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This is all fun.
Before we run our official Daily Herald All-Area boys and girls basketball teams in the Sports Extra section of our Friday, March 8 edition, I offer up my unofficial best-of-the-best teams for Lake County. Note that these lists include players from only our Daily Herald circulation area. So you won't see North Chicago's athletic beast Kurt Hall (All-Junior), Zion-Benton's sweet Syerra Cunningham (All-Senior), Lake Forest's manly Evan Boudreaux (All-Sophomore), fellow Scout and 6-9 Yale-bound Sam Downey (All-Tall), Zion-Benton's man-child Milik Yarbrough (All-Junior) and Z-B freshman Ladellia "TT" Magget (All-Cool Name).
All-Senior (Girls): Vernon Hills C Meri Bennett-Swanson, Libertyville G Olivia Mayer, Lakes F Terese McMahon, Stevenson G Kari Moffat, Warren F Alyssa Phillips
Skinny: Meri, Kari and nary a girl here who didn't compete every night.
All-Senior (Boys): Vernon Hills G Stephen Curry, Mundelein F Chino Ebube, Grayslake North F A.J. Fish, Mundelein F Sean O'Brien, Grayslake Central G Danny Reed
Skinny: Fish, the QB who was captain of our Lake County All-Area football team, averaged 21 ppg in his fourth varsity season. Now we get to the sport that he'll play at the D-I level — lacrosse. Gonna miss the Virginia-bound kid — and all the fun we're still having with his last name. But, hey, we still got soph sister Maggie Fish!
All-Junior (Girls): Grayslake Central C Morgan Dahlstrom, Antioch G Paige Gallimore, Vernon Hills F Sydney Smith, Grayslake North F Brittney Thibeaux, Vernon Hills F/G Lauren Webb
Skinny: The 6-foot Thibeaux, athletic but raw, dominated games at times in leading the 26-win Knights to their best season ever. Gallimore posted multiple double-doubles (points and rebounds), and she's just 5-6.
All-Junior (Boys): Warren F Adrian Deere, Carmel C Jack George, Lake Zurich G Brad Kruse, Libertyville G Jack Lipp, Round Lake G Karnell Wright
Skinny: Here's hoping Round Lake can keep Wright on the right path. The kid can flat-out score the basketball.
All-Sophomore (Girls): Stevenson F Taylor Buford, Mundelein F Natalie Busscher, Mundelein G Maggie Mahar, Grayslake Central G Lauren Spalding, Stevenson G Sophia Way
Skinny: With Busscher and Mahar, and Brian Evans as coach, the Mustangs can't struggle again next season. Right?
All-Sophomore (Boys): Libertyville C Joe Borcia, Stevenson G Jalen Brunson, Stevenson G Connor Cashaw, Wauconda F Ricky Sidlowski, Lake Zurich G Mike Travlos
Skinny: Sure glad Brunson was allowed to talk to the media this season. Bright, articulate, insightful, says the right things. The kid is a treat. And, oh, he's pretty good at this basketball thing. Illinois, DePaul, Purdue, Southern Methodist and Xavier have offered him a ride.
All-Freshman (Girls): Antioch G Alexis Duehr, Antioch F Kelly Johnson, Warren G Kyle Nedelka, Lake Zurich G Abby Pirron, Grant G Jasmine Sangster
Skinny: Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz raves about Nedelka and her potential. When Lake Zurich is good again — and the Bears will be — Pirron could be leading the way.
All-Freshman (Boys): Carmel G Chris Duff, Grayslake North F Aidan Einloth, Round Lake G Michael Green, Round Lake F James Mobley, Round Lake F Kemonti Glover
Skinny: Really strong group here. Round Lake coach Jim Roberts calls Mobley the most popular athlete in the school. Athletic, smart, a good kid. The Panthers just need more James Mobleys.
All-Verb (Boys): Grant G Mike Burns, Grayslake North F A.J. Fish, Lake Zurich G Matt Moon, Round Lake F Zack Pick, Lake Zurich G Ryan Roach.
