In a sense, there have been few distractions in the life of Hailey Leinart.
Ever since she was 4 years old, basketball has been the focus for the Warren High School senior.
Yes, there have been some other things that have interested here. Her experience with trampoline at an area gym was certainly memorable, if not completely positive.
"I tore my ACL and MCL over there,'' Leinart said. "I missed the basketball season, but I'm getting quicker."
A healthy Leinart and five of her senior teammates welcomed in a team without a single senior Monday night in Gurnee. And that visiting Lake Zurich club had a terrific second quarter and took a 25-19 halftime lead.
Then Leinart and the Blue Devils turned up the defensive pressure. Warren (3-7, 2-3) went on a 29-9 run that took them to a double digit lead with two minutes to play.
The young Bears cut that lead in half but could get no closer as Warren bounced Lake Zurich in NSC Lake Division play 48-43.
"I've been trying to work on my defense,'' Leinart said. "I think we are doing really well. I think shooting is our strength."
The Bears (2-7,1-4) managed just 5 field goals in the second half.
"We stopped defending,'' said Lake Zurich coach Chris Bennett. "And they hit some shots. Our defense triggers our offense. We had a really good second quarter (19 points). We are still a team that isn't quite sure how to win yet."
The Bears looked in control in the first half. Frankie Nasca, a 5-foot-2 sophomore guard, led the Bears with 7 points and Lake Zurich was shooting 66.7 from the floor.
"We were flat in the first half,'' said Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz. "And then we had 16 minutes of really good basketball. Or make that 14 minutes. We went up by 14 points and didn't know how to handle it."
Warren's Kylie Nedelka (9 points) nailed the first shot of the second half. Sammi Jo Nixon (8 points) made good on a 3-pointer and the Blue Devils had erased the Lake Zurich lead. Leinart closed the quarter with a 3-pointer as the Devils took a 34-29 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Bears lost the services of Kaylee Grant after she took a blow to the chin.
Bennett was pleased with her performance. She paced the Bears with 5 rebounds.
"Kaylee plays so hard,'' Bennett said. "She had a gash, so we'll need some stitches. Last year, she had a concussion and she wears a knee brace. But she doesn't care."
Warren extended its lead to 14 points, aided in part by senior guard Kristen O'Brien. She fired in a 3-pointer with five minutes to play in the game. Two minutes later, she completed a 3-point play before Lake Zurich closed the game on a 9-0 run.