Waukegan outruns Lake Zurich
Waukegan's boys basketball team leads the conference in Browns and has lots of something else that should make the Bulldogs contenders in the North Suburban again this winter.
Foot speed and quickness.
"When we're not utilizing that, then we have to bring the 7-footer off the bench that we don't have," Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw said. "That has to be something that produces for us."
It did in the second half Friday night at Lake Zurich. The visiting Bulldogs took control of the NSC opener in the third quarter, built a double-digit lead in the fourth, then hung on for a 62-57 win.
Foot speed and quickness.
"That's all we talked about at halftime," Ashlaw said.
Ja'Dyn Brown scored 18 points to lead Waukegan (3-2). Eric Doyne added 13, Bryant Brown had 12, and Jordan Brown tallied all 9 of his points, including a putback dunk late, after halftime.
Peter DiCerbo posted game bests of 19 points and 12 rebounds for Lake Zurich (4-1), which hadn't played since winning the Johnsburg/Richmond-Burton tournament exactly one week earlier. Will Tucker (four 3-pointers) and Ryan Kutsor (7 rebounds) added 15 and 12 points, respectively, for the Bears.
"I think this is still a great start to the (conference) season," DiCerbo said. "Tough loss. We wanted to get the first win at home, but now we know for sure we can play with (Waukegan)."
DiCerbo's jumper with 2:40 left in the third snapped a 36-36 tie, but Waukegan closed the quarter with an 8-0 run, getting 3-pointers from Jordan Brown and Doyne. Waukegan outscored Lake Zurich 19-13 in the third, after going into halftime tied 25-25.
"We turned our transition up a little bit, got some run-outs," Ashlaw said.
Doyne's 3 was his third of the game. The first-year starting guard shot 4 of 5 from the floor, as he continues to mesh with the Browns, all of whom are returning starters.
"They're just very athletic, so I just try to fit in," Doyne said. "Coach wanted me to shoot the ball a lot tonight, so that's what I decided to do."
Waukegan built its lead to 11 points twice in the fourth and was up 58-49 after Bryant Brown made the first of 2 foul shots with 1:11 to go. But the Bulldogs then missed 5 free throws in a row, and when Kutsor drained his second 3-pointer of the quarter with 19 seconds to go, Lake Zurich was within 60-57.
Bryant Brown iced the win for Waukegan by making 2 free throws with 14.8 seconds on the clock.
Ja'Dyn Brown, who sat most of the second quarter with 3 fouls, was 6 of 10 from the floor.
"The whole game, they were a lot hotter than we expected," DiCerbo said. "They were really good from the outside."
In falling behind by 11 points in the fourth, Lake Zurich managed just 2 field goals -- a DiCerbo putback and J.R. Cison drive.
"I just think we got stagnant," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. "We got tentative. (Waukegan) got some run-outs on us, where it was 2 on 1, 3 on 1, and we didn't get back."
Cison (7 points, 6 rebounds) struggled finishing shots, but his coach liked the play of the point guard.
"When we pushed the ball, we did a really good job," Pitcher said. "J.R. is really hard to guard in the open floor. I thought he had a phenomenal game."