Short-handed wauconda battles in loss to Deerfield

By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/14/2020 10:03 PM

Wauconda's boys basketball team was missing three of its players, two starters, but that didn't stop Donovan Carter from leading the Bulldogs with a game-high 21 points on Tuesday night.

Carter has the ability to score points, but he showed how much he can play defense against one of tallest big guys around as he tied up Deerfield's Brandon Lieb (6-foot-11), while he was going up for a shot early in the third quarter.


"It's a tough task, but as team it's something we can handle," said Carter, who believes he's close to 6-foot-4. "Coach mentioned to help on the weak side. I saw the ball going to him and I anticipated. Just made sure I got my hands up and got my hands on that ball. I knew, I had a chance as long as I had the ability to put everything into it. I'm going to make sure that I will go up there and get that ball. It does help me to be more well-rounded and help the team to get close enough to a win."

Wauconda was in the game but ended on the losing side of a 45-35 defeat to host Deerfield in the opening game of the Deerfield/Niles North MLK Tournament.

The Bulldogs (10-4) played without Garrison Carter and Jake Shanholtzer, both out with ankle injuries, Brad Nolan also sat out with an illness.

"The kids worked their tails off," Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager said. "We were playing down some numbers and the kids got tired. You have to give Deerfield credit. Their bigs are really big and they definitely use them well. I thought our kids fought really hard and it was kind of hard to lose a game like this one."

Deerfield (8-6) got a jump-start on Wauconda early on with the height of Lieb, who had a team-high 16 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

The Warriors led 18-14 after the opening quarter, but they outscored the Bulldogs 9-2 in the second for a 27-16 advantage at the break.

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Wauconda tried to trim the lead a bit in the second half and trailed 34-27 going into the fourth.

The Bulldogs cut the lead down to six on two occasions with the ball in the final quarter, but couldn't get any closer the rest of the way.

"Our team defensively did what it had to do," Deerfield coach Dan McKendrick said. "(Wauconda) was a team scoring 60 to 70 every night and we held them to 35. Offensively, there are things we need to do better, shooting and be more consistent at the free-throw line. We did a good job to get the ball into Brandon, who had a really good second half. Wauconda is a team that's used to winning and we knew that they would not go away. When you fight a team that has some confidence in themselves and is accustomed to winning on the year they're not going to be fazed by a ten-point lead."

The Warriors saw just how good of a player Carter was to deal with on the court.

"Carter was really good, he makes shots with a hand in his face, posts you up and does a really good job getting to the free-throw line." McKendrick said. "There's a reason why he's getting 20-somthing a game. He proved he can make shots, even if he's being defended. He's a mark of a great scorer."

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