Boys Basketball: Lorenzo Dillard’s free throw ices it for Niles North
Updated: March 2, 2012 11:39PM
Niles North junior Lorenzo Dillard scored 21 points, including the game-winning free throw with 7.5 seconds remaining, to lift the Vikings to a 57-56 victory against Glenbrook North on Friday in the Class 4A Niles North Regional final.
Senior Adam Chick missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer as Niles North (20-8) clinched the first back-to-back regional titles in program history.
“We didn’t finish this game well. But if you only focus on that, we’d take away from the first three quarters when we defended our tails off,’’ Niles North coach Glenn Olson said. ‘‘We made some poor decisions [down the stretch] and didn’t knock down some free throws. But we did when it mattered.”
The Vikings led by nine with 2:55 remaining before the Spartans (20-7) stormed back behind junior guard Kurt Karis, who scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. Karis tied the game at 54 on a three-point play with 1:11 remaining.
Niles North regained the lead on a basket by reserve guard Avery Wells, but Glenbrook North tied it at 56 on senior Trevor Ponticelli’s free throws with 19 seconds left.
The ball was in Dillard’s hands on his team’s final possession, and he was fouled with 7.5 seconds on the clock. Dillard hit one of two free throws for the final score.
Junior Malachi Nix added 16 points for Niles North, and junior B.J. Beckford scored seven.
Andrew McAuliffe, a 6-7 junior, had 11 points and five rebounds for the Spartans, senior forward Mark Johnson added 11 points and Chick finished with eight.
Karis fouled out with 38 seconds remaining.