Since the injury bug has hit , many of the Spartans have been forced to play out of position. One example of this is 6-foot guard Adam Chick playing power forward.
Turns out, the switch-ups aren't all bad, though. Chick handled the transition so well at on Tuesday night that he posted game-highs in points (19) and rebounds (13). The banged up Spartans made a run in the third quarter and pulled away in the fourth to pick up a 54-42 Central Suburban League win in Des Plaines.
GBN played without star 6-foot-8 center Andrew McAuliffe (fractured patella) and 6-foot-2 forward Mitchell Lev (concussion). The openings meant Chick had to play big inside.
“Adam’s gotta rebound,” GBN coach Dave Weber said. “We’re not a real strong rebounding team. We are with our 6-8 guy and Mitchell Lev is our best rebounder. It makes Mark Johnson play out on the floor more, but somebody’s gotta pick up the slack and I thought Adam did a nice job tonight.”
The injuries have forced 6-foot-6 forward Mark Johnson, who likes to play on the perimeter, to move to center and Chick to power forward. Despite the makeshift lineup the Spartans (12-3, 3-1) have won three in a row since dropping a pair of games at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament.
Maine West (7-7, 2-2) took its time early and jumped ahead 4-0 after minute-long possessions that resulted in Conor Hart (18 points) baskets. The Spartans responded with an 11-0 run that featured six points from Kurt Karis (14 points, 5 assists). Karis played his second game after missing some time with a sprained ankle, but isn’t practicing much yet.
The Warriors finished the first half on a 12-3 run to take a 22-21 lead into halftime and scored the first five points of the third. The Spartans didn’t score for the first four minutes of the third and Weber called a timeout with 3:49 left to get his team going and they responded.
GBN pressed the Warriors and a Jason Markus three-pointer off an inbounds pass was followed by a steal and layup by Chick a few seconds later to tie the game at 29.
“We just wanted that fire, got that intensity,” Chick said. “We pressed them, which really got us going. We got a couple turnovers. Jason was all over the place. He really got us that spark to get us going.”
Markus caused chaos in the Spartans’ press, which Maine West struggled to handle. Markus finished with nine points on three three-pointers.
“It was just a man-press and we couldn’t even get the ball in bounds,” Maine West coach Erik McNeill said. “Then the momentum’s changed and we could never get it back.”
The Spartans scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, seven of which came from Chick, to build a 43-31 lead. The win puts GBN into a tie atop the league with Highland Park, while Maine West sits a game behind.
“It comes down to turnovers, taking care of the ball and running possessions in the fourth quarter to win games and win big games and we’re not there yet,” McNeill said.
North returns to action Friday at Maine East.