2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/9/2018 11:16 PM

Perfect finish for North Chicago — barely

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

North Chicago recognized its seniors before Friday's boys basketball game and capped the night by holding off visiting Grayslake Central.

The Warhawks won 62-61 to clinch the Northern Lake County Conference championship outright. Grayslake Central senior Jack Spalding did his best to help the Rams nearly pull off the upset, as he scored a career-high 28 points.

North Chicago improved to 15-8 and 12-0 in the NLCC with its 10th win in 11 games.

Grayslake Central (9-13, 6-6) had a couple of chances to win down the stretch by had a turnover in the final 16 seconds and a shot from near half-court that went off the rim at the buzzer.

"It's kind of where we've been for the last handful of loses," Grayslake Central coach Kosta Kougias said. "I told the boys we've been in good positions to win games. We just have to find ways to make the right play. Unfortunately, down the stretch, it didn't happen.

"Give credit to North Chicago," Kougias said. "They do a lot of things to disrupt you on offense. But I thought we did a great job of handling the ball and pressure. We did a great job of defending, and we played a game at our tempo. Unfortunately, we just came out on the wrong end."

Spalding scored 26 points in the final three quarters, as the Warhawks had no answer for him around the basket.

"He came out and played like a senior leader," Kougias said. "The effort is always there with these boys. I never have to teach it."

Antonio Crews added 14 points for the Rams, and Jack Fortmann chipped in 13.

North Chicago was happy to survive against a scrappy opponent.

The Warhawks led 17-12 after the first quarter, but behind Spalding's 10 points, the Rams rallied.

They outscored the hosts 17-7 in the second quarter to take a 29-24 lead into the break.

The Rams had a 43-42 edge going into the fourth quarter.

Tyrek Cooper led the Warhawks with a team-high 17 points, all in the second half. DyShawn Gales added 16 and Pierce Coleman chipped in 11. Raeshaun Samoa scored the winning basket with 25 seconds left.

"I thought Grayslake Central outplayed us and out-hustled us," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "We just had one more point than them. I thought Grayslake Central played a better game."

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