By: Luke Drase
A packed house at Northside Prep on Wednesday evening nearly saw Northside pull off an upset win over Lane Tech in a CPS non-conference matchup.
Northside gave Lane all they could handle, but a late rally by the Indians would see them prevail in the end, taking the 69-62 win to move to 3-2 on the season.
“You know, it’s early in the year and any win, no matter who you’re playing and where you’re at, it’s important,” said Lane Tech head coach Nick LoGalbo. “We have to learn how to fight, and I think we did that tonight. We battled back so I’m proud of the guys.”
From the outset, it looked as though it would be smooth sailing for Lane. The Indians opened the game on a 8-1 run by turning Northside over and utilizing their athleticism to get to the basket.
After the slow start, Northside picked up their own defensive intensity to crawl back into the game. Like Lane, Northside started forcing their own fair share of turnovers, leading to some easy fast break to help them settle into the game.
As it turned out, seeing the ball go into the hoop was all Northside needed to get them going. After pulling ahead at the end of the first quarter 17-16, Northside went on an offensive tear in the second quarter.
Led by Benjamin Rosengard’s 11 second quarter points, and a plethora of second chance opportunities, Northside took a 35-25 lead which eventually resulted in a 40-33 halftime lead for the Mustangs.
“Northside is much improved, they have some tough players, they were resilient at home, they had a great crowd,” said LoGalbo. “I mean they shot 65% in the first half, some of those were missed assignments but some of those were just really tough shots and some games, thats going to happen.”
Coming out of halftime, Lane looked like a completely different team. The rebounding issues that plagued Lane in the first half disappeared, and the Indians shooting finally came around, hitting four triples in the third quarter.
Lane turned the seven point deficit into a two point lead in a matter of minutes, but instead of folding, Northside would settle in to only trail Lane 53-52 going into the final frame.
Despite Northside’s resilience, Lane would come out as the aggressors early in the fourth quarter and seemingly giving them control of the game. Three point baskets from Calvin Keyes, and Johnny Colombo gave Lane all the momentum, but more importantly, a 61-52 lead with six minutes to go.
With their backs against the wall, Northside battled back one last time. The Mustang’s defense stepped up, not allowing Lane to score for a five minute period, and taking a 62-61 lead in the process.
Northside had a chance to extend their lead after Keyes fouled out of the game, but consecutive driving layup attempts from Rosengard came up just short, setting up the frantic finish.
Trailing by one with only 1:30 left in the game, Lane’s Zach Krysztopik hit a clutch 3 to take the lead right back. The basket was promptly followed by a three point play from Colombo, which would finally seal the deal for Lane, giving the Indians a 69-62 win.
With the win, Lane moves to 3-2 on the season, but perhaps more importantly, it showed they have other players who can step up when Keyes and Vuk Djuric have an off night by their standards.
Michael Malloy had a great all around night for the Indians with 14 points, 4 assists and 3 steals, while Colombo and Krysztopik both added 13 points each.
“We have to have that next man up mentality. We’re trying to define out rotation right now and the guys know that. After our top six it’s open season” said LoGalbo. “A couple of guys got in the rotation tonight weren’t in there last week. I thought Jimmy Mulvaney came in off the bench and played some really big minutes, so hopefully he continues to do that.”
In the loss, Northside was led by Rosengard who had a game high 29 points with Daniel O’Connor adding 15.
Lane Tech will next play on December 4th, a home game against undefeated Addison Trail. Northside will have a chance to bounce back straight away with a home game against Rickover Naval Academy on Thursday.