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Future looks bright for Waukegan basketball

Waukegan-02/23/13 Sat./Waukegan High School Joy Bahen11 Waukegan 6th grader with Daniel Webster Middle School cheers for her team Saturday. |

Waukegan-02/23/13, Sat./Waukegan High School Joy Bahena, 11, of Waukegan a 6th grader with Daniel Webster Middle School cheers for her team Saturday. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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MIDDLE SCHOOL TOURNAMENT

North Shore Middle School Conference teams — Central from Zion, and five middle schools from Waukegan (Webster, Jefferson, Benny, Abbott & Juarez).

Tournament at Waukegan High School’s Dog Pound

8TH GRADE FINALS

Juarez (5-3) 18-12—30

Jefferson (7-0) 24-26—50

20-minute running-clock halves (stopped for fouls and timeouts).

#3 Juarez upset #2 Zion Central 42-39 in a semifinal game. #1 Jefferson defeated #4 Benny 40-35 in the other semifinal.

In the first round, #4 Benny defeated #5 Abbott and #3 Juarez defeated #6 Webster.

In the finals, turnovers and missed layups by Juarez allowed Jefferson to play in front nearly the entire first half, but Jefferson’s own turnovers prevented them from pulling away. Jefferson’s biggest lead in the first half was 6 (6-0, 20-14, and 24-18).

In the second half, Jefferson cut down on the turnovers and dominated on the boards to win going away. Jefferson played without two starters who were playing in California with a travel team this weekend, but Juarez had no answer for Juwan Perry in the eight feet around the basket.

JEFFERSON ROSTER

Khalen Mays

Jay’vion Scott

Kharim Sanders

Juwan Perry

Enoch Mwesigwa

Marquiese Thomas

Valo Mara

Evan Dustan

Jonathan Brown

Carnell Dougherty

Cedric Eastman

COACH: Wayne Cook

Not playing this weekend were starters Carson Newsome and Julius White (playing in a tournament in California)

Jefferson Standouts

in Title Game

Juwan Perry (forward, about 5-9), 25 points, 10 rebounds

Carnell Dougherty 8 points, 9 rebounds

Enoch Mwesigwa 6 points, 6 rebounds

Khalen Mays 4 points, 10 rebounds

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Updated: April 27, 2013 2:27AM



Waukegan High School boys basketball coach Ron Ashlaw always has the Saturday before the start of the March Madness boys basketball playoffs circled on his calendar.

That’s because it’s the date of the North Shore Middle School Conference seventh- and eighth-grade tournaments.

It’s the one chance he has each year to see players from all five Waukegan middle schools in action at the same place at the same time.

This year, he saw Jefferson with the eighth-grade title, knocking off Juarez 50-30 in the finals.

And what Ashlaw saw throughout the day had to have him smiling.

“The talent looks good. I always like this tournament because it does have a big game feel to it,” he said of the event, held at the Dog Pound, home of Waukegan High School’s varsity team.

“The coaches work hard with these kids. They play really hard. A lot of things have to be cleaned up, but I think the talent scattered across the schools here is better than it has been in past years. I even saw some good length out there.

Without knowing the parents (re: height), it’s hard to know how that will end up, but it’s promising.”

The eighth-graders who played Saturday will make up the freshman teams at Waukegan next year. And then down the road, they’ll be the varsity squad.

“We’re eager and excited to get these guys who want to continue playing in high school in here to start working with us,” the coach said. “Obviously at the high school level, basketball skill and fundamentals play a bigger role than raw talent alone, but I like what I’ve seen.”

Ashlaw did note that he’d like to see more perimeter shooters come into his program.

“We need more kids developing as perimeter shooters at a younger age,” he said. “You can see even in today’s games that almost all the scoring was off the dribble or around the basket.

“At the high school level teams can always use players who are able to catch and shoot.”



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