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Lake Park Pulls Away From Bartlett, Advances To Regional Title Game

Lake Park might have the best high school gym mural I’ve ever seen.

Lake Park 57 Bartlett 50

Sparked by a furious finish to the third quarter, host Lake Park defeated Bartlett 57-50 Tuesday night in a Class 4A regional semifinal in Roselle.

After trailing the entire first half, Bartlett took a 28-24 lead with five and half minutes left in the third quarter. Lake Park responded with a 15-2 run to close out the third, and took a 39-30 lead into the fourth quarter. The run was led by Zach Wagner, who scored nine points in the third quarter.

“We picked up the defensive intensity and it just translated into momentum on offense,” said Wagner. “After that, we just went on a roll and got confident. We just kept on hitting shot after shot.”

The Lancers continued their run in the fourth quarter, opening up a 15 point lead (51-36) with four minutes left in the final frame. Lake Park outscored the Hawks 27-8 over a 10 minute stretch of the second half to take control of the game.

Dave Prentis made three three-pointers and had 11 points during that stretch.

“There was a point in that third quarter where the game could have gone either way,” said Lake Park head coach Josh Virostko. “If we didn’t get some stops, create some opportunities for ourselves, and they extended that four point lead, we probably lose tonight. We made a run, and got up double-digits pretty quick, and then we controlled the tempo the rest of the way.”

Wagner led Lake Park (19-8) with 19 points and six rebounds, while Dominique Spencer had 16 points and five rebounds for the Lancers.

Bartlett (14-15) was led by Jonathan Leigeber who had 14 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Aluquin and John Moss both had 10 points for the Hawks.

Lake Park will face York Friday night in the championship game of the Lake Park Regional. Virostko knows his Lancers must be up to the task defensively if they are to upset the higher seeded Dukes.

“We’ve hung our hat on the defensive end all year and if we think we’re a defensive team, we’ll prove if we’re fake or for real on Friday,” said Virostko. “York can score and they do an exceptional job of running their stuff. Obviously, we’re not going to stop them, we just want to try to contain them to a point where offensively we can score enough points to beat them.”

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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