2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/27/2016 10:17 PM

Grant pulls away from Z-B at Jacobs

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A Zion-Benton player's knee slammed into the side of John Kerr's right knee, resulting in a grimace from Grant's double-double machine.

"It just really hurt," Kerr said. "But I'm fine."

To add insult, Kerr was called for the foul. Then, shortly afterward, Kerr thought he had a clean block but was instead whistled for his fifth foul.

Without its best player, against a formidable opponent and 2:21 left in the fourth quarter, Grant neither winced nor flinched. The Bulldogs pulled away to beat Zion-Benton 68-54 Tuesday night in the third-place game of the Jacobs Hinkle Holiday Classic.

Andy Kaye went 5 of 5 from the foul line down the stretch, while Ben Kusiak made 2 baskets and Kyle Dupree split 4 free throws.

"I'm proud of our guys," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "They fought extremely hard tonight. The guys on the court at the end really kept their composure well."

Perhaps Grant's tough Thanksgiving tournament that included North Lawndale, Waukegan and Boylan is paying off for the Bulldogs. By beating Zion-Benton (7-3), last year's tournament runner-up, Grant (6-6) finished 3-2 in the tourney.

"It's a huge step for us as a team," Kerr said after posting game bests of 19 points and 15 rebounds and earning all-tournament honors for the second year in a row. "We just want to build on this and try to get better."

Grant also received double-digit points from Dupree (14), Mike Huff (13) and Kusiak (10). Logan Lewis added 7 points and 9 assists.

Trailing 39-35, Grant closed the third quarter with a 7-0 run as both Kerr and Huff completed three-point plays. Zion-Benton got within 58-52 after Kerr fouled out late in the fourth, but 4 free throws by Kaye kept the Zee-Bees from getting any closer.

"We're really getting better at (finishing games) as the season's gone on," said Kerr, who scored 98 points in the tourney (19.6 ppg).

The Bulldogs' strong finish at Jacobs was aided by the addition of Huff to the starting lineup. The 6-foot junior started the last three games and scored 42 points. He made two 3-pointers against Zion-Benton, as he continued to take advantage of his opportunity to be on the court more.

"He's a scorer," Bosworth said. "He's probably one of the best shooters in the area. He can put the ball in the hoop with the best of them. ... He's the best shooter we got in the program."

Zion-Benton's Rod Henry-Hayes scored all of his team-high 14 points in the first half against a zone defense that Grant leaned on all night. After Henry-Hayes sank his third 3-pointer of the second quarter to build the Zee-Bees' lead to 25-17, Bosworth called timeout, and Grant responded with an 11-3 run to pull even at 28-28 by halftime.

"Our guys did a nice job of matching up on (Henry-Hayes and Damarquis Henry)," Bosworth said, "and extending on those two guys a little bit."

Henry and Jaalen Ray represented Zion-Benton on the all-tournament team. Henry (three 3s) and Cortez Sawyer each had 9 points for the Zee-Bees, while Ray and Joshua Meeks (10 rebounds) scored 8 points apiece.

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