Libertyville downs Stevenson

That primal scream, heard round Lake County on Friday night?

Libertyville junior forward/center Aidyn Boone unleashed it after a pivotal moment - his block, at 5:11 of the fourth quarter - in a North Suburban Conference boys basketball game against visiting Stevenson.

The emphatic erasure occurred amid an 8-0 run in Libertyville's 51-36 victory.

"Yes, I got the block, but Chase (Bonder, senior teammate) was near me, and everybody was playing great defense for us," said the 6-foot 6 Boone, who, seconds after his rejection, roared "Yaaaaaaaaah" while heading to his bench following a timeout.

"All of us had energy from the start."

Libertyville (23-7, 11-2) built an impressive 14-5 lead on its Senior Night, highlighted by senior forward John Graham's personal 6-0 burst. Classmate Jordan Swanson - normally a reserve but a starter Friday night - delighted the Wildcats' raucous student fans after nailing a 3-pointer about a minute later.

"This win was special," Wildcats coach Brian Zyrkowski said. "To get a team win like this, with our juniors and seniors coming through like they did, was tremendous. That block by Boone (game-high 12 points) is something you need, especially against a good team like Stevenson.

"Stevenson," he added, "becomes dangerous, and usually remains dangerous, when it gets on a roll."

The Patriots (17-8, 9-4) trailed only 35-30 in the first minute of the fourth quarter, thanks to a bucket by senior guard Evan Porto (team-high 10 points, 2 steals). The 6-foot sparkplug had ignited the visitors in the final minute of the third quarter, netting a 3-pointer after his first steal and notching an assist on sophomore forward Jack Dabbs' buzzer-beating layup after his second steal.

Libertyville junior guards Will Buchert (6 points) and Jack Huber (4 points) struck for 4 points apiece in that 8-0, fourth-quarter run to secure a 43-30 advantage.

"Libertyville hit a couple of big shots there in the fourth, and we just didn't rebound well," Pats assistant coach Paul Swan said. "Their points off second chances hurt us; that's one of Libertyville's strengths."

The Wildcats totaled 10 offensive rebounds to the Patriots' 3 in the penultimate NSC game for both squads. Bonder (11 points) came down with a game-high 11 boards, including 7 - 3 of the offensive variety - in the final quarter.

But Libertyville essentially won this clash in the first 8 minutes, when it fed off the vigor of its home fans and stayed hungry. Graham (8 points) battled liked he wanted his Senior Night to be a memorable one from the get-go.

And that's what he got.

His putback and ensuing free throw started his 6-0 run, and he capped it with a 3-pointer after senior guard Andrew Sorensen (7 points) had hit hardwood to grab a loose ball and keep the possession alive.

"John," Zyrkowski said, "does all those little things, things you might not notice during games. But watch our film, and you'll realize, 'Oh, that's why he's on the floor.' "

Dabbs scored 6 points for the Pats, while Jaden Evans, Joshua Thomas and Andy Wang contributed 5 points apiece.

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