Zion-Benton outlasts hot-shooting Grayslake Central in OT
Grayslake Central's boys basketball team came out firing 3-pointers as if it were a contest.
The Rams wanted to get Brian Centella his first victory as a head coach, and it looked early on during Saturday night's game against Zion-Benton that it might happen.
Grayslake Central couldn't sustain its hot shooting, however, losing 73-64 in overtime in the Bison Thanksgiving Classic at Buffalo Grove.
The Rams (0-4) hit six straight treys to open the game and made seven by the end of the opening quarter. Ethan Boelens dropped in four of the 3-pointers en route to a team-high 18 points, as the Rams enjoyed a 23-15 after the first eight minutes.
Grayslake Central held a 43-33 advantage going into the break, going 17 of 23 from the field (74 percent) and 9 of 12 from three-point range (75 percent).
"We came ready to play," Centella said. " (Zion-Benton) was a tough matchup for us. Our guys answered the bell and shot the ball really well in the first half. Things didn't go our way after that."
The Rams held a 52-45 lead going into the final quarter, but Zion-Benton (1-2) put on the pressure and took control of the game. The Zee-Bees scored 11 unanswered points, taking a 56-52 lead on Floyd Bailey's layup with 3:30 left.
"Coach Centella does a good job and those kids work really hard," Zion-Benton coach Bob Worthington said. "They play to their strength, and their strength is shooting the ball. They shot the ball well, and I give them a lot of credit. They were a tough team to play on a neutral floor. I thought I was in the kitchen. It was hot. Our guys knuckled down and decided to play some defense. Then they saw the benefit of that. I know we can score."
The Rams were down by five twice in the last few minutes of regulation and recovered in the final seconds. Boelens stepped up and dropped in a 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer, tying the score at 60-60.
"The last 3 was definitely the biggest one," Boelens said. "I saw everyone was coming at me, so I just let it fly and it went in."
The Zee-Bees took over in the overtime with their speed and defense, as they outscored the Rams 13-4.
Zion-Benton's Amar Augillard scored 7 of his game-high 24 points in OT and pulled down 8 boards. Damontae Taylor added 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Griffin O'Gordon chipped in 16 points off the bench for the Rams, while Dillan Dumanlang had 14. Grant Hardy finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
"This was a really tough tournament," Centella said. "I'm proud of the way we competed for the most part in all of our games. Hopefully playing good competition early will pay dividends later on in the season. We're definitely coming out of this Thanksgiving tournament with a lot to learn. We just have to continue doing the small things well."