Chase Bonder sparks Libertyville past Carmel

By Bobby Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 12/13/2021 9:25 PM

Nothing seemed to bother Libertyville's Chase Bonder on Monday night.

Not a large Carmel student body crowd trying to bother his game.


Not a sluggish first-half that looked more like a football game at times, filled with physical play, rushed shots, turnovers and not much scoring.

Even foul trouble didn't affect Bonder's game.

Bonder just kept on churning out points, finishing with 23 points to spark the Wildcats to a 60-49 nonconference boys basketball victory over Carmel in Mundelein.

Jack Huber scored 14 points and John Graham tallied 11 for the Wildcats (7-2). Bryce Moore pumped in 16 points before fouling out with just over 3 minutes remaining, and teammate Asher Jackson had 9 for the Corsairs (7-4).

"This win is huge for our team," Bonder said after participating in wild postgame celebration on the court. "We're on a good streak now and have a big game coming Saturday against a really good team in Rolling Meadows. This win is even bigger for our school. We're huge rivals with Carmel. Our whole team is thrilled with this win. We found a way to win."

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The Route 176 battle was filled with big moments, with Bonder tallying 8 rebounds and hitting 2 3-pointers while overcoming picking up his fourth foul with 7:25 left in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-7 Bonder utilized his whole arsenal of moves to attack Carmel's smaller front line, hitting jumpers, driving to the basket and scoring in the paint.

"My shots started falling and my teammates found me, and I give them all the credit," Bonder said. "My other teammates started to then make shots and that got everything rolling. Once we started making shots, we never looked back."

The Wildcats never trailed after seizing a 17-14 lead following a 3-pointer by Bonder early in the second quarter. Moore tried to lift his team back into the game, cutting the deficit to 46-39 but compared to the Wildcats, the Corsairs struggled hitting shots and couldn't match up with Libertyville's interior size. The Wildcats sealed the win by hitting 16-of-18 free throws in the fourth quarter.

"I thought we started to fight and got tougher in the second quarter," Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski said. "We did a great job on the boards and gave us second-chance opportunities. It all started with Chase Bonder. He had a great game offensively and defensively and played with four fouls without fouling out."

The Corsairs hit a few key late shots to lower the margin to 54-47 in the final minute, but the Wildcats made their last 4 free throws.

"Some days you can't make shots," Carmel coach Zack Ryan said. "We had a lot of good looks, but they didn't go in. Libertyville shot really well. Our effort was really good. We were waiting for a big run, but we could never put it together. Libertyville is big, strong and physical and we tried to pressure them and they didn't turn over the ball."

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