North Chicago downs Grant
Entering Friday night, Grant's boys basketball team had been on a roll and North Chicago had been struggling in recent games. In what should've been a game in reach for the Bulldogs instead turned the other way in the final four minutes in favor of the Warhawks.
Grant's misfortunes went the other way as visiting North Chicago scored the final 11 points and took away the 56-45 victory in a Northern Lake County Conference game in Fox Lake.
The Bulldogs also played the contest without one of their starters, Torren Curry, who is expected to be out a couple of games with a knee bruise.
"We didn't play too well tonight," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "Way too many turnovers and we didn't keep North Chicago off the offensive glass. Give them credit, they crashed hard and we didn't box out.
"We tried to go inside (in the fourth quarter), but they would hang one big guy in there around the hoop. The whole goal was to move off the ball in the open area right there, but we didn't do a good job moving off the ball. We didn't do a good job finding that open guy when he would come over to help. We had short shots and high arc shots. We just couldn't knock them down."
Grant had won 5 straight games but with the loss, the Bulldogs still lead the NLCC by a game at 7-2 with an overall mark of 14-11. The Bulldogs will come back and host Lakes Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. North Chicago improved to 7-4 in conference and 11-16 overall.
The game was tied at 45-45 with 3:58 remaining in the final quarter after Tavarus Williams (11 points) hit a jump shot for Grant. He scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.
But North Chicago's Cory Harper made 1 of 2 free throws with 3:38 left that put the Warhawks up for good. Achan Clinton (16 points) made a short jump shot on the next possession and Raeshaun Samoa (game-high 27 points) added a layup and a couple of free throws. He was 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
"Today, this was us but tomorrow, I don't know which team will show up," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "The key to us is Raeshaun Samoa. He doesn't like that kind of leadership because he's a shy young man. I watched him in warmup and told one of the assistant coaches he won't let us lose. I really think the guys are buying in. We're taking every game getting ready for the playoffs."
North Chicago had the early lead 9-8 after the opening quarter.
Henry Kusiak brought back some momentum for Grant by hitting a buzzer-beating trey off the glass with a running jump shot that left Grant down 27-21 at the break.
Kusiak (team-high 14 points) hit a couple more 3s in the third. However, the Bulldogs were down 37-34 going into the final quarter. Grant made a push in the fourth tying the game until the final four minutes.