Boys Basketball: Grayslake Central can’t keep pace with soaring North ChicagoNorth Chicago's Kurt Hall shoots as he skys over Grayslake Central's Danny Reed (left). | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 6, 2012 10:24PM
Grayslake Central senior Jordan Taylor won the scoring battle with North Chicago star Aaron Simpson 35-23 on Tuesday night.
But basketball isn’t a one-man game, and North Chicago’s other players outscored Grayslake’s 54-27 as the Hawks cruised to a 77-62 win in the semifinals of the Class 3A Grayslake Central sectional.
The Warhawks (22-6) will play either Lakes or powerful Ridgewood in Friday’s final.
Taylor was spectacular, hitting 13-of-26 shots, including 4-of-8 from behind the arc. But the rest of the Rams were 7-of-32 shooting and in foul trouble all night.
Meanwhile, North Chicago was getting 14 points and six boards from JaVairius Amos-Mays, 11 points and eight boards from Kurt Hall, 10 points from Marzhon Bryant, and six points and eight rebounds from Ty Linder.
“We were ready for this game. This is the mindset we have to be in for the rest of this run,” said winning coach Gerald “King” Coleman, whose community packed the stands and helped create a full house.
North Chicago led 14-4 early, 22-13 after one quarter, 40-29 at half and scored the final 10 points of the third quarter to break the game open at 60-40.
Amos-Mays keyed the decisive surge with a crowd-pleasing dunk and there also was a showtime alley-oop from Amos-Mays to Simpson for the jam..
“Nobody in the state can play with us when we’re pushing the ball like that,” said Amos-Mays. “Aaron has carried us this year. Now, it’s on the rest of us to step up and play the way we can play.”
Coleman liked the way his team cranked it up in the third quarter.
“I thought they would call a timeout much quicker, but coach (Brian) Moe let them run with us, which is what we hoped they would do,” the coach said.
For his part, Moe was impressed with North Chicago, which handed the Rams (21-9) their only loss at home all season.
“They did a nice job taking us out of what we wanted to do,” said Moe. “They got us in foul trouble by attacking the basket early.
“The game was played at a pace that was tough for us to handle early. They rebound the ball so well, and Aaron Simpson can hit a shot from everywhere.”
The loss marked the end of the prep careers for Taylor and starting center Casey Boyle (seven points, four rebounds).
“This senior class is my first four-year group,” said Moe. “I’ve seen them grow. It’ll be tough to see them move on. I wish them all the best.”