Lakes unable to soak up win in MLK opener
A drip, a dip and a defeat.
It wasn't how Lakes' boys basketball team wanted to start its inaugural MLK Shootout on Saturday. The day began with a leaky roof in the gym where the sophomore games were to be played. Then before Lakes' varsity tipped off against Niles West in the adjacent gym, a recorded version of the national anthem kept experiencing sound dips.
"Niles West has never been up before and they're probably thinking, 'What the heck is this place?' " Lakes coach Chris Snyder joked. "Hopefully we can overcome that."
Snyder's Eagles need some fixing too. Not that the host team necessarily played poorly in a 54-44 loss to Niles West.
Lakes junior forward Branden Nava scored a season- and game-high 17 points, going 3 of 5 from three-point range, while also collecting 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot.
"I took a few shots early and they were falling so [the coaches] told me to keep rolling with it," Nava said after shooting 5 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 4 from the stripe.
"It was good to see," Snyder said of the production of Nava, an all-conference wide receiver and three-sport athlete. "We were getting on him to be a little more aggressive offensively. Good athletic kid there that can score."
Nava's 3 with 1:14 left in the game pulled Lakes (6-12) within 48-44, but Niles West closed with a 6-0 run, going 6 of 7 from the foul line.
Lakes held a 31-30 advantage after Chance Andell (8 points) banked in a shot with 2:14 left in the third quarter. It was the Eagles' last lead.
"Sometimes we just have a hard time putting the ball in the hoop," said Snyder, whose Eagles got outscored 19-11 in the fourth. "Credit to [Niles West] too because they defended really well. I love the way our guys fight and play defensively. We just ran out of gas a little."
Lakes played its second game in a row without Aidan Sage (ankle), who's had a pair of 22-point efforts in the last month. Niles West was led by 6-foot-6 sophomore Lucas Vidrean (16 points, 10 rebounds) and guard Andrew Pabst (12 points). The Wolves' 6-7 Adnan Seferovic had 7 points, including a fourth-quarter 3, and 6 rebounds.
"We just gave the ball away a few too many times with the pressure, but we played solid defensively for how big they were," Nava said. "We just couldn't knock down those shots toward the end of the game."
The tournament resumes Monday, with Lakes playing Grayslake North at 10 a.m. to get it started.