Team effort helps Antioch avenge loss to Lakes
Dan Filippone didn't want the story to be about him again, and he and his Antioch basketball teammates didn't want it to be about them losing again. Especially not to Lakes again.
Filippone scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to help Antioch pull away en route to a 48-27 win in the regular-season finale for the two rivals on Friday night, denying visiting Lakes its second win over the Sequoits in 10 days, but the star guard was quick to deflect credit.
After all, Antioch also received 11 points from Austin Andrews and 9 rebounds from Gavin Eldridge in the Northern Lake County Conference game, while Jack Gillespie helped hold high-scoring Brad Cherry to 7 points.
Antioch (13-13, 5-9) snapped a five-game losing streak in front of a large and loud crowd. Lakes (8-19, 6-8) lost its second in a row after having won 3 of 4, the Eagles' best stretch of the season.
"It feels good to get back into the swing of things and get back into the 'W' column," said Gillespie, who had 5 points and 8 rebounds. "We lost a lot of close games in a row. We had a couple of weird things go the other way, and the ball wasn't really bouncing our way. Going out and beating a team like (Lakes) going into the postseason is what we needed."
Antioch needed Filippone to create separation from Lakes after the Sequoits led only 21-14 at halftime. Filippone delivered by scoring the first 8 points, including a pair of 3-pointers and an up-and-under move, in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
"I don't deserve any more press," said Filippone, who's earned it this season in part due to four 34-point efforts and a 35-point game. "It's not about me. The way that Austin (Andrews) stepped up, the way that every other guy stepped up, was awesome. ... We've tried to instill confidence in (Eldridge). He's been coming along nicely. Everybody's been picking him up when he's been down."
Gillespie had a tough task defensively going up against Cherry in a matchup of 6-foot-3 seniors. Cherry's February has included five efforts of 22 or more points.
"I had a lot of help from my teammates (against Cherry)," Gillespie said. "They got up on the help side so I could close out high on him."
Eldridge also knocked down a 3-pointer in the third quarter, which saw Antioch shoot 6 of 8 from floor (three 3s) in outscoring Lakes 19-6. For a change, Antioch, which had three losses by 5 or fewer points in the last three weeks, didn't have to sweat out a fourth quarter.
"The last three weeks have felt like a nightmare," said coach Jim White, whose Sequoits started the season 7-2 but had lost 11 of 16 heading into the Lakes game. "There have been times where we've played really poorly, but we've been playing well."
Leighsean Triplett also had 7 points for Lakes, after not playing the first quarter (injury). The junior guard had scored a career-high 25 points -- including a buzzer-beater from the foul line at the other end of the court -- in the Eagles' 57-41 win over Antioch on Feb. 12.
"Tonight, our whole focus was defense," White said. "It was awesome. We talked about that because even when we were playing well, we were putting up decent numbers but we were giving up 70 points. When we're not shooting well, which we hadn't been, we're not going to win those games."
Antioch opens the state tournament on Wednesday as part of the Class 3A Grayslake Central sectional complex. The 10th-seeded Sequoits will play No. 7 Ridgewood at 7 p.m. in the Ridgewood regional semifinals. Lakes, seeded 22nd in the Class 4A Waukegan sectional complex, plays No. 11 Warren at 7:30 p.m. Monday in a play-in game of the Grayslake North regional.