Skinny: moon: to spend in idle reverie; dream — used with away; roach: to clip or cut off (the mane of a horse). Who knew?
All-Rebounding (Girls): Grayslake Central C Morgan Dahlstrom, Antioch F Alex Fracek, Grayslake North C Joanna Guhl, Libertyville F Dana Kym, Warren F Alyssa Phillips
Skinny: Fracek grabbed 24 boards in a game. Kym hustled for 19 rebounds one night.
All-Rebounding (Boys): Carmel F Cullen Barr, Lakes F Justin Bergeron, Stevenson G Connor Cashaw, Mundelein F Chino Ebube, Mundelein F Sean O'Brien
Skinny: The 6-4 Bergeron is as good as it gets when it comes to rebounding the ball, especially at the offensive end. Highly active, great instincts, nonstop effort.
All-Sharpshooter (Girls): Antioch G Megan Borries, Grayslake North G Kendall Detweiler, Grayslake North G Emily Dugan, Mundelein G Maggie Mahar, Vernon Hills F Sydney Smith
Skinny: The tiny-but-spunky Detweiler showed off her range shot downstate again, advancing to the Final Four in the three-point contest for the second time in three years.
All-Sharpshooter (Boys): Stevenson G Jalen Brunson, Mundelein G Robert Knar, Libertyville G Jack Lipp, Grayslake North G Danny Mateling, Stevenson G Andy Stempel
Skinny: Thank you, Robert Knar, for making an unthinkable and incredible return to the court just six months after ACL surgery. I never get tired of watching that effortless shot. Classy kid, too.
All-Hops (Boys): Lakes F Direll Clark, Warren F Adrian Deere, Grayslake North F Dom DiProva, Mundelein F Chino Ebube, Lakes G Andrew Spencer
Skinny: Warren coach Ryan Webber, to the equally height-challenged me, after watching the 6-4 Ebube put on one of his crazy dunk shows, which included a two-handed rim-rocker from a set position: "Don't you wish you could know what that feels like?"
All-Cool Name (Girls): Warren F Atiana Bey-Wrey, Antioch F Sage Keyes, Carmel G Mariana Kolomayets, Round Lake G/F Raven Nicoline, Carmel F Blaze Pullman
Skinny: I kept waiting for Pullman to come off the bench and rain 3s. "Blaze heats up." "Blaze sizzles." I could go on. Mariana Kolomayets: It just rolls off the tongue.
All-Cool Name (Boys): Carmel G Shareif Belser-Bailey, Wauconda F Vlad Dragon, Mundelein F Chino Ebube, Mundelein G Diamond Hood, Round Lake F Zack Pick
Skinny: Diamond Hood: Sounds like a millionaire record producer. Vlad Dragon: Sounds like a UFC fighter.
All-Defense (Girls): Vernon Hills G Brie Bahlmann, Vernon Hills C Meri Bennett-Swanson, Grayslake North G Jordyn Bowen, Carmel G Kathleen Felicelli, Libertyville G Olivia Mayer
Skinny: The Cougars' MBS swatted 4 Montini field-goal tries Friday. She's not just 6-2. She knows how to block shots.
All-Defense (Boys): Lakes F Direll Clark, Wauconda F Devon King, Lakes F Jake Kohler, Stevenson F Matt Morrissey, Mundelein F Sean O'Brien
Skinny: Clark provided a steal-of-the-year entry in the regional semifinals at Vernon Hills. He soared by the sideline to break up a pass and, while airborne, caught the ball with two hands and bounced it off the head of a Grayslake Central player. The ball landed several rows up in the bleachers. That's athleticism, folks.
