Libertyville will play for title at Lake Zurich

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 1/15/2022 8:35 PM

Saturday afternoon legs.

Which team can get theirs back first is usually the winner. That's exactly what happened Saturday in the semifinals of the 9th annual MLK boys basketball tournament at Lake Zurich.


After playing Friday night, both Libertyville and Glenbrook North struggled mightily in the first quarter. The teams combined for 9 turnovers and 4-of-18 shooting as Glenbrook North led 7-6 at the end of the period.

It was Libertyville that found its wheels first as the Wildcats knocked off Glenbrook North 52-38.

Libertyville (15-5) will meet Willowbrook for the tournament championship Monday at 2:30 p.m. Willowbrook beat Lindblom 88-87 thanks to a pair of free throws with .4 seconds remaining to move into the title game.

"Coming into a game like today, a game at 2:30 with both teams playing (Friday) night, we knew we could possibly have a slow start," said Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski, whose Wildcats knocked off rival Stevenson 51-50 on Friday.

"And since both teams did, it was just a matter of time before one team was going to break through."

Libertyville was that team a the Wildcats began to assert themselves in the second quarter behind the play of Will Buchert and Chase Bonder.

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Bonder, who would finish with 17 points and 9 rebounds, knocked down a 3-pointer and Buchert followed with a 3-pointer and a 3-point play as Libertyville opened up a 15-10 lead.

"(Friday) night was fun for all of us," said Buchert, who scored 6 of his 12 points in the send quarter.

"Our coaches were telling us to turn the corner and focus on today. It is all my teammates looking for me and spacing out the floor. Without them I couldn't attack the basket and get open shots."

The Libertyville defense did its job again that quarter. The Wildcats limited Glenbrook North (11-4) to 3-of-13 shooting while forcing three more turnovers to give the Spartans 9 at the half with Libertyville up 21-15.

"It really comes down to getting a win," Bonder said. "We had a big one Friday and another big one tonight. We could have easily fell off today. I think our energy was a bit lackadaisical at first. I think once our energy picked up, our defensive effort did as well."


Glenbrook North coach Quin Hayes, whose Spartans beat Niles West on Friday 78-48, said that poor play by his team in the first half hurt it.

"We just did not play well," Hayes said. "In all facets. They beat us on the glass, we did not shoot well and we didn't take care of the ball. That really contributed to that 8-point lead in the first half."

After Libertyville opened up a 31-21 lead midway through the third quarter, Glenbrook North got back to within 6 on 4 free throws by Josh Fridman (14 points).

The Wildcats responded by hitting their final 3 shots of the quarter to open up a 39-28 lead. Glenbrook North never got closer than 7 points from there.

"We had a tough job to do tonight," Zyrkowski said. "I thought our guys matched their physicality and we kept our composure. I thought our guys finished well tonight."

Jack Huber and Andrew Sorensen each had 7 points for Libertyville, while Cole Bonder had 3 points and 7 rebounds.

Blake Lidskin has 11 points for Glenbrook North while Ryan Cohen had 7 points.

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