The numbers add up firmly in Grant's favor
The numbers on Tuesday night were in Grant's favor, starting with the number of players on Round Lake's bench.
Grant put up all kinds of numbers in its 84-40 Northern Lake County Conference victory against an injury-plagued Round Lake team that had just two active players on its bench.
The host Bulldogs kept the gas on against weary Round Lake, scoring 28 fourth-quarter points with all reserves in the game.
Junior Samir Muhammad led the Grant bench with a career-high 11 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers.
"I was hitting a lot of threes in practice when we were scrimmaging and then again today in warmups I was hitting a lot of threes," Muhammad said. "I thought that if I was going to get in, I just wanted to hit as many as I could. I got a bank shot (3-pointer) and three in a row and it felt good."
All 11 Grant players who entered the game scored at least 3 points, led by senior guard Michael Huff with 20 points and junior forward Hunter Waszkowski with 10 points. Reserve center Chase Maifield had 9 points and reserve forward Matt McGraw had 8 points.
"We'll build on it," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "We had some fun tonight. I'm proud of our guys. We were able to get out and run in transition and that was a lot more fun for them than executing in the halfcourt. I was just happy for them that they were able to go out and have a good time and have fun with this."
The Bulldogs, up only 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, outscored Round Lake 22-7 in the second quarter to take a commanding 32-15 lead at halftime.
Grant outscored Round Lake by 13 in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers, down to a roster of seven players due to a growing list of injuries, were clearly getting fatigued as the game wore on.
"We've got to be strong, because it's a lot of hard work (with such a short bench)," said Round Lake senior forward Lucas Hollingsworth, who played all 32 minutes and was the only Round Lake player in double-figures with 18 points. He also pulled down 9 rebounds. "It's tiring but we've got to do it. We've got to play as a team and make it work."
The Panthers have been trying all season to make it work. And yet, they are still seeking their first win. Round Lake is now 0-18 overall and 0-7 in the NLCC.
"We have Jamirh Jones-Tolbert who is out sick, Chris Pierre wasn't 100 percent tonight. He's dealing with an ankle injury. And Angelo White has been out since December with a shoulder injury," Round Lake coach Jeremy Fisher said. "So we're a little behind the eight ball in terms of that. We were also sloppy with the ball tonight. We had 15 turnovers in the first half (and 23 overall), which didn't do us very well. We didn't rebound, we didn't box out. And props to Grant. They took advantage. They pushed the ball and got a lot of transition layups and they made us pay for it."