Libertyville handles Waukegan for NSC win
Libertyville junior point guard James Steinhaus just finished reading the play "A Raisin in the Sun" in his American Lit class, taught by Mr. Twadell.
Steinhaus chose Twadell to accompany him on the Wildcats' home court before the start of Tuesday's North Suburban Conference boys basketball game against Waukegan on Teacher Appreciation Night.
Steinhaus, a 5-foot-10 defensive standout, made a couple of nice reads outside the classroom in the third quarter, collecting 2 steals and turning each into a layup in Libertyville's 65-47 victory.
Steinhaus' first pick-and-bucket sequence -- in the Wildcats' 26-point quarter -- fattened the hosts' lead to 42-24 at the 2:20 mark, and his second stretched the advantage to 47-27 a little more than a minute later.
A spot starter and spot sixth man this winter, he finished with 6 points and 2 steals and earned plenty of laudatory words afterward.
"Amazing; James was amazing tonight," Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski said of Steinhaus, a bench player Tuesday night. "He and another one of our reserves, (junior forward) Sam Kallas, gave us a lift when I decided to go with five reserves after the first quarter.
"And then James continued to hustle and show great effort in that third quarter. He made a statement tonight."
Waukegan made folks forget it was a 1-win team for most of the first half and during the first minute of the third quarter. Each squad scored 13 points in the first frame, and Waukegan trailed only 25-23 early in the second half.
"That team is getting better and better," Zyrkowski insisted. "Waukegan's players are buying in and getting good coaching from Ron Ashlaw."
Libertyville (16-8, 6-4) asserted itself with a 21-4 run in the third quarter. Wildcats junior guard Blake Ellingson (team-high 17 points, three 3s) netted 8 points in the spree. Senior reserve forward Patrick Graham tallied all 3 of his points in the final 37 seconds of the stanza, giving Libertyville a 51-31 lead after 24 minutes.
"We were tired of another slow start," Steinhaus said of the impetus behind his club's flurry of points in the third quarter. "Blake, with his shooting, was consistent; he's been consistent all season for us. We have plenty of shooters. We have a lot of talent.
"My role? Play defense, give us a spark."
Waukegan (1-25, 0-10) received an electric night from 6-2 junior guard Amari Leflore (game-high 20 points, six 3s). Half of his treys came in the first quarter.
Senior guard Jackson Watson (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) also nailed a trio of 3s for Libertyville. Classmate Will Moore, a 6-5 forward-center, scored all 10 of his points before intermission, and Kallas (7 points, 3 boards) authored 4 of the Wildcats' points in a 12-0 spurt in the second quarter.
Libertyville went from 15-13 down to 25-15 up, just like that.
Sophomore forward-center Chase Bonder contributed 4 points and 2 steals for the victors.