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posted: 1/7/2010 12:01 AM

Morgan, Daniels do it again for Vernon Hills

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  • Vernon Hills' Chris Argianas dishes off the ball over Elmwood Park's Mark Marzillo during their game Wednesday night at Vernon High School.

      Vernon Hills' Chris Argianas dishes off the ball over Elmwood Park's Mark Marzillo during their game Wednesday night at Vernon High School.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer


No basketball player scored more points than DaVaris Daniels during the Wheeling Hardwood Classic.

No player dished out more assists than Daniels' Vernon Hills teammate Chris Morgan.

"DaVaris led the tournament in points so it wasn't that hard," Morgan, whose 20 tournament dishes were equaled by Stevenson's Jeff Levitt, said with a shrug. "I just got the ball to him."

Morgan did so twice in spectacular fashion Wednesday night. He delivered a pair of alley-oop feeds to Daniels, whose two subsequent dunks highlighted Vernon Hills' 69-44 rout of nonconference-visitor Elmwood Park.

The Cougars improved to 11-3 with their third win in a row and fifth in six games.

Vernon Hills resumes North Suburban Prairie Division action this weekend, visiting Round Lake on Friday night and hosting North Chicago in a much-anticipated showdown 24 hours later. The Cougars haven't beaten the Warhawks since January of 2007, when they outlasted them in four overtimes.

"We're looking forward to (Saturday night) but we got Round Lake (first) and they're much improved," said coach Matt McCarty, whose Cougars are 3-1 in the division. "They had two coaches here (Wednesday night) filming."

Elmwood Park (2-10) trailed Vernon Hills 22-13 in the second quarter when Tigers sophomore Julian Molina drained one of his three 3-pointers. Molina led all scorers with 27 points.

But the visitors never got closer than their six-point deficit, as Vernon Hills scored the next 13 points. In the middle of the run was Daniels' alley-oop slam, which came while the Cougars ran their half-court offense against the Tigers' zone.

According to McCarty, Morgan and Daniels had executed the play maybe just once all season.

"They mess around in practice and throw them, but we haven't seen a whole lot of zone," McCarty said. "Those were a couple of zone quick-hitters that we were able to run.

"We were looking for a little energy so that's why we called it."

Midway through the third quarter, with Vernon Hills leading 42-20, Morgan and Daniels executed the alley-oop again and enjoyed the same result, with Daniels even being fouled on the play.

"Normally it's not that open," Morgan said. "But tonight it was way open."

Daniels - who scored 109 points during the Wheeling tournament - finished with a team-high 17 points and was one of four Cougars to score in double figures. The junior guard added 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Brothers Brandon and Stephen Curry had 13 and 10 points, respectively. Morgan finished with 12 points, while Robert Bryant grabbed 9 rebounds (five offensive).

Vernon Hills never trailed, building a 17-11 advantage after one quarter and extending it to 37-20 by halftime.

"One of our goals was to get out in transition," McCarty said. "We knew we could pressure their guards a little bit. We were able to get out and get high-percentage shots."