Justin Bergeron, Lakes’ reigning Hustle Stat Award champ, was doing his thing on the basketball court again Friday night.
His 8 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal — modest numbers for him — helped Lakes run past host Wauconda 74-57 to remain in contention in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division, with a home game against first-place North Chicago in two weeks.
The beauty of Bergeron?
Muscling up shots in the low post.
Pursuing loose balls with the tenacity of Fido in pursuit of a bone.
Getting his trusty wide-receiver fingers on rebounds.
The 6-foot-4 senior with the blue-collar work ethic may as well wear boots on the court.
No wonder the receiver/linebacker committed to play Division II football for Winona State University on Monday night. He visited the campus in Winona, Minn., located on the Mississippi River, last weekend.
“It’s got bluffs, hiking trails, a lot of stuff like that,” Bergeron said. “I like outdoor stuff. So it’s cool. It’s just a nice place.”
Lakes (14-6, 6-1) notched a nice win against Wauconda (10-9, 4-3). The Eagles got a game-high 24 points, including three 3-pointers, from Direll Clark, a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds from Jake Kohler and 12 points from Andrew Spencer, in addition to Bergeron’s solid game.
“That’s just a good win on the road against a team that’s been playing very well,” coach Chris Snyder said after his Eagles allowed Wauconda to pull within seven points in the third quarter, before Clark scored 8 points in the fourth to help put the game away.
“I thought we did a good after (Wauconda) made that run in the third of responding and not giving it all back, like we’ve done a couple of times (this season).”
Kodey Thomas came off the bench to lead Wauconda with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 6 from three-point range. He had taken himself out of Wednesday’s game against Carmel Catholic because he wasn’t feeling well. The same illness kept him out of Thursday’s practice.
“I was feeling good (during the game),” Thomas said. “Coach said, ‘Let it fly whenever you get a chance,’ and I did.”
Bergeron scored inside and sank 2 free throws in the fourth. Lakes bases its Hustle Stat Award on a combination of steals, floor dives, deflections and charges. Bergeron takes pride in it, especially since he’s the only player to win the award since the Eagles started it two years ago.
A trophy case outside Lakes’ gym houses the trophy, which has Bergeron’s name on it twice. He’s edged his buddy Clark the last two years, and a “three-peat” is something he desires.
“If people go look at it, it will be pretty cool to see the first three slots with my name,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron wasn’t the only Eagle who was aggressive against Wauconda. The Eagles attacked inside early, bolting to a 12-2 lead, and were up 17-8 after one quarter on 7-of-14 shooting. They went 9 of 14 from the floor in the second quarter and led 41-25 at the break.
Thomas’ 7 points on 3-of-3 shooting in the third helped Wauconda get back in the game. Dion Head (12 points, three 3-pointers) and Austin Swenson (11 points) also scored in double figures for the Bulldogs.
“The second half is usually when we realize that we need to step it up against more physical teams,” Thomas said. “By that time, it’s a little too late. We need to step it up in the beginning of the game.”
Lakes sophomore guard Tra’Mone Hudson scored all 5 of his points in the second quarter. Hudson, whose brother Deandre played for Lakes, just became eligible second semester after transferring back to Illinois from Indiana.
“He’s a nice piece,” Snyder said. “He’s got some good ability.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.