Drew Peterson's flurry of early-second-half misses, including a reverse layup and jumper that hit backboard but nothing else, provoked Carmel Catholic's student fans. They started giving Libertyville's junior star the "ov-er-rate-d" chants.
"I started hearing it," a smiling Peterson said. "I was settling in the first half. I didn't shoot that much (4 of 5 from the floor). Once I heard (the 'overrated' chants), I started going to the hoop more, and everything started working out."
Peterson had an answer for Carmel's spirited fans. He scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, as visiting Libertyville pulled out a 71-62 win Tuesday night in a nonconference game in Mundelein. Peterson, who had long-armed John Barr defending him all night, notched 12 points and 3 assists in the fourth quarter, which started with Libertyville (10-11) up by only two points.
Brian Julien led Carmel (10-14) with 22 points, including three 3-pointers.
"I still think John (Barr) did a really good job (on Peterson)," Corsairs coach Zack Ryan said. "(Peterson) hit some tough shots. We knew he was going to score. Our goal was to just try to limit what he did. Hats off to him. I'm not really upset with how we defended him."
What might be underrated about Peterson's game is his passing. He dished out 7 assists (and also grabbed 7 rebounds), as the Wildcats snapped a two-game slide.
"He's had a handful of games where he's had 6-7 assists (in a game)," Libertyville coach Brent Mork said. "One of his best attributes is his passing. The problem is, we need him to be a little more selfish sometimes because he passes too much at times. He's got incredible vision."
Peterson was 8-of-16 shooting (one 3-pointer), plus 7 of 8 from the foul line (6 of 6 in the fourth quarter). He also had a couple of passes that resulted in layups that were not converted.
"When they start to try to deny me more and pressure me, and they start having more players come at me, I try to find the open man as much as possible," Peterson said. "Then that'll get us open layups. That's what I tried to do tonight."
Take the end of the third quarter. Peterson drew defenders before dishing to Chase Eyre, whose 10-footer beat the buzzer to snap a 43-43 tie. Then at the start of the fourth, Peterson drove and dished to the left corner, where Brandon Simberg drained a wide-open 3-pointer.
"He's a tough 'guard,' " Ryan said of Peterson. "That's why they're a tough team because if he's going, now (defenders) really focus on him, and now he starts passing. He made some good passes."
Libertyville eventually built its lead to 64-52 on Peterson's turnaround jumper with 2:31 left. Carmel never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
"We finally started to play some defense," Mork said after his Wildcats outscored the hosts 26-19 in the fourth. "I thought a lot of our offense was dictated because of our defensive intensity."
Ryan Wittenbrink and Eyre scored 13 points apiece for the Wildcats. Eyre came off the bench to shoot 5 of 7 from the floor (one 3-pointer), grab 3 rebounds, take a charge and make a steal. Another Libertyville reserve, Brendan Cook, scored 6 of his 8 points in the fourth and had 7 rebounds. Mork played nine guys and each scored.
Johnny Roeser (13 points) joined Julien in double figures for Carmel. Evan Myers and Jalen Snell each had 8 points for the Corsairs, who took a 30-29 lead into halftime on Julien's 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
"They play great competition in the league (East Suburban Catholic) they're in," Peterson said. "They can get dangerous if they get hot, and they started getting hot a little bit."