Waubonsie Valley wins twice at Burlington's MLK tourney
Waubonsie Valley all but clinched the Burlington Central MLK boys basketball Classic title with a 2-game sweep on Saturday.
The Warriors improved to 17-2 overall and 3-0 in the classic with a 72-53 afternoon victory against Hampshire and a 43-41 comeback win over Lyons Township.
Junior Marcus Skeete scored 29 points against Hampshire (11-11) and helped his team rally from a 9-point halftime deficit against Lyons Twp. (14-7) by scoring 13 of his team-best 14 points after halftime.
"We came with the mindset that we wanted to be 17-2 at the end of the day and we fought for it," Skeete said. "We're 17-2 and people keep sleeping on us, but we're going to keep on fighting. I'm excited for the rest of the season."
Waubonsie Valley trailed 22-13 at halftime, but Skeete injected life into the Warriors with three third-quarter 3-pointers to force a lead change.
"(Assistant coach) Greg McAndrew made a really good adjustment at halftime, changing an alignment, and Marcus made a few more shots because we were open," Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead said. "We were able to exploit where their guys were. Pretty impressive considering we've never practiced it."
The matchup between Waubonsie Valley and Lyons Twp. pitted the classic's only 2-0 teams.
The Warriors trailed 31-30 after three quarters, but Skeete scored on a drive and a jump shot to give his team a 3-point lead with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. Senior Nikhil Khanna drew two charges in the final two minutes to make the lead stand up.
Trailing by 3, the Lions had a chance to tie with seven seconds remaining but were whistled for an over-and-back violation after inbounding the ball at midcourt.
Earlier, Lyons snapped Burlington Central's 6-game winning streak with a 75-60 victory. Nolan Niego scored 29 points to offset a 30-point performance by Central senior Patrick Mayfield.
Central (15-5) trailed 37-33 at halftime and 58-47 after three quarters, but the Rockets drew within 7 points when junior Jake Lenschow scored from the lane with 6:20 left. That was as tight as it got.
"It was our third game in 24 hours but that was the hardest-played game that we had," Mayfield said. "We hustled the whole time."
Central coach Brett Porto said he was proud of his team's 3-1 showing in the classic. As for the Lyons game?
"We just made too many mistakes," he said, "whether it be shot selection too quick or not where you want to get the ball and they just make you pay."
Earlier Saturday, Central defeated rival Hampshire 60-46. Mayfield led the way with 30 points and Lenschow added 8 points. Senior Justin Anderson led Hampshire with 12 points and junior Collin Woods finished with 11.
Elgin was originally scheduled to participate in the classic but was unable to attend after Elgin Area School District U-46 canceled Saturday bus travel to extracurricular events due to the snow.
The Central MLK Classic concludes Monday with three games: Waubonsie Valley vs. Elgin at 3:30 p.m.; McHenry vs. Lyons Township at 5 p.m.; Hampshire vs. Johnsburg at 6:30 p.m.