Libertyville hangs on to down Warren

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/13/2019 10:27 PM

The football players joined the team just last week and have some rust to shake off.

So up until now, senior forward Adnan Sarancic has been carrying much of the scoring load.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That was true on Friday evening when the Warren boys basketball team visited Libertyville for North Suburban Conference action.

Sarancic had a hot first half, scoring 16 of his game-high 20 points as the Blue Devils hung in there trailing just 28-26 at the break.

"The shot just felt really good and they were falling. Even the tough ones," said Sarancic, who also grabbed 5 rebounds.

"They're (Libertyville) a really good team and ran some nice sets tonight. I just wish I could have made that 3 (pointer) late in the game."

Trailing 55-52 with 1:05 left in regulation, Sarancic's trey from the top of the key rimmed in and out, which turned into a pair of Libertyville free throws by junior guard James Steinhaus (8 points) at the other end.

Unfortunately for the Devils, that's as close as they would get as Libertyville held on for the 62-57 victory to move to 6-2 overall and 1-1 in the North Suburban.

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"It was a nice bounce back win after the Stevenson loss," said Wildcats head coach Brian Zyrkowski. "We had a balanced attack with everyone scoring. And I really liked our resiliency."

After the missed trey, Libertyville used the foul line to secure the win, converting on 6-of-6 in that last minute.

Warren (3-5, 1-1) had opened the contest with an 8-2 run, six of those coming from Sarancic.

But the Cats returned the favor with a 10-2 run of their own to grab a 14-10 lead at the end of one. Junior point guard Marc Michelotti scored 5 points during the spree.

The Devils tied the game twice in the second frame and trailed only 28-26 heading into the locker room. That included a trey from almost midcourt by Sarancic at the horn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It just felt good leaving my hands," he said. "Things were definitely clicking in the first half."

Senior guard Jackson Watson (15 points) hit a 3 to open the third and give Libertyville a 43-36 cushion.

Didn't last long, though.

"They have such an inside presence (with Seamus Mellican and Juan De la Cruz) and we couldn't match it," said Zyrkowski.

Mellican netted 3 points while De la Cruz had 10 and Joshua Gary-Turner had 7. All three were standouts on the football team that just finished second in the Class 8A playoffs.

"And they picked up the pressure. We just tried to get the ball into our best free-throw shooters' hands at the end," Zyrkowski said.

After the Watson 3, Warren went on an 8-3 run to cut the deficit to 45-44 after a jumper by De la Cruz with 4:37 left.

Warren closed it to 48-47 on a trey by Langevin (15 points) and then 50-49 on a hoop by Sarancic but that's as close as it would get.

After the Sarancic basket, senior forward Will Moore came up with a big block and was fouled. He made the 2 free throws at the other end to help keep the lead for the Cats.

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