Lake County boys basketball notes: Lakes heads into stretch run with momentum
Lakes heads into the back-half of the regular season right in the thick of the Northern Lake County Conference race.
The Eagles were 12-6 overall and 4-1 in conference play to start the week.
"We play conference games from here on out," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "Each game will be a battle."
Lakes is 3-2 in January and went 2-1 earlier this week at its own Martin Luther King tournament, beating Waukegan and Highland Park and losing to Fremd.
"It was a great event with great programs," Snyder said.
Lakes set a program record by allowing only 14 points against Highland Park.
"We are continuing to focus on being a strong defense team," Snyder said.
Brock Marino leads the team in scoring at 14 points per game and in rebounding at 8 per game. Tyson Dewey averages a team-best 4 assists per game.
"Tyson continues to do the little things for us," Snyder said. "He is an active defender and really sets the tone for us on defense."
Snyder also gave high praise to JJ Jackson for his efforts.
"JJ Has been a spark for us off the bench," he said. "He is a great ball handler who really sees the floor well. He has provided us with great minutes."
Snyder added team chemistry has also won the day for the Eagles this season.
"The team has stuck together," he explained. "They support each other, and this helps as we move through the season. They are close-knit and want to do well for each other."
Grayslake Central update:
The Rams split a pair of recent games, defeating Lakes in a Northern Lake County Conference game and losing to Lake Forest in a nonconference game. The Rams were 17-2 overall and 5-0 in NLCC action to start the week. The loss to Lake Forest was Central's first since Nov. 21.
Sam Cooper was a key cog in the win over Lakes, finishing with 21 points. "Sam helped fuel a great second half," Central coach Brian Centella said.
Dennis Estepp leads the team in scoring at 14 points, while also averaging 3 assists and 2 steals per game. Jake Gibson averages 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Senior guard Kai Taylor and Jack Gerbasi also have been making people take notice of late.
"The usual suspects have been playing well," Centella said. "Kai has also been playing really well. He is handling the ball, playing great on-ball pressure defense and really playing overall smart basketball. He had some huge plays, including taking a charge against Lakes. Jack is an incredibly versatile player who can guard almost any position on the floor."
Centella added he's been proud of the poise and maturity the team has shown throughout the season. "Experience and player leadership have been very important to the success of our team," he said.
Grayslake North update:
North has won 5 of its last 7 games and stood at 8-10 overall and 3-2 in NLCC play to start the week.
Coach Josh Feinzimer noted sophomore guard Jayden Hunt has hit his stride, scoring in double figures in each of the team's holiday tournament games.
Dom Jankowski is leading the team in scoring at 19 points per game. "Dom continues to shine offensively," Feinzimer said.
Jacob Donohue had a strong game recently against Round Lake with 14 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Feinzimer felt senior Jack Kerpan played great defense in a road win at Antioch. Kerpan drained a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that put North ahead. He finished with 7 points.
In the senior night home win against Round Lake, 11 different North players scored.
"We've had an up-and-down season, but we seem to be maturing as a group and handling adversity during games better than we did at the beginning of the season," Feinzimer pointed out. "That's been great to see. Hopefully, we can build on that and continue to grow together with each game."
The Bulldogs took ranked Barrington (14-2) to overtime over the weekend, "but unfortunately fell just short of pulling out what would have been our biggest win of the season," coach Wayne Bosworth said.
Grant was 5-11 overall and 2-2 in NLCC play to start the week.
"We're still working to improve and maximize every possession, both on offense and defense," Bosworth noted. "As more and more of our players begin to execute their individual assignment, we will begin to be a tough team to beat."
In the overtime game against Barrington, Will Schubert was 6-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-4 from the 3-point line, leading Grant with 16 points. Bernard Morris was 3-for-4 from 3 and had 11 points. Ayden Sheppard added 13 points.
"Will and Bernard stepped up against Barrington," Bosworth said.
Bosworth said the Bulldogs are "just beginning to understand what it takes to be successful at this level," he explained. "We did a complete 180 in the way we played as a team and our decision-making in our loss to Antioch (53-46) compared to our overtime loss to No. 8-ranked Barrington."
