Lakes completes second-half comeback against Vernon Hills
Milan Raval was the only player on either Lakes (2-3) or Vernon Hills (3-2) to wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath his jersey. He wore a loose blue shirt to go with the blue Cougars' jersey and shorts. It wasn't cold in the gym, and it was a pleasant November night in Lake County, so one could imagine Raval was feeling pretty hot.
He, in fact, was. The senior guard finished the night with 27 points, but his team fell cold in the second half, losing to Lakes 48-41.
"He's tough," said head coach of Lakes, Chris Snyder. "Even with a hand in the face. That was one of our talks at halftime, we gotta get hands in his face, face guard him, so Tyson [Dewey] and Tyler [Anderson] did a great job of that, just kind of making him work and kind of wore out down at the end there. But yeah, he's a great player. It takes a team."
Lakes hung around just enough throughout the first half and actually started the game with an 8-point run, taking an early 8-2 lead. The whole team went on that run. But then Raval, by himself, scored eight in a row, with two 3s, in about one minute to take back the lead at 10-8.
Vernon Hills held a steady lead through the first half. Lakes sniffed the lead once more when tying it at 18, but the Cougars took back the lead with Raval's third 3 of the game. He was everywhere in the first half, scoring 11 in the first and 15 through the first two.
The Eagles trailed by six at the half, but they weren't too bent out of shape about it.
"Second half, we got back to having that basic toughness we didn't have in the first half, defended much better," Snyder said. "Kinda got back to it. They're a hard team to guard ... just kind of wore them down a little bit and had some tough stops down the stretch."
Raval opened up scoring for the second half with his fourth 3-pointer of the night to make the Vernon Hills lead 29-20, but then the Eagles' squad came soaring back. They made stops, and they hit shots.
With big buckets from Dewey, Cade Primack and Brock Marino, Lakes took the lead at 31-30, and this time, it was their turn to have fun with the lead. Senior guard Cooper Lopriore opened up the fourth with a 3, and the team never looked back.
Raval may have scored the vast majority of Vernon Hill's points Tuesday night, but Lakes' comeback was spurred by a whole group.
"That's what we need to be, kind of spread the ball out," Snyder said. "Brock's obviously a big part, but guys hit key shots when we needed [them] to tonight."
Maybe that long-sleeve shirt was helpful in the end, as the Cougars were put on ice in the second half. Lakes flipped that nine-point second-half deficit into a seven-point victory, and it proved that one long-sleeved shirt couldn't win Tuesday night's game. It took a team.