Lake Park's late run does in Conant
Lake Park junior guard Luke Sgarbossa tied his career high water mark with 31 points at Conant's William Perry Gymnasium Saturday afternoon. His other 31-point game came in three overtimes against St. Charles North.
Sgarbossa hit 6 of 8 shots from the field and connected on 15 of 17 free throw attempts in a bounce-back 54-42 nonconference win against the Cougars.
"Whosever hot gets the ball," said Sgarbossa. "I was hot today and my teammates got me the ball. They trusted me to make the right plays."
The win for the now 20-10 Lancers wasn't easy. The Cougars came to play and led 11-8 after one quarter and 23-18 at the halftime break.
Conant junior Devon Ellis scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half in keeping the 10-15 Cougars afloat.
The second half saw the Lancers toughen up on defense to help tie the game at 32 to end the third quarter.
Sgarbossa scored 7 points and Trevor Montiel (10 points, 6 rebounds) scored 4 points in the quarter.
Joe Czaja connected on a 3-pointer to give Lake Park the lead for good at 38-35 with 6:03 left in the game.
Following 2 free throws by Sgarbossa, Conant's Raj Mittal (12 points) scored to narrow the gap to 40-39 with 3:35 left in the game.
Sgarbossa then scored 12 of Lake Park's next 14 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line.
The Cougars were held scoreless for a 3:20 span and couldn't recover.
"We just played our game," said Sgarbossa. "We wanted to get this win after our loss to Geneva (Friday) night."
Sgarbossa scored 20 points in the loss.
"Early in the year we wanted Luke to work on his pullup jumper," said Lake Park coach Billy Pitcher. " He worked on it and it made his game so much better. Tonight we wanted him to have the ball at the end. He doesn't turn the ball over and he makes his free throws. He is multidimensional and has good hands."
"It just comes with practice and repetition," said Sgarbossa. "I would spend a lot of time in a gym practicing my shot and working on my game."
Ellis is developing as an offensive player for the Cougars, which could make Conant a playoff factor.
"I work a lot with Raj," said Ellis. "He really mentors me. Tonight we had a good effort. (Friday, against Barrington) we were flat. We want to come out with this type of energy in our next few games."
"I was proud of the energy that we showed tonight," said Conant coach Jim Maley. "We made some mistakes near the end of the game but I can't blame the players. They played hard.
"By the end of this season we want Devon to be the best player on the floor mentally."