Lake Zurich overtakes Round Lake
Jay Iden, a 2004 Lake Zurich graduate made his return to where he started playing basketball in what was the new field house for the Bears. Iden opened the new facility, scored the first points and passed on the ball to another LZ alum, Mike Kolze.
Iden is now the rookie coach for Round Lake and made his first trip back to where he played on Tuesday night, while Kolze currently is the assistant coach for Lake Zurich's boys basketball team.
"It's really cool just to a lot of former players like Kolze and I were teammates," Iden said. "Going back to the freshman gym to see where it all started. I never thought I would be a coach, I was actually a benchwarmer on the B team and now I'm coaching on the varsity sideline. Just to see community members, like high school best friends that came sitting in the front row. It was all cool."
On this night, Round Lake was in the game and had the lead early on, until host Lake Zurich took over with a 60-46 victory in the opening game of the Lake Zurich MLK Tournament.
"We did compete for a while," Iden said. "Whether if it was a win or loss, there's something we can do to get better. Victories are great, but what's even better is to fix what went wrong in a loss."
The Panthers (11-4) started out with the a quick lead at 13-8 after Jamirh Jones' free throw with 52 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Bears (6-7) closed the quarter with a pair of 3-pointers from Patrick Tauras (7 points) and Joey Lococo (8 points) for a 14-13 advantage.
In the second, Round Lake recovered with a 3 from Hakim Williams (16 points) and a Jeremiah Jordan layup that put the Panthers ahead 18-14 with 6:20 left.
Lake Zurich went on a 15-5 run of its own as Will Tucker (game-high 20 points) capped it off with a 3-pointer for a 29-23 lead at the break.
"We just wanted to come out strong, because we knew (Round Lake) was going to pressure us a lot," Tucker said. "They have a lot of great athletes and a really good team. We didn't want to back down on their pressure. Everybody had to play confident, take care of the ball and shoot open shots."
The Bears maintained their balance and lead by extending it to 46-34 after three and kept it in their favor the rest of the way.
Lake Zurich went 11 of 24 from beyond the arc for 46 percent.
"To get into the winner's bracket in our tournament ... the field is loaded," Lake Zurich coach Terry Coughlin said. "We'll play a quality opponent every game. We started out with a quality opponent and they impose their will on other teams."
Lake Zurich will play the winner of next Monday's game between Cary-Grove and Buffalo Grove in the semifinals on Saturday, January 18. Round Lake gets the loser in the consolation bracket.
The Bears' Noah Deluga added 11 points while Deveauntay McNeal had 14 points and 8 rebounds for the Panthers.