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Leading 18-4 after one quarter Friday night, it seemed Lincoln-Way North would roll to its third-consecutive appearance in the Medieval Classic title game.
Then Lincoln-Way Central drained seven three-pointers and put up 25 points in the second quarter.
“Yeah, it was a wake-up call,” North’s Tre Lewis said. “It showed us that it wouldn’t be easy. They caught fire. We had to make some match-up changes. We got bigger and more athletic guys in there.”
The Knights did not hit another trey until the game’s final seconds as the Phoenix pulled away for a 63-46 win.
North (9-5), which lost to Lincoln-Way East in the championship game the past two years, will meet Shepard in Saturday’s title game.
Lewis led the Phoenix with 18 points and five rebounds. Denton Wallace added 16 points and six rebounds.
Brad Bass led Central (6-7) with 16 points and five rebounds.
The Phoenix jumped out to a 14-0 lead, with Lewis sparking the strong start. He scored on a drive, converted a steal into a layup and set up Daryle Morgan (8 points, 6 rebounds) for a layup off a terrific pass.
The Knights’ first eight possessions resulted in four turnovers and four missed treys before Bass’ free throw broke the shutout with 1:22 left in the first.
North led 18-4 after one, but Central caught fire in the second period. The Knights hit all seven of their three-point attempts in the quarter, including three from Bass, to pull to within 32-29 at the half.
“The first quarter was one of our best quarters of the year,” North coach John Terry said. “Then we started giving up open looks. At halftime, we changed to a trapping defense and it worked.”
North went on a 13-0 third-quarter run to retake command, Wallace’s trey making it 45-31 with 2:25 left in the third.
“Everything is a struggle for us,” Central coach Bob Curran said. “We shot well to get back into it, but once the shots stopped falling, we didn’t rebound enough.”