RECAP: DEERFIELD 40, GBN 30
Glenbrook North didn’t get the W.
But the Spartans did come away with a couple of small victories in their 40-30 setback to host Deerfield on Feb. 2.
No. 1: Thanks to some great guarding by Sean Merrigan and Brian Johnson, GBN managed to limit Deerfield star Alex Casieri to just seven points.
“We did a good job of keeping him in check,” observed GBN head coach David Weber.
The celebrated Warriors guard, who was honored prior to the game for surpassing 1,000 career points, was unstoppable in GBN’s earlier loss to Deerfield — a 45-42 decision on Dec. 15. Casieri tossed in 23 points in that contest.
No. 2: Glenbrook North’s Max Knebelkamp struggled to score (1 point), but the senior guard was freaky fast with his passes. He was his team’s main delivery man, finishing with eight assists, including three in the first quarter.
No. 3: Mike Roane started for the Spartans (13-8, 4-4) and logged in some solid minutes, finishing with six points and two blocks.
“I like what he’s doing for us,” said Weber. “He gets called for a lot of fouls, because he bangs and fights.”
No. 4: Kellen Witherell was GBN’s leading scorer (11 points) and rebounder (5). He made a pretty post move to start the third quarter, and then he followed that up with a three-pointer from the left corner.
After the game, the 6-foot-5 senior, a three-year starter who figures to play at the next level, spoke with a couple of recruiters/coaches from Carroll College.
No. 5: Senior Evan Barnes, one of the area’s top long-range shooters (8 three-pointers in win over Grayslake North on Dec. 19), struggled early, but the GBN guard tried to give his team a late spark — hitting two of his three three-pointers in the final seven-plus minutes.
But, all in all, Weber really wasn’t enamored with his team’s overall play. After breaking out to a 12-0 lead in the opening six minutes, the Spartans experienced a nightmarish second quarter, scoring just two points on 1 of 7 shooting and committing five turnovers.
“Scoring two points in one quarter is just terrible,” said Weber.
“[But] as bad as we played [in the second quarter], we were still there,” he added. “We were still in it.”
Casieri, a super fun player to watch, didn’t do a lot of scoring (he only took four shots), but he had a hand in two of the game’s biggest baskets.
Deerfield’s Brandon Lieb, a mobile 6-9 sophomore, scored twice off lob-in feeds from Casieri on out-of-bounds plays under the Warriors’ basket. One in the third quarter. One in the fourth quarter.
“We knew those were coming,” said Weber, noting that stopping that particular play was a priority in recent practices. “Our guys just blanked out.”
Weber also tipped his cap to Lieb.
“He didn’t start, but when he came in he changed the whole game,” said the GBN head coach. “When he was in there, we couldn’t score inside.
“That kid is going to be a great player,” Weber added.
With the win, Deerfield improved to 11-13 overall and 4-4 in league play.
GBN’s Game Balls: Kellen Witherell (Sr., F), Sean Merrigan (Sr., G)
Deerfield’s Game Balls: Brandon Lieb (So., C), Dimitri Bousis (Jr., G)
Player of the Game: Lieb
GBN’s Unsung Hero: Mike Roane (Sr., C)
GBN Stat Leaders
— Witherell (11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block)
— Roane (6 points, 2 blocks)
— Evan Barnes (9 points, 3 three-pointers)
— Max Knebelkamp (8 assists)
Deerfield Stat Leaders
— Bousis (10 points)
— Lieb (8 points)
— Alex Casieri (7 points)