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  • Stingy Naperville Central handles Deerfield Dec 23, 2014 11:34 PM
    If basketball had an ERA statistic, Naperville Central might be leading the league. The Redhawks held yet another opponent in the 30s and pitched a shutout quarter along the way en route to 43-31 quarterfinal win over Deerfield on Tuesday night at the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic.

  • Vernon Hills nips Cary-Grove Dec 23, 2014 11:27 PM
    So far, the Vernon Hills girls basketball team has lost only a handful of games. But the 11-3 Cougars have seen a common denominator in their losses. They’ve lost leads late. On Tuesday at the Mundelein Mustang Holiday Classic, Vernon Hills avoided that fate. Narrowly. The Cougars were up by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter against Cary-Grove, only to see that lead shrink and shrink and shrink. But some late free throws by Monica Bahlmann and Haley Lieberman helped Vernon Hills ice a 3-point victory. “Real proud of the kids for hanging in there,” Vernon Hills coach Paul Brettner said. “We’ve been talking about finishing games. We didn’t finish on some of those earlier games that were losses and we didn’t really handle ourselves as well as you’d hope. It’s nice to see us do real well at the end.” The Cougars had a good fourth quarter overall, thanks in large part to Kasey Firnbach, who scored 9 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter. She also pulled down 4 big rebounds in the quarter. Vernon Hills had entered the fourth quarter up only 24-21. “We knew we really needed to step up and score some points in the fourth quarter because it had been a close game early on,” Firnbach said. “Everybody was contributing. We got screens going, we got open, we got a couple of plays going. We executed what we’ve been practicing.” Becky Bahlmann added 8 points for Vernon Hills and Cary-Grove (6-8) got 13 points out of Katie Barker, who is averaging just shy of 20 points a game. The Cougars often face-guarded Barker, one of the better scorers in the area. “I knew they were going to have a plan for (Barker), and I’m fine with that. Because if she gets double-teamed, someone’s going to be wide open,” Cary-Grove coach Rod Saffert said. “The problem for us tonight is that we just didn’t hit our shots. We had them, we didn’t make them, especially in the paint. We missed a lot of shots there. It was a game of missed opportunities for us.”

  • Rolling Meadows goes to extremes, tops Mundelein Dec 23, 2014 11:27 PM
    There’s not much middle ground with the Rolling Meadows girls basketball team. Shooting-wise, it’s either one extreme, or the other. “Program-wide, we tell our kids that we want to shoot threes and layups, that’s it. We’re not much of a mid-range team,” Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky said. “That’s our philosophy. And I like that style.” Kirkorsky saw plenty that he liked on Tuesday night at the Mundelein Mustang Holiday Classic. His team drained 10 three-pointers to out-shoot an almost equally-hot Mundelein team from long range. A 58-43 victory moved Rolling Meadows to 10-3 on the season.

  • Boys basketball / Lake County roundup Dec 23, 2014 10:56 PM
    Robby Nardini poured in a season-high 30 points, including four 3-pointers, as Vernon Hills’ boys basketball team defeated Maine West 74-62 in the Wheeling Hardwood Classic on Tuesday.

  • Rappe, Carmel enjoy tourney rebound Dec 23, 2014 10:55 PM
    A pair of heartbreaking losses to start Warren’s Blue Devil Classic was not sitting well with Carmel Catholic’s girls basketball team. After losses to Warren and Palatine, the Corsairs pulled out a 55-47 win over Deerfield on Tuesday. Emma Rappe led the way, as she paced all scorers with 18 points. She also had 5 rebounds and 4 steals.

  • St. Charles East stays hot at DeKalb Dec 23, 2014 10:28 PM
    Just because St. Charles East scored 102 points Monday in the Saints’ first tournament game at DeKalb didn’t mean they were going to come in Tuesday all loosey-goosey.

  • Mooney, Notre Dame subdue Prospect Dec 23, 2014 10:27 PM
    When Notre Dame basketball coach Tom Les played for the Dons, he was known as a hard-nosed defensive player. To this day, he still preaches defense and is quick to take a player to task — even when it’s a top offensive player. The Dons had just watched a 32-22 lead shrink to 32-30 in a 1:30 span as Prospect guard Frankie Mack scored 8 straight of his 10 points in that run. Les called time out with :59 left in the quarter and made sure Joe Mooney got the message. Mooney responded after the time out with a steal and basket to put the 9-1 Dons back on track. Mooney scored 36 points as Notre Dame got past stubborn Prospect 49-42 at Wheeling’s 37th annual Hardwood Classic. Notre Dame moves into Friday’s semifinal against Naperville Central, while Prospect goes to the winner’s consolation bracket against Deerfield.

