Lake Park escapes with overtime win over Glenbard North

It wasn't the best start Friday night for Lake Park guard Vito Lagioia, and he and his Lancers also would like to have been a little better at the end of regulation. But there were no complaints about the final result.

Visiting Glenbard North put on a furious rally late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime tied at 42, but the Lancers eventually prevailed 50-49 after scoring 8 of 10 free throws in the extra session, including 7 of 8 from Lagioia, who was slowed by foul trouble much of the night.

"Games like this you just have to stay mentally sharp," said Lagioia, who picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and then got whistled a fourth time midway through the third. "Things might not go our way with calls or other things, but you just have to stay mentally strong.

"Stay together as a team. Don't let one call bring the whole team down. I'm just very proud of the guys that we stuck together."

The Panthers (13-14, 5-6), who lost a one-sided contest to the Lancers earlier this season, trailed 35-28 after three quarters and 39-31 following a spinning lay-in by Matt Zakic with five minutes left to play. But Glenbard North stormed back to draw even at 42 on a driving basket by Greg Strong, who came up huge down the stretch.

Strong was actually fouled on that basket with 14.4 seconds left in regulation and knocked down what appeared to be a potential game-winning free throw, only to have it erased by a lane violation that sent the game to overtime.

"We competed. I'm so happy with the effort. Think about the first time we played that team to right now, I feel like we're getting there. We've improved greatly," said Glenbard North coach Kevin Thonn, whose team got a boost from Strong's 14 points all after the first half. "We're getting on a little run here and doing the right things and playing really hard. Obviously, we're disappointed with the loss but happy with the kids' effort."

Sebastian Blachut had a game-high 8 points in the first half as the Lancers (19-4, 10-1) led 29-21 at halftime, and he finished with 11 points and a pair of blocked shots. He also was one of several Lake Park players who managed to prevent the Panthers' pressure defense from causing too many turnovers, which has become a valuable trademark for this year's Glenbard North squad.

"That team has been improving a lot. They've gotten better each day and they've gotten some huge wins, including a big one against Batavia," Blachut said of Friday's opponent. "That team is tough. But the atmosphere here is crazy and I love every second of it. And we're built for moments like this."

After tallying just seven points in limited minutes through three quarters of play, Lagioia finished with a game-high 16 points for Lake Park. For the Panthers, Donald Davis had 9 points and JJ Hernandez pulled in 11 rebounds.

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