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Eyre, Wildcats claw past Deerfield.

Byline: Rusty Silber Daily Herald Correspondent

Libertyville's boys basketball team needed more than just star guard Drew Peterson to avoid a first-round upset in the state tournament.

Another senior, Chase Eyre, stepped up three times in the final two-plus minutes. His efforts helped the fourth-seeded Wildcats hold off No. 14 Deerfield 53-52 in a Class 4A regional semifinal at Deerfield on Tuesday night.

Eyre knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:18 left to put the Wildcats in front for good at 51-49. He then stepped up by taking a charge with 1:28 remaining. He dropped in a pair of free throws for a 53-49 lead with 20.8 seconds left.

"The free throws are big, but that charge is demoralizing to everyone on the opposing team," said Eyre, who scored a team-high 16 points. "I'm glad it was called. I take pride in my defense, and the whole team takes pride in the defense too. That was a key example of it."

Deerfield tried to rally in the waning seconds. The Warriors' Alex Casieri hit a long 3-pointer as part of his game-high 18 points with 4.7 seconds left that cut the margin to one.

The Wildcats went back to the line but missed a free throw with 2.9 seconds remaining. Deerfield had one last shot from beyond half-court that was off the mark.

"We knew coming in that it was going to be one of those games that Deerfield was going to be ready to play some basketball, and they were," Libertyville coach Brian Zyrkowski said.

"I have to give (Deerfield) a lot of credit. They fought really hard and gave us some different looks. We had to adapt to it, and we had guys step up. That's been the key to this team all season. When teams try to focus on Drew, we have other guys that can step it up."

Peterson added 15 points, all in the first three quarters. Brandon Simberg hit 3 of 4 shots from beyond the arc in the fourth, finishing with 12 points.

Libertyville (18-9) advances to Friday's 7 p.m. regional final against No. 5 Conant, which handled Lake Forest 50-31.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Silber, By Rusty
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Feb 28, 2018
Words:363
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