Lincoln-Way East achieved something Tuesday that no other in-state team had been able to accomplish this season against Homewood-Flossmoor — play the Vikings to a close game.

Lincoln-Way East rode a hot shooting start to stick with No. 1 Homewood-Flossmoor until fatigue set in late in the third quarter of a 63-50 Southwest Suburban Blue Conference setback.

"We talked about that after the game, a moral (victory)," Lincoln-Way East coach Jim Martin said. "We handled their pressure and we made some shots early. We played hard and we showed we can play."

Playing under a cloud of uncertainty after a lawsuit was filed against Homewood-Flossmoor High School last Wednesday seeking the removal of coach Tony Smith and six transfers, the Vikings overcame a cold shooting effort with a relentless wave of players and a second-half emphasis on scoring in the paint.

Lincoln-Way East (13-4, 4-2) made its first four shots for a 10-4 lead. Kara Krolicki drilled her first six shots, including a trio of 3-pointers, to stake the Griffins to a 28-26 lead three minutes before halftime that was aided by a 10-for-15 team shooting effort.

Krolicki finished with 25 points and made all four of her 3-point attempts.

"We all feed off each other and we started off shooting the ball," Krolicki said.

The Vikings (14-2, 7-0) came into the contest with an average winning margin of 46.7 points in their seven victories over in-state teams. The Griffins collapsed their zone when the ball went inside to slow down H-F's powerful inside game for the first 21/2 quarters.

The Vikings turned the game around by pounding the ball inside. Lincoln-Way East trailed 35-32 at halftime, but misfired on its first eight third-quarter shots to fall behind 45-36 deficit.

Player of the game: Faith Suggs, Homewood-Flossmoor, 16 points, 5 rebounds.

Key performers: Lincoln-Way East — Kara Krolicki, 25 points, 4 3-pointers; Claire McMahon, 11 points, 4 rebounds. Homewood-Flossmoor — Lexi Smith, 11 points; Nadia Green, 11 points.