Lakes' struggles continue
It's been a rough start to the season for the Lakes boys basketball team.
And Saturday afternoon was more of the same for the Eagles.
Lakes had its moments, and cut a 15-point deficit down to 3 points in the second quarter and a 12-point deficit down to 6 by the end of the third and then quickly down to 4 points at the start of the fourth, but was ultimately overcome by visiting North Chicago 56-38 to fall to 0-6 on the season.
The winless streak is getting long, but not overwhelming.
The Eagles are still hopeful.
"It's hard and we've had a lot of issues and you think, 'When is this (the losing streak) going to end,'" Lakes senior guard Brad Cherry said. "But in my previous years, after losses, we'd come into practice or to other games all flat and everything. This year, everyone just brushes it off, learns from it and moves on. We still have great energy and everyone is sticking together. We're battling. So I'm still very, very optimistic.
"We're going to get it going."
North Chicago was going and going and going early on. The Warhawks, who have had their own tough start to the season, were up 16-5 at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead to 13 points early in the second quarter.
North Chicago was on point with its typical turnover-causing full-court pressure defense, sharpshooting from 3-point range and aggressive offensive rebounding.
"We have an all-around team. We can get the ball up the court (fast), we can shoot, dribble and we've got a lot of height on our team (for rebounding)," said North Chicago senior guard Raeshaun Samoa, who stands 6-foot-6 and is one of four players on the team 6-foot-4 or taller. "We've just got to all buy in and work together as a team.
"We just have to keep moving forward and not backward."
The Warhawks don't want to revisit the start of the season, in which they started 1-4. They are now 2-4 on the season.
North Chicago had some tough losses over Thanksgiving.
"We started off slow with a loss at Rockford Auburn even though we had a 10-point lead. We just didn't play smart basketball," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "Then for Thanksgiving we were at Springfield Lanphier and we lost because we had to foul at the end and then we played Chicago Orr and they just destroyed us. And the other day we played at Zion-Benton and had a slow start again.
"We just have to have everyone buying in and believing in what we're trying to accomplish. We've got to become a team. We've got 15 guys, but right now, we're probably an 8-man team of guys doing what we need them to do. We need all 15 guys being a team. That's our goal and they showed good signs of that tonight, being a team."
Samoa led all scorers with 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
He helped the Warhawks outrebound Lakes and force Lakes into 15 turnovers. He also put the game out of reach with two big 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter.
Lakes began the fourth quarter with a bucket by Mathew Pawlak that cut its deficit to just 4 points (37-33), but then North Chicago went on a 15-1 run thanks to Samoa and 6-foot-8 forward Achan Clinton who had two thunderous dunks.
"You kind of saw today what has been happening (all season)," said Lakes coach Chris Snyder, whose team went winless over Thanksgiving at the Johnsburg/Richmond-Burton Thanksgiving tournament. "You see some stretches of some good stuff. We'll be right there. But then we just have some stretches where we'll get away from things and we're missing assignments and we're struggling to score. You'll see a four- or five-point game stretched to 12 points and then we're playing catch up again.
"But we're close and our guys are battling and it's just a matter of fighting those two or three bad stretches each game."
Cherry topped Lakes with a team-high 15 points. He was the only player in double-figures for the Eagles.
Besides Samoa, senior guard Michael Waiters also scored in double-figures for North Chicago. He had 14 points. Clinton had 8 points on a total of three crowd-pleasing dunks.