantage of it."
Libertyville hardly looks like the team that started the season 0-4 at St. Viator.
"We had some tough competition at Viator," Peterson said. "We really just tried to fix our mistakes in practice, and we're trying to get after it more. Our defense was lacking at Thanksgiving, and now we're being physical."
Brandon Rule added 8 points for Libertyville. Drew Fortini had the tough task of trying to contain the 6-foot McMahon, who shot 7 of 18 from the field. Chase Eyre and Grant Bair both came off the bench and also tried to help guard McMahon, who had 27 points in the Scouts' triple-overtime win at Warren last Saturday night.
"He's a really good player," Libertyville coach Brent Mork said. "They do a lot of good stuff to get him looks -- quick actions."