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Blue-collar basketball players will do Highland Park proud

Jordan Krawitz HighlPark prepares shoot free throw during game Feb. 27. | Josh Peckler~for Sun-Times Media

Jordan Krawitz of Highland Park prepares to shoot a free throw during a game on Feb. 27. | Josh Peckler~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 12, 2013 6:54AM

Traditionally, Highland Park High School’s boys basketball team does more with less than just about every other school in the county.

That’s a tribute to coach Paul Harris and to the players, who do what it takes to be successful. In the last 10 days, the Giants finished second in huge tournaments hosted by Stevenson and Mundelein, even though there are no NCAA Division 1 players wearing Highland Park blue this summer.

The Giants are not big or quick, but they have a roster full of smart, hard-working players who can knock down open shots from the perimeter. Junior forward Jordan Krawitz was the garbage man inside at the Mundelein tourney, in which the Giants beat Lake Forest and Mundelein before losing to champion New Trier.

“This (shootout) was good for us,” said Harris after losing to New Trier. “We saw some good programs and a lot of different styles of play. We got a chance to play a lot of guys, and they really responded. It was a lot of fun.

“We’re pretty junior dominated, but I’m really proud of our seniors,” he added. “Jeremy (Levin), Nate (Wellek), and Tommy (Sutker) have done a great job this summer in terms of providing leadership, and our returning guys like David (Sachs), Luke (Norcia), and Jordan Krawitz have really provided us some stability. The other guys keep getting better. It’s really encouraging.”

Opposing coaches have all raved about the work ethic of the Highland Park players. Does Harris see what everybody else sees?

“They’re a good group of guys. They’re unselfish,” the coach said. “You see it in our play. We make the extra pass. You can tell guys like each other, and that makes it easier to come to camp every day and work hard.”

In the championship game at Mundelein, New Trier used a 17-4 first-half run to break open a 10-10 game and Highland Park chased the rest of the way. The Giants pulled within six in the final minute but New Trier hit four straight free-throws to ice the game.

Both teams substituted liberally and both had 10 players score. Junior Jacob Iden led Highland Park with 12 points Junior forward Krawitz added 10.

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