Basketball stock
Jonathan Miano, The Times

ST. JOHN — When you have won a game and your 16-point second-half lead is reduced to one, knuckles usually get white. Real white.

That's when you need a senior to step up. Right?

Justin Graciano and Keon Sellers both had big breakaway layups off turnovers Wednesday night to lead Lake Central to an 86-82 win over Lighthouse. But it wasn't easy at all.

The Lions (0-3) had two possessions in the final 90 seconds down a point but couldn't find the basket.

"They came back because of turnovers and we weren't boxing out," said Graciano, who scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds in the win. "I just told the guys to calm down and we did."

The Indians (3-0) owned a four-point lead at the half but exploded for a 30-point third quarter, with Graciano scoring 14 points in the frame. His two 3-pointers were a common theme, getting four in the game.

"When I score I get amped up and I usually score again," Graciano said.

Lighthouse senior Devionare Glass had three baskets in the fourth quarter, two coming off offensive rebounds as the Lions chipped away at the Indians' lead. Michael Whittle hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

The Lions took a 1-point lead on a layup by Davion Delony with 1:42 remaining, but he missed the free throw and that's when the Indians scored to take the lead.

Graciano had a bucket and Sellers had two layups to clinch the win.

"A couple turnovers and a couple 3s got them back in the game," Lake Central coach Dave Milausnic said. "But a lot of great things happened for us in the second half. We shared the ball very well except for that one stretch.

"It was great to be able to learn a lesson and get the win."

The Times No. 7 Indians led 41-37 at the half, thanks to a buzzer beating trey by Isacc Beatty. Lake Central was 4 of 7 from beyond the 3-point line, while Lighthouse was 3 of 18.

The Lions Michael Whittle was 1 of 8 from long distance in the first 16 minutes.

The Indians were 15 of 17 from the free throw line in the opening half and the Lions were 16 of 21 from the foul stripe.

The Lions finished the game 8 of 32 from beyond the arc.

Glass had 26 points and 10 rebounds. Whittle hit five 3-pointers and had 21 points in the game.

"We've got to learn how to win," Lighthouse coach Marvin Rea said. "But I'm glad our guys didn't give up, they kept fighting. We got some energy and we started getting some stops, which was good.

"We got s new group of guys in here and we're learning some new things. I finally have some shooters. Yeah, we took some ill-advised 3s but I don't mind them shooting because they can shoot."

The one issue Rea said, though, "We couldn't stop 33," or Graciano.


Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.