Zion-1/26/13, Sat./Zion High School #21 Kealin McLean, of Zion #12 Evan Boudreaux, of Lake Forest, and #14 Milik Yarbrough of Zion on the lose ball in game action. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:14AM
Struggling with his shooting all game, Milik Yarbrough saw his teammates step up to keep host Zion-Benton in Saturday night’s key North Suburban Conference Lake Division boys basketball game against Lake Forest.
And because of players like Gabe Ramirez (13 points off the bench), Maurice Young (nine points) and Greg Swane (nine points off the bench), the Zee-Bees trailed just 56-54 and had the ball with 23 seconds to go.
And that’s Milik Yarbrough time.
The junior drained a three-pointer with a defender draped all over him with two seconds to go to give the Zee-Bees a 56-54 victory over the Scouts.
Zion is now 6-3 in the NSC Lake and 16-5 overall. Lake Forest is 13-5 and 5-4. Stevenson leads the league at 6-2.
Until the final three minutes, Yarbrough had a tough night, as he missed nine straight shots in one stretch and went more than 16 minutes — two full quarters without scoring.
But he then scored nine points in the final 2:49 and finished with 18.
With the game tied at 54 after a dunk by Lake Forest’s Carter Bass (18 points), Yarbrough missed in the lane in traffic, and Lake Forest’s Sam Downey rebounded, was fouled with 23 seconds left and hit two free throws. Zion then worked for Yarbrough’s final shot.
“My coaches told me to just keep playing and don’t get beside yourself, trust in your team, just keep working and eventually you’ll find your shot,” said Yarbrough.
After Yarbrough hit his three, Lake Forest called a timeout. On the inbounds play, George Quall took the pass, dropped the ball to call timeout, but continued running and was called for a travel to end the game.
“We played as a team and got the ball where it was supposed to be,” said Yarbrough. “My teammates knocked down some big shots and we came out with a win.”
Evan Boudreaux finished with 17 points and 12 boards for Lake Forest. He had all 10 of his team’s first-quarter points.
“In the first half, I think they built some momentum. We were sloppy and they turned us over 10 times,” said Lake Forest coach Phil LaScala. “Finally in the second half we got it going a little bit, but they made some big plays down the stretch. It seemed like every time we were going to make a run, they’d hit a three or put back an offensive rebound.”
The Scouts have now lost league games to Stevenson, Mundelein and Zion-Benton in succession.
“We just have to keep our focus on what’s in front of us,” LaScala said. “We just played three teams that will be the top teams in our sectional. We can compete with all of them, we just have to work on getting better.”
Zion’s win came on the heels of a stunning loss to league bottom-feeder Libertyville.
“We worked hard on defense in the first half. We did a fairly good job against their inside game, but I thought it got the better of us in the second half. Both teams played well,” said Zion coach Don Kloth. “We were fortunate to be up at the end.”