No need to worry, gentlemen: mini ties aren't the next big thing.
While high school kids often dictate fashion trends, Lakes senior guard Andrew Spencer isn't expecting his unique look to be copied anytime soon.
Spencer proudly wore a tie that was way too short for him on Friday night as part of his travel ensemble for a road game at Grant. The bottom of the tie barely hit the middle of his chest.
His teammates got a kick out of it and chuckled every time they saw it. Even Lakes coach Chris Snyder couldn't hold back his laughter.
"That tie looks like a 5-year-old should be wearing it," Snyder chuckled.
Spencer took the ribbing for a good cause. He began the day with a properly proportioned tie, along with a button-down shirt, in order to meet the road game dress code. But one of his friends forgot his tie and was nervous he'd get in trouble. So Spencer gave his nice tie to his friend and dug around in his backpack until he found his mini tie, which is striped in blue and silver.
"I always keep that shorter tie with me in my backpack in case I wear a pullover," Spencer said. "Then, it's the perfect tie, because it's a clip-on and it just sits right under the pullover and it's fine. No one can tell (how short it is)."
Spencer may have been on the short end of the tie jokes in the locker room, but on the floor during the game, he put on a spectacular show from long range that was no laughing matter for Grant.
Lakes ran away with a 69-52 North Suburban Conference Prairie Division victory over Grant thanks to a career-high 27 points and a career-high six 3-pointers from Spencer.
Spencer was 6-of-8 from 3-point range. As he stretched the Grant defense, his teammates benefited. Three other players scored in double-figures for Lakes, which improves to 9-3 overall and 4-1 in the Prairie.
"I was watching YouTube videos all day of jump shots of really good high school players," Spencer said. "I think that actually kind of inspired me. I've never made this many threes. It was a hot hand.
"I think I finally have gotten into my comfort zone. Last year as a junior, I didn't take many shots. I think I was scared. Now, I've got my confidence."
Spencer gave the Eagles a whole lot of confidence going into the halftime break.
Lakes had built up an 11-point lead by the end of the first quarter but Grant (5-6, 1-4) methodically cut into that in the second quarter. With about only a minute before halftime, the Bulldogs were buzzing, down by only 3 points.
But then the Eagles forced a few quick turnovers and ended the half with an 8-2 run that put them back up by 9 points (39-30) at the break. Spencer hit a 3-pointer off of one of the turnovers, as did Troy Swindle.
"We needed that to get a little separation," Snyder said. "Andrew has been coming along. Each game, he's been getting hotter and hotter.
"We're not a team that's going to live and die by the 3-pointer by any means, but if you've got a guy like Andrew who is hot like that, you've definitely got to get him the ball."
There were others who made the most of their offensive touches for Lakes.
Senior forward Justin Bergeron had 15 points while senior guards Jake Kohler and Direll Clark added 11 and 10 points respectively.
Meanwhile, the Eagles got the job done on defense as well. Their full-court press bothered Grant and forced numerous turnovers.
On the game, Grant rolled up 21 turnovers.
"That's a good team," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said of Lakes. "And that's what good teams do. They capitalize on turnovers. If you make as many turnovers as we did against a good team like that, the game is going to get blown open real quick.
"Our biggest downfall this season has been turnovers. We're averaging about 20 per game. If we can't drop down our turnovers, we're going to continue to drop games."
Senior forward Tom Blanchette was doing his best to neutralize the turnovers.
He was aggressive on the boards and pounded his way inside for most of his team-high 18 points. The Bulldogs also got 14 points from junior forward Steve Dunning and 11 points from senior forward Frank Tokarz.
"I was just trying to play hard and keep my team in it and get some energy going," Blanchette said. "We were really sluggish at the start. We're playing in spurts, but we need to put together a full game.
"I think we're really close to getting it together, though. We're going to turn the corner soon."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.