Perhaps the only two people in Grayslake North's jam-packed gym on Friday night who weren't overly impressed by Danny Reed and AJ Fish were Danny Reed and AJ Fish themselves.
The two friends have been wowed by each other too many times before. It's almost become old hat.
"I was best friends with Danny in grade school. We went to St. Gilbert together and played for four or five years there," Fish said. "He's a great player. I knew he could play like this."
"Everything AJ does, I can almost call it because he's been doing it for so long," Reed said. "He's just really good. It never surprises me when he plays really well like this."
Reed and Fish put on a show in a Fox Valley Conference crosstown rivalry clash between Reed's Grayslake Central Rams and Fish's Grayslake North Knights.
Both had career nights. Reed poured in a career-high 29 points and Fish just about matched him with a career-high 28 points.
The difference in the game came by way of support. Reed didn't get much help in the scoring department from his teammates while Fish saw two of his teammates finish in double-figures.
The Knights used the balance of Nick Carmody's 15 points and Danny Mateling's 11 points to neutralize Reed's monster night and coast to a 72-57 victory over Grayslake Central.
Grayslake North improves to 12-7 overall and 3-3 in the Fox Valley Fox Division while Grayslake Central drops to 3-16 overall and 1-6 in the Fox.
"Danny played a lot better than I did tonight," Fish said of his old buddy, who knocked down three 3-pointers. "My supporting cast just played well.
"I give him all the credit in the world, though. He played outstanding, and in the first half, we couldn't stop him."
Reed scored 18 of Grayslake Central's 30 first-half points to help forge a 30-30 tie at halftime. But in the second half, fatigue seemed to come into play for Reed, whose shots lost some of the lift they had in the first half.
The Rams had no one else finish with more than 5 points, so the scoring burden was never picked up elsewhere.
"They have the luxury of having Mateling and Carmody out there hitting shots," Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe said of Grayslake North. "We struggle offensively when Danny is off the floor or not making shots. We expect him to do a lot and he didn't come out of the game much. That's tough on the legs of a high school kid."
Grayslake North was tough on Grayslake Central right out of halftime.
The Knights broke open the tie game by reeling off an 18-6 run that essentially sealed the deal by the midway point of the third quarter. Fish had 11 points during the run and Mateling and Carmody came through with some points as well.
"Coming into the season, we knew that we had seniors who could do their jobs," Mateling said. "AJ always does his job getting points. He's getting around 20 a game, and we share the ball and get other people involved, too."
By the fourth quarter, Grayslake North was up by as many as 19 points.
"We talked at halftime with our kids about sharing the basketball better and getting the ball up the court better and I think they really responded in the second half," Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh said. "And we talk about our big three a lot, AJ, Danny and Nick. We rely on them a lot and they came through for us tonight."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.