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Boys Basketball: Lincoln-Way Central withstands Illiana Christian

Lincoln-Way Central's KevMampe goes up for shot Wednesday night against IllianChristian. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media

Lincoln-Way Central's Kevin Mampe goes up for a shot Wednesday night against Illiana Christian. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 11, 2013 10:38PM

Lincoln-Way Central started and finished strong, and that proved to be enough to post a 52-41 win Wednesday night over Illiana Christian in New Lenox.

The Knights (4-1) raced to a 21-9 lead and closed the game with a 14-4 run. The Vikings outscored the Knights 28-17 the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough.

“I thought the beginning of the game when we got the lead and at the last three or four minutes of the game, we played hard,” Central coach Bob Curran said. “Part of it is the seniors are logging a lot of minutes. We really need the juniors to step up and give some of those guys a little more rest.”

Central substituted just once in the second half. Kevin Mampe powered the Knights with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Alex Parks added 17 points, 12 in the first quarter. Brad Bass added 12 points and eight boards.

“I was feeling good, had some open shots and I was knocking them down,” Parks said.

Especially in the first quarter, when Parks scored the final five points to stake the hosts a 16-9 lead after eight minutes. Aaron Barnes hit two three-pointers and converted a conventional three-point play for Illiana’s point total.

The Knights’ lead ballooned to 21-9 two minutes into the second quarter. A three-pointer by Bass gave Central a 27-18 lead at the intermission.

The Knights led 36-31 after three quarters and 36-25 on a bucket by Bass early in the fourth. But the Vikings (4-3) weren’t finished. A trapping zone defense and layups by Bo Hofstra and Chandler Kimmel trimmed the lead to 38-37 with 5:32 left in the game.

“Our defensive intensity dropped,” Parks said. “We had to pick it up in the fourth quarter. The seniors need to step it up, take it upon ourselves and hustle and get the juniors to come along.”

“Give them credit,” Curran said of the Vikings. “They scrapped, battled and hurt us on the glass. I had to call a timeout and get into the guys a little bit.”

Parks and Mitch Kwasigroch scored four points each during a 14-4 run that ended the game. Illiana scored just one basket over the final 5:32.

Nick Byrd led the Vikings with 10 points.

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