ST. JOHN | A matchup of potential sectional opponents was a dogfight as Times No. 1 Lake Central topped No. 3 West Side 68-60 on Wednesday night.
"It's good to play teams in your own sectional," Indians coach Marc Urban said. "Without the (Duneland Athletic Conference) round-robin now, we're able to do that."
L.C. (14-2) jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter, playing disciplined basketball and preventing the Cougars from running the floor.
West Side powered back in the second frame behind 11 points from freshman Dana Evans. The Indians were dealing with foul trouble in the post, and West Side took advantage with a stingy perimeter defense that led to several turnovers.
The Cougars cut the lead to 24-21 and trailed 28-23 at halftime.
"We obviously got off to a good start, and they had a really big second quarter. It was pretty much even for the rest of the way," Urban said. "(West Side is) a good ball club."
Lindsay Kusbel and Rolanda Curington were each in foul trouble before the break, but Urban said his bench did a good job filling in the gaps. Lake Central still managed to outrebound the Cougars 32-25 without those two in the post for long stretches.
"Ashley (O'Malley) got us six rebounds. Chrissy (Addison) got us four rebounds," Urban said. "They did a good holding their ground and kept us going."
Kusbel and Gina Rubino each scored 17 points to lead the Indians. Evans led all scorers with 28 points, almost single-handedly keeping West Side in the game.
"Evans is an outstanding basketball player," Urban said. "She's really good. We're going to have to find a way to contain her a little bit more."
The game was the second in a stretch of eight in 17 days for the Cougars (8-3) and the first of four away games during that period.