Lakes rallies past Vernon Hills
Updated: January 13, 2012 11:24PM
Justin Bergeron scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first half and visiting Lakes withstood a late Vernon Hills rally to post a 73-66 victory Friday in a battle of North Suburban Prairie contenders.
Lakes (11-6, 5-1), is alone in second place and still has a game left with league-leading North Chicago.
Vernon Hills is 4-2 in the division and 9-7 overall.
Lakes outscored Vernon Hills 20-11 in the third quarter to grab a 50-38 lead, and still led 65-54 with 2:36 to play.
Then, after the Cougars pulled within 66-63 with 1:27 left to play, Lakes made enough free throws (10 of 18 in the fourth quarter) to secure the important win.
Justin Schneider, Lake’s 6-8 center, added 19 points in the win, scoring 13 of his points after intermission.
For Vernon Hills, Darren Hoveydai had 22 points. M.J. Crowley added 12 and Stephen Curry had nine.
Vernon Hills hit eight three-point shots in the game, while Lakes made three.
“Any win you can get on the road in the conference is a good win,” said Lakes second-year coach Chris Snyder. “It keeps us in that spot behind North Chicago.
“While obviously we have some games before we play them again, we’re still in the mix.”
Lakes lost in double-overtime to North Chicago in December in a contest the Eagles almost won on two different occasions.
Saturday night, Lakes goes into the lions den as it plays at state-power Warren (11-2) in a non-conference matchup.
“Tough one tomorrow night,” said Snyder. “The kids are excited about it. It’s a chance to see how we stack up against one of the top teams in the state.
“That’s why you play the game. We’ll see what we can do.”
On the other side, Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said Lakes had the better of his team on this night.
“Give Lakes credit,” he said. “They played extremely hard. They were all over the offensive glass. I think our guys would tell you they didn’t play their best.
“Lakes played harder than us and certainly deserved to win.”
Vernon Hills will return to action next Saturday, at home, against Round Lake.