All-Boy Band: Grayslake North G Nick Carmody, Lakes G Jeff Cherry, Mundelein G Dylan Delaquila, Grayslake Central G Joey Mudd, Grayslake North G Brendan Walker
Skinny: Girls wish they had Walker's long red locks. They call Carmody "Bieber." The 5-8 Cherry sports Elvis hair and long thin sideburns. Delaquila and Mudd both look like they'll still be getting carded when they're 35. Honorary head coach: Warren's Ryan Webber, who looks younger than some sophomore call-ups.
All-Small (Girls): Carmel G Nicole Bitter (5-4), Grayslake North G Jordyn Bowen (5-5), Grayslake North G Kendall Detweiler (5-5), Vernon Hills G Haley Lieberman (5-4), Wauconda G Lauren Nee (5-2)
Skinny: One of my favorite moments of the season happened during Mundelein's Christmas tournament. Lieberman crashed to the court and wasn't getting up. No one immediately went to her aid. Finally, Sydney Smith hustled over to her fallen teammate, squatted, scooped her up and carried her with two hands to the bench. That's being a teammate, folks.
All-Small (Boys): Stevenson G Justin Berkson (5-7), Mundelein G Nick Filippo (5-5), Mundelein G Thomas Gandolfi (5-6), Warren G Eric Gillespie (5-7), Antioch G A.J. Marsiglio (5-6)
Skinny: Gandolfi defines hustle plays. He deflects passes, dives, bravely speeds into the lane and beats 6-footers to rebounds and, when he attempts a rare shot, he attacks the basket in case he misses. Simply huge.
All-Tall (Girls): Vernon Hills C Meri Bennett-Swanson (6-2), Grayslake Central C Morgan Dahlstrom (6-1), Carmel C Kayla Quinn (6-1), Grayslake North F Brittney Thibeaux (6-0), Vernon Hills G/F Lauren Webb (6-0)
Skinny: The 6-foot Webb transitioned to point guard in her third varsity season. Downstate, she threw OVER Montini's press. Is that fair to opponents?
All-Tall (Boys): Libertyville C Joe Borcia (6-8), Carmel C Jack George (6-9), Lake Zurich C Will McClaughry (6-6), Mundelein F Sean O'Brien (6-7), Grayslake Central C Joel Stewart (6-7)
Skinny: Borcia's touch, instincts and ball skills in the post are beyond his years. If he can bulk up, look out. The Wildcats will have a beast.
All-Bouncer (Boys):Lakes F Direll Clark, Antioch F Cody Gwinn, Warren F Dre'Von Hill, Grant F Francisco "Chico" Uribe, Warren F Shayne White
Skinny: Seriously, if one of these guys comes barreling into the lane, get out of the way.
All-Playmaker (Girls): Libertyville G Olivia Mayer, Stevenson G Kari Moffat, Lakes G Amanda Smith, Grayslake Central G Carson Sparkman, Vernon Hills G/F Lauren Webb
Skinny: Every time Lakes coach Pete Schneider talked about Smith, he called her one of the best point guards in the conference. No argument here, Coach.
All-Playmaker (Boys): Warren G Aarias Austin, Wauconda G Keith Blomberg, Stevenson G Jalen Brunson, Vernon Hills G Stephen Curry, Mundelein F Sean O'Brien
Skinny: How's this for versatile: O'Brien, who can get 20 and 10 any time he wants, dished out 17 assists in a game against Wauconda.
All-All-Area Football: Lakes F Direll Clark, Libertyville F Jack Deichl, Grayslake North F A.J. Fish, Stevenson F Matt Morrissey, Wauconda G Austin Swenson
Skinny: Athletic, tough guys here. Clark will rush the football for Winona State. QB Deichl is headed to D-III power UW-Whitewater. QB Fish was the county's best football player last fall. Junior linebacker star Morrissey has D-I offers. Swenson, a bright kid, is going to play QB at engineering powerhouse Rose-Hulman.
All-Lunch: Lakes G Jeff Cherry, Vernon Hills G Stephen Curry, Warren F Adrian Deere, Grayslake North F A.J. Fish, Round Lake's Greens (Alex and Michael).
Skinny: OK, now I'm hungry.
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