The competition on Lakes' boys basketball team soared to a new level Friday night.
The competition starts 10 feet off the ground at the rim and Direll Clark jumped past it during the Eagles' 72-58 win over Chicago Uplift in Mundelein's Thanksgiving tournament.
Clark's steal and one-handed slam, on a breakaway from center court, was momentum-changing.
Move over, Jay-Jay Elvir.
"I'm probably the most consistent dunker on the team, outside of (center) Justin (Schneider)," said a smiling Elvir, Lakes' 6-foot-3 point guard.
His teammate Clark?
"He tried to dunk in a scrimmage game and missed terribly," Elvir said.
Not Friday night.
Clark, a 5-11 junior, slammed for the first in his varsity career. Schneider, a 6-8 senior, added a two-handed jam later in the game.
He missed his one-handed dunk try in the first quarter.
"I'm sure they'll be going back and forth with that," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said with a laugh of Elvir and Clark.
Elvir was just thrilled for his buddy.
"It gave us a lot of energy," Elvir said. "It set us off, and we made our run."
Lakes (2-1) trailed 38-37 with three minutes gone in the third quarter when Clark made his steal and slam.
"I was just thinking when I got the steal, 'I'm tying. I'm trying to dunk it,' " Clark said. "When I (dunked), I had the biggest smile on my face."
No wonder Clark was grinning from ear to ear.
He nearly predicted his dunk.
"At halftime, he was like, 'If I get a fastbreak, I'm going to try to dunk it,' " Elvir said. "We got a little competition among teammates of who's going to get the most dunks in the season. Dunking gets the team riled up and it brings energy."
Lakes never trailed after Clark's big play, which seemed to inspire Clark, too. He finished with a game-high 18 points, after having only 2 at halftime. His 12 fourth-quarter points and Lakes' trapping defense helped the Eagles take control of the game.
"He's every bit the athlete," Snyder raved of Clark, an all-state running back. "His shot has come a long way so that's going to help because now people won't be able to sag off him. They'll have to honor that shot a little more. He does a lot of good things out there."
Lakes overcame a 31-30 halftime deficit by outscoring Uplift 21-12 in the third and 21-15 in the fourth.
Tanner Blain secured a long rebound and fired the ball to Schneider for his two-handed dunk that extended Lakes' lead to 57-50 with 4:42 left in the fourth. Clark followed with another basket in transition, a layup off a dish from Elvir.
"We like to trigger our defense by getting some tips and steals, and getting out in the open court," Snyder said. "That was definitely where we put the game away."
Schneider scored 13 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and took 4 more charges, after recording a school-record 5 in the Eagles' win over Grayslake Central on Tuesday.
Elvir scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and also dished out 7 assists. Justin Bergeron added 7 points and 11 rebounds for the Eagles, and Jake Kohler came off the bench to contribute 6 points and 8 boards.
Kendall Lee led Uplift (0-3) with 14 points. Jerrard Davis had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Titans, who used only six players.