Grayslake North surprised Grayslake Central on Tuesday night as the Knights outscored the Rams 57-45.
North led at the end of the first quarter 14-12 and extended that lead to 28-21 at the half. Central was playing without 6’9" center Casey Boyle who has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury.
In the second half, things turned ghoulish for the Rams as 6’7" center Ben Guhl lit up the scoreboard for 12 points and 10 rebounds. Showing great quickness and polished post moves, Guhl scored almost at will and hauled down rebound after rebound for the host Knights.
A.J. Fish was in foul trouble most of the game due to several player control fouls and finally fouled out with about 3 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Fish finished the evening with 10 points.
"Our defense tonight was outstanding," said North Head Coach Todd Grunloh. "I know they didn’t have Boyle tonight, but the last time we played them we didn’t have Guhl for the game either."
Mark Hall, Danny Mateling and Zach Krupp each contributed 9 points for the Knights. Krupp also added 10 boards to Guhl’s 18.
The game was won for North in the third quarter when they reeled off 14 unanswered points. Central had an uncharacteristically cold night shooting. They hit only 31 percent of their shots, but were led in scoring by Jordan Taylor with 10 quiet points. Danny Reed scored 9 points for Central with Sean Geary and Savonte McWilliams adding 8 apiece.
The North student section was dressed in red, white and blue and shouted, "USA! USA! USA!" throughout the game. The Central student section wore festive hats, medals around their neck and held up trophies signifying their Fox Division Fox Valley Conference championship won last Friday when they defeated Woodstock North while the Knights fell to Crystal Lake Central. Both sides were very creative and extremely raucous in their cheering back and forth. It was classic Illinois High School basketball.
"Ben has always had quick moves for a big man," said Grunloh. "But he has really taken his game to another level since the second half of the Woodstock game last week."
"As a team, we need to close out games better than we have," Grunloh said. The Knights certainly had no problem doing that on this night and appear to be ready to challenge all contenders in the upcoming state tournament.
Both teams will travel to the Antioch Regional next week. The Rams will play the winner of the Antioch-Senn game at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The Knights will play the winner of the Chicago Northside Prep-Kelvyn Park game at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29.