2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/13/2018 11:01 PM

Lake Zurich on track after topping Palatine

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By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent

Boxing out is a stat that doesn't show up in the paper the next day.

But it's certainly one of those intangibles that can spell the difference between a win and a loss.

On Saturday evening in the third round of the MLK tournament at Lake Zurich, the host Bears did some excellent boxing out on the offensive and defensive glass, enabling a 45-32 victory over Palatine.

Lake Zurich now has the inside track to the title game as it improved to 3-0 in the event, with a full slate of games scheduled for Monday's finale.

"That was a major point of emphasis for us, boxing out and rebounding," said senior forward Ryan Kutsor, who finished with 11 points and 9 boards. "Everyone crashed the boards and we had excellent ball movement."

Ahead 8-7 after the first quarter, Lake Zurich created some space largely due to boxing out and limiting the Pirates to one-and-done on several occasions down the court.

Which helped translate to the Bears defense holding Palatine (12-8, 2-1 in the event) to 1-for-11 field-goal shooting in the second frame.

At the other end, the offense fed off of that and outscored the Pirates 16-6 in the period and take a 24-13 lead into intermission.

Kutsor scored 4 in the second, while sophomore guard Will Tucker popped in 6 of his 8 points. And senior forwards Paul DiCerbo and Tyler Savardy (2 points) and guard Joe Heffernan (7 points) also grabbed key rebounds in the second.

The lone field goal by Palatine was a trey by senior guard Jake Moertl.

"We had one crack at it and done a lot of times down the floor," said Pirates coach Eric Millstone. "We gave a good physical effort but they did a good job capitalizing after our missed shots."

DiCerbo then did his thing on offense in the second half, scoring 12 of his game-high 13 points to help keep Palatine at bay.

"They were a little bigger so we just tried to use our speed and move the ball faster but not force anything," said DiCerbo.

"But this was also a big game for us because we haven't beaten them (Palatine) since I've been here. Plus it's a big game because it's the only team we play from the MSL and that conference is in our sectional."

Senior guard Lamon Berry poured in 9 of his team-high 10 points in the fourth, but the closet Palatine could get was the final margin after a rebound and lay-up by senior forward Johnny O'Shea (7 points).

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