Round Lake clinches share of NLCC title

The 2021-2022 girls basketball season for Round Lake has been a major success in more ways than one so far.

The Panthers ran past visiting Lakes 58-34 on Saturday in a Northern Lake County Conference game. With the win Round Lake (25-3, 12-1) clinched at least share of the NLCC championship.

The Panthers also set a school record for wins in a season, the program's most since 2009.

can earn the title outright with a win at Grayslake Central on Tuesday.

"Our focus was today and we were worried about just clinching a piece of the championship," Round Lake coach Molly Hennig said. "Now, we have to turn around and get set to play (Grayslake) Central. We do have three really good scorers on this team. On different nights they pick up for each other. If one has a bad night, then one of the others can pick things up. That triple-balance helps us out and helps our offense along with our defense. It really shows how everyone's role on the team can contribute in some way.

"It's really special as a coach to experience that with these girls. I started my coaching career with Taylor (Major) and Amari (Cole). Just to be able to do it with them is really special. It's something that a coach can hope for. With Taylor being injured over the last couple of years, we didn't know how she would come out and play. It's just really awesome to see her have this type of season."

The Panthers cut down the net Saturday in a celebration of both accomplishments.

Major led the Panthers with 22 points, Cole added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Lilli Burton chipped in with 14 points.

"It's a dream come true, and we've waited a little too long for this," Major said. "We've worked so hard for this, and we've worked harder than believe we did. I'm just so proud for everybody and the season isn't over yet. The record was from so long ago. I actually want to meet the people that did it and have them say you did it. I hope they know that we did it."

Earlier in the week, Major scored 32 points against Antioch and set a school record with 9 3-pointers in a game. She added a couple more on Saturday.

"I felt a little bit to shoot some here today," Major said. "I do have a goal by the end of the season to break the school record of 39 points that's up there (on the board in the gym).

Round Lake led from the start on Saturday and opened up a 17-3 lead by the end of first quarter. The Panthers held a 36-20 advantage by halftime and extended its lead into the third quarter.

Clarity Turney led the Eagles (10-16, 5-6) with 12 points.

"When (Round Lake's) big three get going and clicking, they're a fun team to watch as a fan but as the opposing team coach you hope they have an off night," Lakes coach Brian Phelan said. "We were trying to change up defensive coverages and give credit to them. They seemed to have the answer and executed. Round Lake has a nice team this year. Just give them the credit."

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