Grayslake Central forges tie for NLCC lead

Grayslake Central enjoyed a big get-back night Tuesday in the Northern Lake County Conference boys basketball race.

The first part for the Rams was avenging an earlier overtime loss as Jayden Hall, Xavi Granville, Christian Jaimes and Cayden Woods all scored in double figures and they never trailed in a 54-41 victory over visiting Antioch.

The second part came afterward as Hall, who shared team scoring honors with Granville with 14 points, and the 6-foot-6 Jaimes (12 points, 12 rebounds) watched on coach Brian Centella's phone as Lakes pulled off a 63-59 upset at Wauconda. Grayslake Central (16-7, 8-2) got back into a tie for first in the NLCC with Wauconda (14-9, 8-2), which got 31 points from Braeden Carlsen.

Red-hot Lakes (10-14, 7-3), which won its fifth straight behind Jimmy Kania (17 points) and Jason Klimas (12), and Antioch (10-15, 7-3) are still in the hunt with four games left in the NLCC schedule.

"We had to get our get-back and this was a big win for us," Jaimes said after getting 6 points in a 16-5 start where he scored off the Rams' only miss in their first 8 shots.

"Tonight in our heads we were thinking we've got to get back," Hall said. "We lost the first time (52-48 on Dec. 13) at their place and we wanted to get our get-back. We executed well and played great team defense."

Antioch shot just 37.2 percent overall (16-for-43), 3-for-9 on 3-pointers and 6-for-18 at the free-throw line as it gave up the first 6 points and had to constantly switch up defenses as it played catch-up the rest of the way. Teddi Wetu had a team-high 14 points with Carter Webb adding 12 and Marshall Gehrke 10 and 6 rebounds.

"That's a credit to Brian - his guys keep getting better every game," said Antioch coach Sean Connor, whose team played exclusively man-to-man the first time and was shooting 69 percent on free throws. "Our guys are still learning how to win and what it means to win and what it means to play in big games at the end of the season and those guys do."

And the Rams weren't fazed with Granville scoring just 2 points and sitting the last 12:23 of the first half with 2 fouls as they took a 27-16 lead to intermission.

"Overall our balance and skill level that we have is great for our team," Hall said.

"I'm really happy to see the maturity in our team and taking what the defense gives you," Centella said. "The last few games we've started to find we're really sharing the ball and having a feel for what it looks like to get a great shot every time down."

Woods and Hall had 3 assists apiece and Eric Brum, who was lauded by Centella for chasing Webb all night, had 2 assists. Aayan Siddiqui'sĀ assist to Hall for a 3 with 5:10 put the Rams up 42-34 and Granville found Jaimes for a layup as they pulled away down the stretch.

Jaimes also hopes to continue playing the way he did Tuesday as the Rams look to take care of business before another big get-back opportunity when Wauconda visits in the NLCC finale on Feb. 13.

"I feel like I can definitely do this every night," Jaimes said. "Sometimes I get in my own head and that's an issue with me but when I'm locked in this is what I'm capable of."

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