Balanced attack leads Grayslake Central past Lake Zurich
It's not just the holiday season that has Grayslake Central's boys basketball team smiling.
The hardworking Rams are playing their best ball, and that was evident again on Saturday night.
Grant Hardy had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, as Grayslake Central defeated visiting Lake Zurich 65-51 in a nonconference game. Coby Moe added 15 points, and Antonio Crews chipped in 12 points and 6 boards to help lead the Rams to their fourth win in a row.
Grayslake Central improved to 6-4, while Lake Zurich fell to 2-10 with its eighth loss in a row.
"There were some real positives, and at times we executed our offense really well," Grayslake Central coach Kosta Kougias said. "We got some mismatches that we were hoping for when (Lake Zurich) was switching, and the kids read it. The kids have been working on it for weeks. I'm happy, but I wish we could clean up the turnovers a little bit. Lake Zurich's record isn't indicative of just how good they are. They showed it in stretches. They're tough as nails defensively, run their stuff well and get their shooters open."
The Rams had control of the game from the outset and led 18-11 through the first 8 minutes. They extended their advantage to 21-11 on a three-point play from Dillan Dumanlang with 7:50 left in the second quarter.
Lake Zurich answered with an 11-3 run to pull within 24-22 on Austin LePage's 3-pointer with 3:25 left.
"I liked our resiliency and our energy. We were playing together," Lake Zurich coach Terry Coughlin said. "I think we need to have a little understanding of time and scoring. When you've lost a few games, it's going to happen. When one play becomes two and then three. We have to take each play for that play."
Grayslake Central scored 8 straight points with Hardy getting four of them during an 8-3 run that had the Rams up 32-24 at the break.
"We played hard and practiced hard during the week," Hardy said. "We knew that we had a talented group coming into the season. We're just going out there and working hard."
The Rams used another 9-2 run to start the second half, bumping their lead to 41-36 when Moe dropped down a 3 with 4:20 left. Grayslake Central had a 55-38 advantage after three quarters.
J.R. Cison led the Bears with 22 points, while Matt McGraw contributed 8 points and 7 rebounds coming off the bench.
Lake Zurich will play in Pekin after Christmas.
"It will be good to get away from the distractions at school, and we have a number of new guys," Couglin said. "Anytime you get away for a couple of days, it can be a really good experience. We can learn more about each other."
Grayslake Central will be play Waukegan in the opening game of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic at 9 a.m. Wednesday.