Bears

New Trier squeaks by Waukegan

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New Trier squeaks by Waukegan

By Tim Froehlig
YourSeason.com

New Trier hit five free throws in the final 38 seconds of the game to hold off host Waukegan 54-53 on Friday in a battle of Central Suburban League South Division unbeatens.The Trevians are 3-0 in the division and 8-1 overall while Waukegan is 2-1 in the division and 3-5 overall.Connor Boehm, New Triers 6-8 senior center, scored a game-high 27 points, grabbed seven rebounds and hit one of two free throws with 38 seconds left to put the Trevians ahead 50-47.After a Waukegan miss, David Bragiel hit two free throws with 23 seconds left to give the visitors a 52-47 bulge.Waukegans Akeem Springs (team-high 18 points) then hit a three-pointer with 15 seconds left tom make it 52-50.But then, Austin Angel hit two free throws with six seconds left to make it 54-50, and that was enough to survive a three-pointer by Dijon Ross just before the final horn.Angel finished with 10 points, and Steven Cook had 11.New Trier got just two points from its bench in the contest. It finished 11 of 12 from the free-throw line in the game, while Waukegan was 8 of 12.New Trier started the game on fire and led 15-5 after one quarter. But in the second period, the Bulldogs hit 5 of 7 from three-point range to get with 28-26 at halftime. The game seesawed from there, with New Trier taking the lead for good with 1:51 left on a layup by Cook at 49-47.We feel like we have a very versatile team, said Boehm, who carried the workload on offense against a small, fast Waukegan squad. We can adjust accordingly offensively, depending on the type of team we play.New Trier coach Scott Fricke was pleased to get out of the Dog Pound with a victory.It turns out our free-throw shooting down the stretch was huge, Fricke said, because they hit two big threes at the end of the game. Give Waukegan credit. They played really hard tonight.I thought our defense was good, but we gave up 11 offensive rebounds to Waukegan in the first half.As far as leading the division, Fricke knows theres a long way to go.Our senior leadership and our execution are the keys. We have to get the ball where we want to on offense.For Waukegan, Davonte Taylor added 10 points and five rebounds, and Jordan Johnson had 10 points and five assists.Waukegan is now idle until after Christmas when it plays at the Pontiac tourney. New Trier will head to Proviso West after Christmas.

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.