  • A Kuzmanic clinic as Wheeling tops Grayslake Central Dec 23, 2014 8:30 PM
    For nearly a decade a Kuzmanic has visited Warren to play basketball for Wheeling in the annual Blue Devil Classic. That impressive run ends this weekend. “Hopefully I’ll come back and watch,” said Deanna Kuzmanic, who next year will be playing for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The sister of former Wheeling stars Stephanie and Kellie and the youngest child, Deanna put on a “Kuzmanic Classic,” so to speak, in Tuesday’s Classic contest against Grayslake Central. Her 24 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocked shots led Wheeling to a 61-38 victory, keeping the Wildcats’ undefeated record in the tournament intact.

  • Images: Glenbard North vs. Leyden, boys basketball Dec 23, 2014 8:20 PM
    Glenbard North played Leyden Tuesday night at Glenbard West in Glen Ellyn.

  • Johnson, Stevenson finish off Maine South Dec 23, 2014 8:11 PM
    Stevenson needed a full 32 minutes to get past a very competitive Maine South team 60-51 in the quarterfinals at Proviso West on Tuesday. Jalen Brunson led the way with a game-high 29 points and Connor Cashaw added 12 points, 6 steals and 6 rebounds.

  • Images: Huntley vs. Prairie Ridge, boys basketball Dec 23, 2014 8:10 PM
    Huntley High School faced Prairie Ridge in boys basketball action at the Jacobs' Hinkle Holiday Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 23 in Algonquin.

  • Images: Fremd vs. Niles North, boys basketball Dec 23, 2014 8:02 PM
    Fremd faced Niles North at the Wheeling varsity boys basketball tournament Monday night, Dec. 23.

  • Lake Park stands tall against Libertyville Dec 23, 2014 7:41 PM
    Lake Park had no fear going into the land of the giants Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the 37th annual Wheeling Hardwood Classic. The Lancers do not have a starter over 6-foot-2. But Lake Park still managed to end up nearly eye to eye with a much taller Libertyville team, whose front line features a 6-foot-10 center and a pair of 6-6 forwards, and came away with an impressive 55-40 victory.

  • Images: Grayslake Central vs. Wheeling, girls basketball Dec 23, 2014 4:44 PM
    Grayslake Central played Wheeling at the Warren Township High School's Blue Devil Classic girls basketball tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 23 in Gurnee.

  • West Chicago learns a lesson in loss Dec 24, 2014 12:00 AM
    There are moments in a boys basketball game when it’s apparent why coaches get the big bucks. West Chicago coach Bill Recchia and DeKalb coach Al Biancalana made dramatic moves to profoundly enhance their teams’ position in host DeKalb’s 63-56 tournament quarterfinal victory at the 87th annual Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic.

  • An intense victory for Fremd Dec 23, 2014 9:04 PM
    Those watching Fremd and Niles North battling each other for 32 minutes in the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic Tuesday couldn’t help but be reminded of similar matchups between Fremd and the Bob Williams-coached Schaumburg teams of a decade ago. The teams contested every possession like the state title was on the line, and Fremd responded like the defending tournament champion it is with a 61-58 quarterfinal victory. Fremd’s semifinal opponent Friday will be Lake Park, a winner over Libertyville earlier Tuesday.

  • Girls basketball: Fox Valley roundup Tuesday, Dec. 23 Dec 23, 2014 9:05 PM
    Girls basketball: Fox Valley roundup Tuesday, Dec. 23

  • North Chicago holds off Crystal Lake South Dec 23, 2014 8:08 PM
    You kind of had the feeling this was going to be a close battle. After all, the North Chicago girls basketball team was back to defend its title in the 26th Annual Northern Illinois Holiday Classic against Crystal Lake South, the same team it defeated for the crown a year ago. “We knew they were going to be looking to redeem themselves,” North Chicago coach Laurence Brown said after his team claimed the title once again with a 39-36 victory on Tuesday afternoon at McHenry.

  • Confident Willowbrook wins again Dec 23, 2014 10:48 PM
    Senior guard Jake Bruns senses a new attitude in the Willowbrook boys basketball team this season — no matter the situation.

  • Hinsdale Central humbles Hersey Dec 23, 2014 9:55 PM
    Hinsdale Central’s girls basketball team, seeded No. 7, sure has the right attitude for the 31st annual Bill Neibch Falcon Holiday Girls Basketball Classic at Wheaton North. “Last year we were the No. 6 seed and made it to the championship game,” said fifth-year coach Red Devils coach Tom McKenna, who also spent several years steering the St. Ignatius girls program. “So why not as the No. 7 seed.” Why not? The girls from Hinsdale sure looked like they were headed in the right direction in Tuesday’s quarterfinals of the 16-team event. Led by 5-foot-10 senior Gabrielle Rush’s 29 points, the Red Devils scored a 72-58 victory over No. 2 seeded Hersey, the same team they lost to in the title game a year ago.

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