Grant was hoping the third time would be the charm in the Prospect Class 4A first-round regional Monday night.
The Bulldogs had suffered two double-figure losses to Grayslake North during the season.
Grant certainly came close on the third try, but the Knights’ Danny Mateling and company held on for a 47-46 win and now plays top-seeded Stevenson at 7:30 pm tonight.
Mateling helped Grayslake North (16-12) get off to a good start, scoring 11 of his team-high 18 points in the first quarter. The Knights trailed early 4-1 before a 13-0 spurt with all but one of the baskets by A. J. Fish (11 points, 8 rebounds) coming from Mateling.
“Getting the early lead was nice,” said Mateling, “but then we struggled.”
Part of the struggle was caused by Grant’s box-and-one defense designed to slow Fish. The Bulldogs (13-15) used Rayvon Jones and Luke Lostroscio to chase the talented senior around the floor.
“They had not done that in the two previous games,” said Knights coach Todd Grunioh. “But we’ve seen it before, so it did not surprise us that much. We just didn’t move the ball well. We didn’t handle some of their runs well on defense.”
Jones’ 3-point play with :56 left in the first half gave Grant a 21-19 lead, but a basket by Anthony Whitefield tied the score at 21.
Freshman Aidan Einloth (11points, 7 rebounds) gave the Knights the lead for good with a shot from under the basket with 7:00 left at 23-21, and Grayslake North never again trailed.
Einloth scored 9 of his points in the quarter as the Knights built a 35-30 lead after three quarters.
Mateling hit a key basket on an offensive rebound with 3:43 left in the game for a 43-40 lead.
“We didn’t do a very good job on the defensive boards,” said Bulldogs coach Wayne Bosworth. “They had some (3) offensive putbacks. Defensively, we held Fish to 11 points. And when you do that, you think you have a chance to win.”
A basket by Whitefield made it 45-40 with 3:03 left.
Jones and Steve Dunning (11 points, 6 rebounds) scored for Grant cutting the lead to 45-44 with :23 left.
Mateling iced the game with 2 free throws with :15 left before Keion Miller’s basket with .5 left .
“He’s our main free throw guy,” said Grunloh of Mateling. “I couldn’t have anyone better. We expect that from a senior.”
“We knew that they would be tough in the regional,” said Mateling. “We’ve had some trouble finishing off games so this was good for us. Now we get to play the best team we’ve seen this year in Stevenson. I’m excited for that one.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.