Ignored the first time, an irritated Billy Pitcher leaned in and screamed in the ear of a referee who was ignoring him.
Heck, all Lake Zurich’s boys basketball coach wanted was a measly timeout, albeit a critical one.
The laughs by Lake Zurich fans snapped some of the tension that filled Warren’s gym during a game that was tied late.
“(The referee said), ‘I thought you were yelling at your players,’ ” Pitcher said.
“This is such a tough gym because it’s so big and open and you have the band.”
Pitcher got his timeout, finally, and when play resumed, the Bears got the go-ahead basket by Jack Arends with 51 seconds. Lake Zurich then got a big win, 53-50 over the Blue Devils in a North Suburban Lake Division thriller Tuesday night.
Longtime Lake Zurich assistant coach Tom Reagan said he thinks it’s the first time the Bears have beaten Warren since they switched conferences from the Fox Valley to the North Suburban in 2005.
Lake Zurich (8-9, 2-4), which trailed by 10 points with just over two minutes left in the first half, won its third straight and fourth in five games.
“It’s a great experience and builds momentum for the rest of the season,” said Brad Kruse, who scored 6 of his 8 points in the fourth quarter, before delivering a perfect pass to Arends for the go-ahead score. “We just got to build off this moving into the second half of the conference schedule.”
The score was tied 50-50 when Pitcher called his crucial timeout with 1:40 left.
“(Warren) was doing a good job of switching between man and zone, so (during the timeout) we gave them two plays — one for each — and said either we’re going to get a wide-open layup or we’re taking the last shot of the game,” Pitcher said. “I looked at every kid in (the huddle) and said, ‘We are going to win this game.’ They looked me in the eyes and they were fired up.”
Lake Zurich milked 49 seconds off the clock before Kruse hit Arends cutting to the basket. Arends (4 points) finished a layup with a defender on him.
“Jack always cuts really hard to the basket,” Kruse said. “I was able to find him and he had a nice finish to put us ahead.”
Warren (8-8, 2-4), which lost its third straight, led 14-7 after one quarter. The hosts enjoyed a 25-15 advantage on Derek Mason’s layup with 2:19 left before halftime and took a 28-21 lead into the locker room.
But Lake Zurich manufactured a 13-0 run to start the third quarter. The Bears got points from four players, including Matt Moon, who drained a 3-pointer, and 6-foot-6 sophomore Will McClaughry, who finished a Kruse feed and sank 4 of 4 free throws.
Adrian Deere (14 points) finally scored for Warren with 3:05 left in the third, pulling the Blue Devils within 34-30.
“We just didn’t come out with enough energy (to start the second half),” said Mason, who scored 13 of his game- and season-high 16 points in the opening half. “We thought we had a comfortable lead. We should have played with more intensity the whole time.”
So much for Mason’s big night coming off the bench. Counted on more for defense, he shot 6 of 7 from the floor (two 3-pointers) and dished out 4 assists.
“It’s not that big of a deal since we lost,” Mason said.
Lake Zurich took a 37-33 lead into the fourth, but Warren finally pulled even on 2 free throws by Deere with 2:14 to go. The Blue Devils wouldn’t score again. Trailing by the eventual final, they had one last chance, inbounding under their own hoop with 3.1 seconds left after a timeout. But McClaughry (8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) intercepted a half-court inbounds pass to secure Lake Zurich’s win.
Ryan Roach (15 points) and Mike Travlos (10) scored in double figures for the Bears, and each player sank a pair of 3s.
“They had a lot more energy than we did (in the second half),”Warren coach Ryan Webber said. “They had the 13-0 run and we were nonresponsive. We didn’t have a whole lot of energy and it seemed like we were just a step slow. They made all the effort plays in the second half.”
Aarias Austin added 7 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds for Warren.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.