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From torn to winning at the horn, junior forward Peter DiCerbo continues to clinch big wins in final seconds

Peter+DiCerbo%2C+junior+power+forward%2C+leaps+up+for+a+layup+against+a+Zion+Benton+defender+during+Pack+the+Place.
Peter DiCerbo, junior power forward, leaps up for a layup against a Zion Benton defender during Pack the Place.

Peter DiCerbo, junior power forward, leaps up for a layup against a Zion Benton defender during Pack the Place.

Jim Weimer

Jim Weimer

Peter DiCerbo, junior power forward, leaps up for a layup against a Zion Benton defender during Pack the Place.

Madison Hart, print editor-in-chief

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The first game-winning shot that junior forward Peter DiCerbo made this season advanced his team in the winner’s bracket during the first tournament of the year. The second was a full court layup that earned a victory over Richwood, and most recently, DiCerbo managed to edge the boys basketball team to a win over Carmel on yet another buzzer-beating shot. This time, however, it was not a shot that had been intended for him to take.

“The last [buzzer-beater] was against Carmel, and the play wasn’t really designed for me, but at the end of the game I knew I had to do something. [Ryan] Kutsor was dribbling the ball over to me, nobody was nearby, time was running out, so someone had to put something up and I managed to get [the shot] off,” DiCerbo said. “That late in the game is all adrenaline, so you have to let everything go. I really wasn’t thinking, and it was automatic to go to the basket.”

DiCerbo not only got the shot off, but managed to teeter the ball over the rim as time expired on the game clock once again. Despite his incredible record of executing plays in pressure situations, DiCerbo points out that the route to being named a varsity starter was a greater challenge than he had expected earlier in his high school career.

“[The summer before sophomore year], I was at a travel basketball tournament in Michigan, and I tore my ACL on a fastbreak that was noncontact. I just bent my knee wrong and felt a pop,” DiCerbo said. “Originally I thought I would be back by playoffs of that season, but when I started doing physical therapy, my therapist told me I wouldn’t be able to play for at least a year. I did really hard therapy, and by the time I was finally cleared to play, I had already been playing on my own a little bit so I would be prepared.”

After recovering from the injury and working with the team during the offseason, DiCerbo earned his place amongst the starting five players due to his motivation and hustle, according to Alex Miller, senior power forward.

“Peter is huge for our team. He’s so explosive and powerful that you can’t tell he was ever injured by the way he plays. He’s one of the strongest and most athletic kids in the school, so how he plays is really vital to what we need,” Miller said. “We have a lot of shooters, but we really don’t have a lot of guys that can go and play inside the paint like he can.”

DiCerbo’s return to the court has proved to be an offensive asset for the team throughout the season according to Miller, but with the loss of several seniors from last year’s Sectional runner up team, DiCerbo says that this year’s group is still trying to find where each individual player fits best in the lineup.

In the beginning, we were kind of finding how everybody fit together since we didn’t really have a ‘big’ man, so we were really trying to put everyone in a position to make the team do as well as they could. Recently we lost Chris [Trybula] and had to redefine where everyone had to go,” DiCerbo said. “Obviously the goal is to knock out all of the kinks by playoff time and hammer out the details, and I think the past couple of games we have really been stepping it up.”

Most recently, senior guard Brian Chmiel has stepped up as a reliable play maker after scoring his own game-winning three point basket against Highland Park. Though Chmiel’s shot fell, DiCerbo was still in perfect position to make yet another play off of the miss.

Despite setbacks due to injuries and players filling new roles, DiCerbo remains confident in his team’s ability to make a run in the playoffs- and with a player who can seal a win in the final seconds, DiCerbo can be the player to make that happen.

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Lake Zurich High School Student Media
From torn to winning at the horn, junior forward Peter DiCerbo continues to clinch big wins in final seconds