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Boys Basketball: Lincoln-Way Central tops Evergreen Park

Lincoln-Way Central's Joe Newtoff tries stay away from Evergreen Park's Allante Bailey Monday night New Lenox. | Jean Lachat~For Sun-Times

Lincoln-Way Central's Joe Newtoff tries to stay away from Evergreen Park's Allante Bailey Monday night in New Lenox. | Jean Lachat~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 12, 2013 6:12AM



Nick Kowalkowski drilled two free throws with 8.3 seconds left to give Lincoln-Way Central a five-point edge and the Knights held on to beat Evergreen Park 52-49 Monday in the opener of the Knights/Warriors Winter Classic.

“I didn’t think about missing them at all,” Kowalkowski said of his final free throws. “I got to the line and thought about helping my team get the win and getting back on defense.”

Kowalkowski buried a pair of deep three-pointers and went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe to finish with a game-high 16 points. Brad Bass added 14 points and Matt Mikolajczak netted nine for the Knights (3-5).

Evergreen Park (1-6) received 10 points apiece from Turron Clayton and Jacquet McClendon. Clayton sat out the first half after missing practice Saturday because of illness.

Central had a 12-3 advantage after the first frame and took a 10-point lead into the half thanks to Kevin Mampe finding Kowalkowski for two baskets just before the break. Mampe found Kowalkowski in the post for a sweet turnaround jumper and then assisted on Kowalkowski’s first 3-pointer.

Bass, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, hit maybe the most important field goal of the game with 1:12 remaining. His basket stopped a 7-0 Evergreen Park run and gave the Knights a 47-39 advantage.

“Brad does a lot for us,” Central coach Bob Curran said. “We’re not a big team, but he rebounds defensively and covers the middle.”

Evergreen Park had its chances but finished 2-of-8 from behind the arc and committed 20 turnovers, eight of which came in the third quarter.

“We’re not a good shooting team,” Mustangs coach Pat Flannigan said. “When we turn the ball over like that, we really have trouble scoring.”



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