Antioch's Filippone takes charge against Grayslake North
The flop drew chuckles from Antioch's home crowd but not even a glance from the referees.
When Grayslake North's Nick Lovitsch drew a charge from Antioch's Dan Filippone during a tight fourth quarter on Saturday, Filippone's street-clothes-wearing older brother jumped off his first-row bleacher seat, pretended to fall backward, flailed his arms and laid his body horizontally on the floor. Twice, for emphasis.
"All my family sits down there (near center court)," Dan Filippone said. "They have a lot of passion."
A funny moment was part of a fun game, which ultimately was enjoyed more by the home team. Dan Filippone's play drew cheers, as the 5-foot-11 senior guard scored 34 points in leading Antioch to a 66-54 win in a key Northern Lake County Conference matchup.
Antioch improved to 11-5 and 3-1 in the NLCC, while dropping Grayslake North to 8-7 and 3-2.
"It's fun watching (Lovitsch) play anyone," Knights coach Todd Grunloh said of his senior guard. "We have a lot of things we need to work on. His effort is never one of them."
While Ryan Connolly and Tony Hines led Grayslake North in scoring with 18 and 17 points, respectively, Lovitsch drew 2 charges against Filippone, scored 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Lovitsch made Antioch's high-scoring guard work. Filippone went to the foul line 14 times, sinking 12 free throws, and shot 11 of 24 from the floor.
"He's really tenacious," Filippone, who's also had 34-point efforts against Grant and Altamont this season, said of Lovitsch. "He has that football mindset where he's really physical. It helps him a lot of times because he's stronger than a lot of people, and he's actually really quick for his size (6-1). I had to use my craftiness, my spin move at the end."
Filippone went 8 of 8 from the stripe in the final 5:32 of the game to help keep Grayslake North from getting no closer than five points in the final quarter. Down 37-36 midway through the third, Antioch closed the quarter with a 13-2 run to go up 49-41. Austin Andrews hit a 3-pointer, while Filippone finished the quarter by scoring on back-to-back drives.
"He's one of the hardest opponents I got in the conference to defend," Lovitsch said of Filippone. "I just always try to give 100 percent for my team. I'll always work hard for my teammates. I want the team to win."
Lovitsch helped spark Grayslake North offensively early. He and Hines each made their first two 3-point shots, as the Knights surged to a 12-2 lead. The visitors went 5 of 6 from beyond the arc in the opening quarter in building a 21-14 lead.
But the Knights didn't make another 3-pointer the rest of the game (0 of 11).
"It's really tough to explain when you see your team make four 3-pointers to start the game and your first reaction is, 'Oh (no). Now we think we're a three-point-shooting team,' " Grunloh said. "It was pretty obvious in the second quarter that we're not a three-point-shooting team. We were shooting 3s in transition, we were shooting 3s where we were dribbling the ball backward, we were shooting 3s off one dribble."
It played perfectly into the hands of Antioch.
"Yes, they're capable of shooters, but they can beat us a lot other ways," Sequoits coach Jim White said. "We wanted them to beat us from outside first. They have great action with cross screens, ball screens, rolling to the basket. We're not going to be able to get up at the rim with them."
Gavin Eldridge (10 points), Jack Gillespie (8 points) and Andrews (8 points) complemented Filippone, scoring-wise. Ben Nauman and Gillespie grabbed 8 and 7 rebounds, respectively.
"I think they're a tougher team than we are," Grunloh said. "When it got tough, we backed down from them."