Maybe a little credit goes to the 13th player on the Lake Zurich roster.
Thats Bears junior Steven Van Stedum.
Like everyone else in the Lake Zurich gym, he watched as visiting Zion-Benton ran away and hid in this NSC Lake Division clash on Friday night.
So in the lopsided affair, Van Stedum got some playing time in the final quarter.
And he drilled a 3-pointer and was fouled. For good measure, he completed the rare 4-point play with a free throw. It certainly was one of the highlights for the home team.
Zion-Benton (17-5, 7-3) opened up a double-digit lead in the second quarter and never looked back in an impressive 68-41 romp over Lake Zurich.
Our defense stepped up big time, said Zion-Benton senior guard Dorsey Cadette. We have worked hard on defense.
Cadette hit the games first 3-pointer and extended his teams early lead to 9-2 halfway through the opening quarter.
I was really focused as we knew we had to get this win, he said. To be honest, we really didnt think we would beat them by this much.
Of course it helped the visiting Zee-Bees that the Bears (13-12, 3-6) just could not connect from 3-point range. Van Stedums long-range shot was just the second trey made by the home team in more than 20 attempts.
We didnt shoot the ball as well as we usually do, Van Stedum said. But well be back.
For veteran Zion-Benton coach Don Kloth it was a night his team did very little wrong. He, too, was surprised that his team took the Bears right out of this one early.
Its hard to explain, Kloth said. We played well in all aspects of the game. And I was very pleased with our defensive effort. It was just one of those nights.
Lake Zurich managed to stick around for most of the first quarter. When Jack ONeill found the net from 3-point range it was just a 9-7 Zion lead late in the opening quarter. Zion-Benton came out in the second quarter and put up 20 points and took a 33-17 halftime lead.
They had a look in their eye, noted Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher. We had been playing very well lately. So to come out flat was both surprising and disappointing.
If there was some good news for the home team in the third quarter, it came from junior guard Brad Kruse. He had a personal 6-point run to close out the third quarter and excited the quiet crowd with a few tough reverse shots. However by this time, the Zee-Bees had extended the lead to more than 20 points.
To show what kind of a night it was for the Bears, Kruse tried his hand at a long 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. His shot stuck to the rim, thus resulting in a lost possession. Lake Zurich did a get a lift from its bench in the final quarter, getting the 4-point play from Van Stedum and 6 points from Corey Helgeson.
Lake Zurich gets eight days off before its next game.
Thats how the schedule worked out, Pitcher said. This is just one game, but its a wake-up call.
Kruse led the Bears with 8 points.
Zion-Benton had plenty of help on offense. Star Milik Yarbrough battled foul trouble but still scored 14 points. Both Trenton Curry and Cadette helped out with 13 points.