Grayslake North's A.J. Fish (above) shoots over Grayslake Central's Malcolm Reed (left) and Jack Spicer. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 27, 2013 6:15AM
It took Grayslake North a half to get rolling on Friday night.
But once the Knights stopped spinning their wheels and began moving forward, they cruised to a 72-57 victory over rival Grayslake Central in a Fox Valley Conference Fox Division basketball game.
The Knights are 12-7 overall and 3-3 in the division while the Rams are playing better than their 3-16 record would suggest.
At least they did for a half on Friday.
The first two quarters was as even as it could get — ending at 30-30.
But after the break, it was all Grayslake North.
The Knights went ahead 57-43 after three quarters and were by as much as 72-51 until the final minutes.
The only suspense down the stretch was weather North’s A.J. Fish would take game-scoring honors or if Central’s Danny Reed would prevail.
In the end, it was Reed by a 29-28 count.
The point battle was a friendly one as Fish and Reed were teammates on hoops teams at St. Gilbert’s in Grayslake from fourth grade to eighth.
“This game is always one we look at on our schedule. We know they’re always going to come out and play hard, regardless of their record,” said Fish. “We came out with a win. That’s what matters.
“We’ve lost a couple tough ones. If we can just get on a little roll, we can battle for a conference championship. That’s our goal right now.”
For this game, North fans wore red instead of the usual gold/back as a show of support for the American Heart and Stroke Association.
Before the game, Kirk Disrude, a 40-year-old man from Mundelein who suffered a stroke in 2011 and ran the Chicago marathon last October, spoke to the big crowd. He thanked them for coming out and showing support.
Despite losing, Central coach Brian Moe was happy with the team’s first-half performance. “It was one of our better halves. Even though we gave up 30, I thought we did a nice job defensively,” the coach said. “We’re not the largest group of kids. We have to get out and pressure.
“We did a good job hanging with them in the first half, but not so much in the second half ... especially the third quarter.”
Nick Carmody added 15 points and Danny Mateling had 11 for the winners.
“At halftime, we talked about sharing the ball,” said North coach Todd Grunloh, “passing it up the court, less dribbling, and less one-on-one. Our kids responded really well.”
Fish had praise for Reed, his longtime teammate back in the day. Both are wing players.
“We knew he (Danny) is a great player,” Fish said. “Give him all the credit in the world. He played outstanding. We couldn’t stop him in the first half. In the second half, he missed some shots and we played well enough to win.”