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A week from today Highland Park's girls basketball team will be playing basketball in sunny Florida.
Things sure looked bright for the Giants at Wheeling on Thursday night.
And shining the brightest was senior standout Lena Munzer, who scored a game-high 19 points with 8 assists as the Central Suburban North leaders posted a 53-36 victory.
"That No. 43 (Munzer) is a heck of a player," said Wheeling coach Julissa Hernandez.
Munzer, a four-year starter, made 9-of-10 free throws with 4 buckets, including a pair of 3-pointers.
"Two years ago, when Lena was a sophomore, we went to the Disney Wide World of Sports tournament in Orlando," said Giants coach Jolie Bechtel. "It was really an outstanding experience for the kids. I can't say enough about what it did for the team chemistry, and Lena wanted to go back."
Munzer will go to Yale after graduation, and no doubt will be tough to replace for Bechtel.
"She has 8 assists tonight, which is phenomenal," the coach added. " So we were getting other kids to score, too. They've all been getting after it the last few games, so hopefully we keep that going."
The Giants (9-6) got going early Thursday with an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game as Munzer and senior Tina Berardi (9 points) each had a pair of buckets.
But Wheeling (4-9) held the visitors scoreless the rest of the quarter and pulled to within 8-7 with a layup by senior Brie Majkowski, a 3-point play by sophomore Hannah Dobrowski and a 17-footer by Dobrowski.
Highland Park, though, was able to pull away again in the second quarter with a 21-4 run.
Wheeling's only basket was a 3-pointer from the top of key by sophomore Deanna Kuzmanic.
Munzer made 7 free throws in the quarter as the Giants took a 29-11 lead at intermission.
"Highland Park came ready to play," said Hernandez, whose team will visit Elk Grove in a Mid-Suburban East contest today at 7:30 p.m. "And I don't think we were ready."
Majkowski led the Wildcats with 14 points while Dobrowski added 10 and Kuzmanic 8.
Sophomore Grace Quirk chipped in 10 points for Highland Park, which stands at 5-0 in the CSL North.
"I thought Wheeling played well," Bechtel said. "They had a lot of shots that didn't go in. They just weren't finishing. But offensively they were moving the ball well."