Wauconda tops Lakes to keep conrol of NLCC
It was business as usual for Wauconda's boys basketball team, which stayed atop the Northern Lake County Conference following its 74-56 over host Lakes in Lake Villa on Tuesday evening.
The Bulldogs, who improved to 8-2 in the league and 17-7 overall, have a huge away date this Friday at Grayslake Central, a team also vying for supremacy in the NLCC. Lakes dropped to 8-17 overall and 4-6 in the league.
"We've been shooting the ball well from outside and playing very unselfish," said Bulldogs coach Scott Luetschwager, whose team has won four straight and seven out of its last eight. "We also had great ball movement." To show for it, Wauconda dished out 22 assists on the night.
Senior guard Donovan Carter lit it up to the tune of 27 points. He also grabbed 5 rebounds.
Ten of Carter's points came in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer right off the bat to get the Bulldogs off and rolling.
"Whatever my team needs me to do, as long as we get the win," said Donovan Carter. "We know Lakes is going to fight, so it was big for us to come out strong. We need to work on preserving the lead, though."
Lakes (8-17, 4-6) decided to hang around for a while. The Eagles never seized the lead as the first quarter featured a couple of ties and neither team taking control and Wauconda holding a 21-14 lead at the end of one.
Lakes opened the second with a 9-2 run and tied the score 23-23 with 4:18 left in the half. Senior guard Tylor Gunther poured in 7 of his 10 points during the spree.
Wauconda then went ahead 25-23 after a pair of free-throws by sophomore guard Griffin Daun. But Lakes tied it again 25-25 after a rebound and layup by junior forward Branden Nava, who netted a team-high 14 points.
The Bulldogs had the last say though when senior forward Bradley Nolan made a layup to give them the lead for good 27-25 with 3:25 left in the third frame.
"That's a good Lakes team. They're tough-nosed and don't go away," added Luetschwager. "They hung around. We just had a few moments where we could extend the lead."
Ahead 39-32 entering the fourth, the Bulldogs put the game on ice by outscoring Lakes 20-13 and the final margin of victory.
Sophomore forward Garrison Carter made his mark in the fourth with five of his 12 points, including a three-pointer.
Lakes had closed to within 58-50 after a bucket by senior guard Chance Andell at the 5:05 mark.
But Wauconda provided the final dagger, going on a 10-1 spree over the next 3:40 to put the game on ice.
Donovan Carter added his final 6 points of the evening, while running mate Garrison chipped in with five in the fourth.
"One of our goals is to win the conference," added Donovan Carter. "We know we can't take anyone lightly. It's one game at a time."