Grant has conference games this week against Round Lake and Lakes.
"There are a bunch of us sitting at 2 losses in conference with us, Grayslake North and Wauconda," Bosworth said. "This week will begin to force some separation."
The Corsairs were 8-14 overall and 0-8 in East Suburban Catholic action to start the week. Carmel is 5-5 in its last 10 games playing a tough ESCC schedule, coach Dmitry Pirshin noted.
"Our big guys are stepping up, however the injury bug hit us," Pirshin noted. "I believe we had a chance to win at least two games if not for injuries."
Kalob Jackson, Noah LaMora and Jacob Chajet continue to play well for the Corsairs.
Carmel has games against Marian Catholic and Benet Academy coming up.
"They are all big games coming up," said Pirshin, who noted the team has turned things up a notch in the practice gym of late.
The Sequoits are 6-1 on the road this season and stood at 8-10 overall and 2-3 in NLCC play at week's beginning.
Antioch recently defeated Grant 53-46 and Chicago Julian 48-46. Carter Webb had 22 points on the strength of 6-for-11 shooting from 3 in the Julian win.
Webb is averaging a team-best 9.9 points per game, while Nate Young leads the way in rebounding at 4.9. Emmy Zamudio is tops for Antioch in assists at 2.6 per game, while Webb leads the team in steals at 1.7 per game. Webb also has made 40 three-pointers and is shooting 75% from the free-throw line.
Antioch has won four of its last five games. "Players are stepping into roles," Antioch coach Sean Connor said.
Antioch has played without All-Area sophomore Marshall Gehrke, who is out for the season after suffering a hand injury against Fremd.
During that five-game stretch, senior Joe Neumann averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench. Webb, a junior, averaged 13.5 points during that five-game run, while sophomore Teddi Wetu averaged 10.5 points.
"It's the first time we have had three players averaging double digits over any span of games in the last two years," Connor pointed out. "Our seniors have continued to step up more and more to lead and the juniors are finding their roles on both ends of the floor. Practices have been as intense and competitive as ever."
Antioch has conference games this week against Wauconda and Round Lake before a rematch with Lakes on Jan. 24.
The Bulldogs were recent 68-45 winners over Chicago Butler College Prep in a nonconference game played at Chicago Uplift. The win moved Wauconda to 9-7 overall.
Braeden Carlsen led the Bulldogs with 21 points and had 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists. Will Sickmeir had 18 points and 6 rebounds, while Tyler Tylka had 15 points and 6 rebounds, while also hitting 3 threes. Zach Miller had 5 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks and shot 3-for-4 from the foul line. Wauconda used a 24-16 second quarter to establish control.
The Bulldogs moved to 2-2 in NLCC play with a 78-53 win over North Chicago. Wauconda scored 46 points over the second and third quarters.
Carlsen led the way with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Cayden Mudd had 15 points, 3 assists and 3 steals, while Tylka had 14 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and canned 3 threes. Miller had 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Lake Zurich update:
The Bears earned a recent 5-point win against Mid-Suburban League West leader Palatine over the weekend. Lake Zurich came into the week 11-7 overall and 3-3 in North Suburban action.
Anton Strelnikov leads the Bears in scoring at 16 points per game and also averaged 6 rebounds per contest. Nick Popovic averages 4.5 assists.
Strelnikov averaged 20 points in the Bears' three games last week "and is really coming into his own as a sophomore," Lake Zurich coach Terry Coughlin said.
Noah Kyrychenko averaged 8 rebounds last week. "Noah is rebounding the ball at a really high level," Coughlin noted.
Coughlin noted his squad is playing with more confidence of late.
"We are very young, so the first half of the season our players were seeing things for the first time and we didn't have many data points to draw from as to how we would react," he explained. "I think our kids now feel like together they can accomplish really good things and they have confidence in one another. In close games that belief and confidence is valuable. I really like our togetherness and we are playing with joy and passion. This is a really fun group to coach."