When the Deerfield-Highland Park battle for first place in the Central Suburban League North Division ended in a 57-47 Warrior victory Friday on the Giants’ court, both teams were tied for the conference lead.
After Highland Park stormed back from a 36-33 deficit for a 48-39 victory Dec. 6 in Deerfield, the Warriors made sure their 45-31 lead at the end of three periods would hold up Friday. They did it with the same kind of defensive wizardry the Giants used the first time around.
“We used a 1-3-1 zone and a box and one against (David) Sachs,” Deerfield Coach Dan McKendrick said. “We know what kind of a player David Sachs is and we weren’t going to let him beat us. If someone else did, so be it.”
The Warriors held Sachs to five points after he torched them for 19 last time, 12 in the fourth quarter. Highland Park had not seen shifting defenses before this season. Coach Paul Harris said his team will be working on that.
“They kept changing between a box and one and a 1-3-1,” Harris said. “We have to get better when we see this.”
This time it was Eric Porter and Michael Alfieri leading the way for Deerfield with 34 points between them. Porter had 20 and Alfieri 14. Twelve of Porter’s tallies came during a 17-0 third quarter run.
Trailing 27-26 with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter, Deerfield scored 17 unanswered points over a five minute span to take a 43-27 lead. Porter shot 75 percent from the field and made four of five free throw attempts while Alfieri made 83 percent of his tries from the floor.
Luke Norcia led Highland Park with 14 points including eight in the final period to help the Giants get within seven, 51-44, with 2:16 left.
Both teams are now 5-1 in league play. Highland Park is 13-3 overall and returns to action at 1:30 p.m. Sunday against Prosser High School in Chicago. Deerfield, currently 13-4 for the year, plays next at 7 p.m. Saturday at Northridge Prep in Chicago.