Big night for Lake Zurich, Cison
Six points shy of 1,000 for his varsity basketball career heading into Tuesday night's game against Mundelein, Lake Zurich's J.R. Cison needed just 2 minutes and 2 seconds to notch his milestone.
The senior point guard then resumed his main focus -- beating Mundelein and giving the host Bears a needed victory to start the new year.
"After Pekin, I felt like I played really well, and I was really happy with how well we played down there as a team," Cison said of the Bears' 1-3 effort in the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, where he was named all-tourney and picked up the Mr. Hustle award. "I think coming into this game, I really wanted to get this win because as team I think we're going in the right direction. I thought we could get it. I was really fired up."
Cison scored 11 points in the opening quarter, seven in the fourth and finished with a game-high 25 points, as Lake Zurich stunned Mundelein 63-56 for its first win in North Suburban Conference action this season.
Lake Zurich (4-13, 1-4) won for just the second time in its last 14 games. Mundelein, which was playing its first game since winning the Carbondale tournament championship, fell to 10-6 and 1-4 in the NSC.
"I've been seeing signs of growth," Lake Zurich first-year coach Terry Coughlin said. "But it's hard with young kids when you don't see victories stack up. What I'm really proud of is, they bought into the message of you can't base your success off results. In every game -- win, lose or draw -- we are getting better and better."
Mundelein center Scottie Ebube, the tourney MVP at Carbondale, had 18 points and 8 rebounds before fouling out down the stretch. Conor Enright scored 17 points and also had 8 boards for the Mustangs.
"I feel like we could have showed more effort," Enright said. "I think we thought we were just going to walk in and beat them, just because we can, and we didn't. We just got to play harder."
Mundelein trailed 34-30 at halftime, but Jack Bikus' pullup 3-pointer to beat the buzzer had the Mustangs up 45-41 after three. The visitors grew their lead to 48-41 early in the fourth quarter, but then Cison, who didn't score in the third (0-of-4 shooting) while being defended by Enright, got hot again. His pullup jumper in transition commenced the Bears' comeback. He followed by scoring on another drive, then fed Matt McGraw for a layup.
"It was the third quarter and we knew we weren't really getting any good shots," Cison said. "I was like, 'All right, I'm going to try to make something happen. Get in the lane or get somebody a wide-open shot.' Once I hit that pullup, everything started to move again."
McGraw (11 points) buried a corner 3 to put Lake Zurich up 53-52 with 3:07 lead, and the Bears had the lead for good. Will Tucker (15 points) sank 6-of-6 free throws in the final 52 seconds.
Austin LePage added 9 points on three 3-pointers for Lake Zurich. Cison also had 6 assists, 5 steals and 5 rebounds.
"He scored his 1,000th point, which is great," Coughlin said. "But what I'm really proud of with him is the unselfishness. He's really starting to understand his teammates, and that's been a function of these guys haven't played together. He's really given his guys confidence out on the floor."
Grayslake Central 46, Glenbrook North 32: Kate Bullman scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the visiting Rams won the nonconference game to snap a three-game losing streak.
Kristina Heerdegen added 6 points and 6 boards for Grayslake Central (14-7), while Rosie Drevline chipped in 8 points.
Glenbrook North fell to 4-13.
Grayslake North 43, Deerfield 34: Savannah Guenther had 16 points, as the host Knights picked up the nonconference win.
Margaret Stanfel added 7 points for Grayslake North (7-12). Jordyn Gerdes and Eden Hartigan each had 5 points for the Knights, who outscored Deerfield 18-3 in the fourth quarter.
Deerfield fell to 3-14.
Maine West 58, Vernon Hills 21: The visiting Warriors improved to 20-0 and 5-0 in the Central Suburban League North, while handing the Cougars their first divisional loss.
Kayla Caudle had 6 points and 9 rebounds for Vernon Hills (10-8, 4-1), and Abby Brown scored 4 points.
"The score heavily favored Maine West, but I am very happy with how hard our kids played," Cougars coach Paul Brettner said. "If we can keep this up, good things are in our future."
Lakes 31, Mundelein 27: On Monday night, senior guard Taylor Lehman picked up her school-record fourth charge of the season, and the Eagles outlasted the Mustangs in a nonconference game.
Lehman also became Lakes' all-time leader for charges taken.
Sara Smith had 9 points, 12 rebounds and 5 steals for the Eagles (8-10). Mia Edwards added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals.
"We played well on the defensive end of the court," Lakes coach Brian Phelan said. "We hunted the paint well tonight on the offense. We need to finish around rim more efficiently moving forward. A good home win tonight vs. a good Mundelein team that battled all night."
Mundelein (6-13) was led by Morgan Frank's 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Wauconda 55, Carmel 47: On Monday night, Allie Tylka had 24 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists, as the host Bulldogs held on for the nonconference win.
Kiley Szmajda had 10 points and 8 rebounds, and Mackenzie Arden added 10 points and 7 boards for Wauconda (14-3), which ran its winning streak to five games. The Bulldogs led 29-21 at halftime and pushed their advantage to 19 points in the third quarter. Carmel (6-11) stormed back in the fourth, but Wauconda hit free throws down the stretch to secure its win.
"We learned some good lessons in game management tonight that will hopefully help us in the long run," Bulldogs coach Jaime Dennis said.
Jessie Pakaski chipped in 8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for Wauconda.
"She had an even better defensive game," Dennis said of her freshman guard. "She does such a nice job on defense being aggressive and having active hands. She breaks up a lot of plays."
Caitlin Teehan led Carmel with 20 points.