Lakes' winning ways in NLCC continue
Who is on fire on the Lake County boys basketball scene, you ask?
How about the Lakes Eagles, winners of six of their last eight games. Lakes is 6-2 in January and was 11-10 overall and a robust 7-1 in Northern Lake County Conference action as a result of its strong 2022 start.
Lakes downed Grayslake North Tuesday on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Eli Roberts, which was the team's fourth win a row. The Eagles also finished third in their own Martin Luther King tournament with a strong win over Highland Park, coach Chris Snyder noted.
And the good news extends to the individual front where Brock Marino recently set an Eagles single-game rebound record with 18 against North Chicago. Marino also had 25 points in a recent game (to go with more than 10 rebounds) to give him his sixth double-double of the season.
"Brock's rebounding stats have been impressive," coach Chris Snyder said.
Snyder also lauded the play of Roberts and Kevin Klimas. "Eli has provided a nice lift for us off the bench," he explained. "Outside of that game-winning shot, he has been a nice offensive option for us."
Snyder was emphatic about Klimas' importance for the team. "Kevin has been a rock for us and deserves some recognition," he said. "He does all the little things for us and is a leader of this team who keeps us together. He is a starter and leads our team in our hustle stat competition."
The Bulldogs continue to pile up the wins.
The Bulldogs were 65-42 winners over Grayslake Central and downed Grant 65-49 to push their Northern Lake County Conference mark to 5-1. Wauconda is now a fine 14-3 overall.
Helping Wauconda to those two NLCC wins was Garrison Carter, who had 26 points and 6 rebounds against Central and 15 points and 9 rebounds in the win against Grant.
Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager noted Cayden Mudd has been another key cog for the team in the absence of Nick Brinias. Mudd is averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 assists so far.
"Cayden has stepped up nicely for us in the absence of Nick," Luetschwager said.
Also of note on the Wauconda front, Justin Drobnik had 5 blocked shots against Central, while Griffin Daun dished out 7 assists against Grant.
Speaking of Grant, Lincoln Christian-bound Randal Holm hauled in a career-high 15 rebounds in a recent game against Wauconda. He also averaged 11.5 rebounds per game last week for the Bulldogs, who were 3-3 in Northern Lake County action to start the week.
Coach Wayne Bosworth also cited strong play from Chad Kiesgen, who averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, shot 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line during a recent three-game stretch.
The Mustangs scored a pair of North Suburban Conference wins over Waukegan and Zion-Benton last week and then an upset victory over Stevenson on Tuesday night to move to 9-11 overall and 4-4 in the league.
Mundelein coach Matt Badgley said Ty Moenning, Kevin Moyer and Brock Paluch are three players who "all contribute consistently to team goals," he said.
The Patriots are 11-7 overall and 4-3 in North Suburban Conference action after Tuesday's upset loss to Mundelein,
"We have nice young men who are working hard as a team," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said.
Grayslake Central update:
Junior shooting guard Michael Monahan and junior center Jake Gibson have been consistently performers for the Rams, who started the week 13-9 overall and 5-2 in Northern Lake County action. Central defeated Niles Notre Dame 55-45 last week in its Martin Luther King tournament.
"Michael and Jake have been rock-solid starters all year for us," Central coach Brian Centella said. "Jake's presence inside impacts both ends of the floor. Michael is a good perimeter shooter and an excellent on-ball defender. Their consistency in the starting lineup has been a very important part of our success."
Hardwood Classic founder passes away:
Ted Ecker, who was Wheeling's basketball coach from 1969 to 1980 passed away in late December from a long battle with leukemia. He was 81.
Ecker is the only coach in Wheeling basketball history to have a winning career. He was 148-123 in his 11 years as head coach of the Wildcats, winning three regional titles.
Ecker is also credited with starting the Wheeling Hardwood Classic, one of the premier high school basketball holiday tournaments in the state, in 1979. Ironically, Ecker passed away on December 27, the opening day of the 2021 Hardwood Classic.
Dick Quagliano contributed to this report