Daun, Wauconda have the hops over Grayslake North
Wauconda sophomore Griffin Daun claims that he has the hops advantage over teammate and senior Donovan Carter.
"I don't know," Daun said. "I think Donovan would agree with me. He is pretty humble."
Daun's hops weren't the biggest factor in the Bulldogs' home Northern Lake County Conference boys basketball contest with Grayslake North Friday night. Instead it was his long reach that disrupted the visitors most of the night.
Coming off the bench, Daun snared 5 steals while downing 17 points to help Wauconda move past Grayslake North 74-65. The Bulldogs maintain a share of the 3-way tie atop the conference with Round Lake and Grayslake Central. The Rams and Bulldogs meet at Grayslake Central in a first-place battle next Friday night.
"(Griffin) is an athletic kid and a spark plug and he has some massive hops," said Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager. "On the defensive end he was able to get some steals but even on the offensive end he used a jab step and was able to get to the rim."
Wauconda (16-6, 7-2) looked as if it would run away from the Knights in the first half. A balanced scoring attack led by 9 first-half points from Carter gave Wauconda a 30-22 halftime advantage.
But rather than fold, the Knights bounced back with a massive 10-1 surge to take their first lead of the game at the start of the second half.
Junior Tony Hines led the onslaught, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. But when Jason Donohue (12 points) put back a rare miss from Hines, Grayslake North (7-14, 3-6) had its first lead of the night at 32-31 just 90 seconds into the second half.
"I didn't feel like we acted like we wanted to be here in the first half," Grayslake North Todd Grunloh said. "I didn't think Wauconda shot it all that well in the first half and we were fortunate to be down eight at halftime."
For his part, Hines simply didn't miss. He buried six 3-pointers out of 9 attempts and finished with a game-high 26 points.
"(Tony) carried us offensively," Grunloh said. "We really struggled against their zone tonight and Tony made some big shots."
The two teams traded the lead six more times in the third quarter before Wauconda regained its footing and outscored the Knights 12-2 to close the period.
Consecutive 3-point plays from Daun moved the lead back to 9 to close the third quarter. Then a pair of long 3-pointers by Carter at the start of the fourth held the margin back at double figures at 57-46 with 6:49 to play.
"We just had to slow it down," Daun said. "We did a good job of staying together as a team and we knew we could come back."
The Knights didn't get any closer than 8 the rest of the fourth quarter.
"I think we knew Grayslake North wasn't going away -- that they would make a run," Luetschwager said. "But these kids have so much leadership amongst each other and so much character they didn't let it affect them."
Off his big night against Grayslake Central, freshman Dominic Jankowski chipped in with 11 points for Grayslake North.