Sykes sparks Lake Zurich to win over Maine West
Lake Zurich needed a spark and Brady Sykes delivered one.
Sykes, who plays on the top of the Bears' 1-2-2 half court zone, had 5 steals in the third quarter. That sparked a second-half surge as Lake Zurich rallied to beat Maine West 37-33 Saturday in a nonconference boys basketball game in Des Plaines.
Sykes, who finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5 steals, said he loves to be at the top of the zone.
"It is the best spot to be," said Sykes, who at 6-foot-3 has the length to be disruptive at the top of the zone.
"I try to get steals. It is what I do the most. That is how we get a lot of points in transition. I jump passes and be smart about everything."
Maine West (1-5) lost to Highland Park 50-41 on Friday night. The Warriors led 17-16 at the half Saturday when the teams combined to shoot 28% (11-of-40)
"In the first half we were playing slow," Sykes said. "Coach told us to turn it on in the second half and we did."
Lake Zurich coach Terry Coughlin said he got after his team at halftime.
"We challenged the guys in the second half to play with energy, with enthusiasm and with passion," Coughlin said. "And they responded. We came out with our hair on fire in the second half. Brady is really tough on top of that zone."
Sykes drilled a 3-pointer to put the Bears up early in the third quarter. The senior then came up with 3 consecutive steals that he tuned into layups and suddenly Lake Zurich led 25-17 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Maine West heated up from outside the arc to get back into the game. Myhkia Johnson (13 points) and Andy Olson each hit a pair of 3-pointers and Maine West closed to 30-28 with. 4:12 to play.
Lake Zurich led 35-33 with less than a minute to play, when Brady came up with another key defensive play. Maine West had the ball down in the paint and was going up for a shot, but Brady stepped in front of the shooter, who then opted not to shoot and landed on the ground and was called for traveling.
Brady would then seal the win by canning a pair of free throws with 7.3 seconds left.
Maine West coach Tom Prokopij said his team is improving.
"Our progress may not be shown in the win column this year," Prokopij said. "We have been making progress from Thanksgiving until this week. When we are not shooting the ball at a high clip, any turnovers will slow us down. We have work to do and a lot of shooting to do in practice next week."
Aleks Popovic had 6 points and 7 rebounds for Lake Zurich. Isaac Pittman had 6 points for Maine West.