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McHenry drives by Grant
By Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Grayslake North’s A.J. Fish leaps to shoot while splitting two Northridge Prep defenders at the Grant holiday tournament on Friday.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Grayslake North’s Aidan Einloth battles Northridge Prep defender James Stoll for the ball at Grant’s tournament in Fox Lake on Friday.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Grayslake North’s Danny Mateling gets a breakaway layup with a Northridge Prep defender trailing at Grant on Friday.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Grayslake North’s Brendan Walker grabs a rebound against Northridge Prep defender Jesua Zermeno at Grant on Friday.


George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 12/28/2012 11:18 PM

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Last weekend, the IHSA basketball record books got an update.

The McHenry boys team drained a school-record 18 three-pointers against Round Lake Saturday at the Grant Holiday Tournament. Turns out, that ties for eighth-best in state history for a single game.

“We looked it up (on the state list) and that was pretty neat,” McHenry coach Tim Paddock said. “That definitely is (an M.O. of this team). We have a lot of guys on this team who have the green light to shoot the three.”

Not that there’s a red light on everything else.

On Friday night, the Warriors showed that they aren’t just a bunch of long-range bombers. They knifed through Grant’s defense and drove to the basket with authority over and over again en route to a 66-56 victory over the host Bulldogs.

The win moves McHenry to 6-5 while Grant drops to 7-8 overall.

“We’ve struggled containing dribble drive a majority of the season so far,” Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. “That was our one biggest key for tonight because we know they do a lot of drives and kicks for those threes. We were keeping track of it and we got driven on 18 times and 10 of them led to baskets (for McHenry).

“We couldn’t contain the dribble drives. Their guys got layups and that cost us the game.”

McHenry senior guard Shane Varvil was particularly effective at getting to the basket. He scored 10 of his game-high 23 points on drives.

It’s a stat he takes great pride in, considering he’s just 5-foot-8. The odds aren’t exactly in his favor in the paint.

“I just try to get in there, shot fake, get guys off their feet, whatever I can do to score,” said Varvil, whose versatility has been on display over the holiday tournament. He hit seven 3-pointers en route to a career-high 29 points in the 3-point shooting clinic against Round Lake. “I’m one of the shorter guys around here, so it’s a motivator for me to get to the basket. When I do, I think I probably catch guys off guard that I can (finish) in there.”

Plenty of players finished for McHenry, which got at least 2 points from seven players. Junior guard Greg Johnson and senior guard Korey Partenheimer also finished in double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Warriors went up by as many as 15 points early in the fourth quarter, but Grant scratched its way back in thanks to a momentum-changing 8-point play at the 6:33 mark.

Grant senior forward Tom Blanchette put in his own miss and got fouled. McHenry got called for a technical after the foul call. Blanchette (12 points on the game) made his free throw after his putback, then he made the two technical free throws. Grant then got the ball back and junior guard Mike Burns, who recently returned from a hand injury, knocked down a 3-pointer.

That cut McHenry’s lead to 52-46.

But Grant couldn’t get the stops it needed to get over the hump, and the Warriors maintained at least a six- to 8-point lead for the duration.

“Our defense collapsed sometimes and there were times when we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole,” said Grant junior guard Ryan Noda, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “It was a little surprising how well they got to the basket on us because we’ve seen them through the tournament and it seems like they’re shooting 75 percent (from 3-point range). We thought they were just going to keep chucking it. They beat us a lot on the drive. We contained them a little bit, but not enough.”

Grayslake North 53, Northridge Prep 47: Grayslake North used a monster 22-point fourth quarter to overcome a third-quarter deficit and pull out a win on the fourth day of the Grant Holiday Tournament.

The Knights got double-figures from three players, including a game-high 16 points from senior guard Danny Mateling. Mateling hit two 3-pointers, as did backcourt mate Nick Carmody. Carmody finished with 10 points and senior forward AJ Fish added 13 points.

Northridge Prep was led by senior guard Jesus Zermeno and senior center James Stoll, who scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Round Lake 59, Richmond-Burton 53: After scoring just 19 points in a loss to Northridge Prep on Thursday night, Round Lake rebounded nicely to get a win on the fourth day of the Grant Holiday Tournament.

The Panthers were hot from downtown, hitting eight 3-pointers on the game.

Senior forward Mark Jennings led the way for Round Lake with a team-high 19 points, including two 3-pointers. The Panthers also got 10 points and two 3-pointers out of junior guard Karnell Wright.

Richmond Burton got a game-high 24 points from senior guard Chris Vlasak, as well as 12 points from junior forward Nate Hansel and 10 points from sophomore forward Sam Kaufman.