Wauconda closing in on NLCC crown

  • Wauconda's Nicolas Brinias looks to shoot past Lakes' Brock Marino during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda.

      Wauconda's Nicolas Brinias looks to shoot past Lakes' Brock Marino during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Jack Vanselow (12) draws a foul as he make a flying leap toward the basket during Friday's boys basketball game against Lakes in Wauconda.

      Wauconda's Jack Vanselow (12) draws a foul as he make a flying leap toward the basket during Friday's boys basketball game against Lakes in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Lakes' Eli Roberts looks to pass under pressure from Wauconda's Nicolas Brinias (11) and Griffin Daun during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda.

      Lakes' Eli Roberts looks to pass under pressure from Wauconda's Nicolas Brinias (11) and Griffin Daun during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Lakes' Brock Marino (21) fights around the Wauconda defense during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda.

      Lakes' Brock Marino (21) fights around the Wauconda defense during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Garrison Carter (30) eyes the basket during Friday's boys basketball game against Lakes in Wauconda.

      Wauconda's Garrison Carter (30) eyes the basket during Friday's boys basketball game against Lakes in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Lakes's Ethan McGruder (10) goes up for a layup during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda.

      Lakes's Ethan McGruder (10) goes up for a layup during Friday's boys basketball game in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Wauconda's Justin Drobnik takes a shot during Friday's boys basketball game against Lakes in Wauconda.

      Wauconda's Justin Drobnik takes a shot during Friday's boys basketball game against Lakes in Wauconda. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/4/2022 11:19 PM

Wauconda's boys basketball team is one step closer to its third straight Northern Lake County Conference title.

The Bulldogs ran away early and never gave up much ground in an 85-57 victory over visiting Lakes on Friday night.

 

Wauconda (19-3, 10-1) has three games remaining in the NLCC and has a two-game lead over Grayslake Central which it will visit next Friday.

"As far as coming out, we felt good in practice and the kids felt good coming into this game," said Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager. "As a game plan, we knew in playing them the first time we weren't ourselves. We just came out relaxed and put up points in the first quarter. It was amazing."

The Bulldogs actually posted 29 points in the opening quarter that included a stretch of 17 unanswered points, and they had a 27-7 lead with 3:40 left and led 29-17 after the first 8 minutes.

Most of the scoring for Wauconda was set up off its transition when Lakes (12-13, 7-4) missed shots and had turnovers.

"We've focused on our transition from day one," Luetschwager said. "That's going back 13 years ago. The kids, all of them, can rebound, they look for each other in the transition, and they're very unselfish."

Wauconda carried its lead to a 46-34 advantage at the break.

Lakes tried to put forth one of its rallies in the second half on an Ethan McGruder (10 points) three-point play with 4:52 left in the third quarter.

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"(Wauconda) was a good team and they do a lot of things really well," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "I thought our guys fought back and didn't fold. Our guys competed. Tip your hat to Wauconda, they were hitting their shots. When you're coming back, everything has to go right. We started missing a couple shots and they got hot again. It was hard to muster that energy again when you come from a hole that early. You just run out of gas."

The Bulldogs' Justin Drobnik scored 11 of his game-high 22 points and helped extend the lead to 65-47 by the end of the third quarter.

"Our teammates were just finding me open, and we started to pick things up on defense," Drobnik said. "Our transition game is very good. I just like getting the crowd going and getting my teammates going. It brings the energy and makes us play better."

Wauconda had all five of its starters in double-figures. Garrison Carter added 18 points, Nick Brinias 17, Griffin Daun 12 and Braeden Carlsen 11.

Lakes was led by Brock Marino with 14 points, while Tyson Dewy added 12.

"We do keep fighting and we're a team that keeps putting in the work,' Snyder said. "Our guys need to come back in Monday, just turn the page. We've got three regular season games, and just focus on them one at a time."

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