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Ridgewood's boys basketball team showed why it earned one of the top seeds in the Grayslake Central sectional.
Playing on their home court, the second-seeded Rebels defeated No. 7 Vernon Hills 66-56 to capture a Class 3A regional championship in Norridge Friday night.
Ridgewood will travel to Grayslake Central to play Lakes in a sectional semifinal Wednesday night.
"Vernon Hills is a good team and a well-coached team," Rebels coach Chris Mroz said."From this game on, we are just going to have to grind it out.
Vernon Hills (15-13) was playing in its fourth regional final in five years.
"We hung around, but we just couldn't get over the hump," Cougars coach Matt McCarty said. "We didn't make free throws that we needed to whenever we were about to get the lead."
In the first quarter, Vernon Hills' MJ Crowley sank the first of his three 3-pointers to give the Cougars a 6-4 lead.
But Ridgewood finished the quarter with the hot hand to take an 18-15 lead and led 35-31 at halftime.
The hosts then opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run, as Andy Mazurczak put in a layup and Pete Mroz swished back-to-back 3s.
Mazurczak led all scorers with 20 points, including a 10-of-11 effort from the foul line, while Mroz finished with 16 points.
"In the third quarter, we just picked up our energy," Mazurczak said. "Plus, we moved the ball better."
Darren Hoveydai finished his Vernon Hills career by scoring a team-high 15 points.
"It's been a great experience playing with my teammates and playing for this coaching staff," Hoveydai said. "I will never forget these guys."
Trenton Fulton added 12 points for Vernon Hills and Crowley had 11.