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By the time Lem Turner and his Vernon Hills basketball teammates adjusted to North Chicago's size and athleticism, it was too late in the North Suburban Prairie Division showdown.
Turner blocked 3 shots in the fourth quarter, but North Chicago won 80-68 on the road Tuesday night.
Kurt Hall had 28 points and 20 rebounds for North Chicago (6-1, 3-0).
"I had to experience how to play against Kurt Hall and the other North Chicago players," said Turner, who finished with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks. "Before the game, I was thinking about all these good players. We kept it close and it was a good game. We kept fighting out there."
JayQuan McCloud added 21 points and 7 boards for the Warhawks. Arnold Shead chipped in 15 points, while Jamero Shelton had 12.
"When you see the ball go off the board, it's my job to get it," said Hall, who also had 20 rebounds against Grant last Saturday night. "(Offensive rebounding) helps me get a lot of my points."
North Chicago had the lead from start to finish. Vernon Hills (7-2, 3-1) couldn't got closer than three points the entire game.
The Warhawks led 24-18 after the first quarter and increased the lead to 44-36 by halftime. Hall scored 13 points in the second quarter and another 13 in the third.
That's when North Chicago built the lead out to 64-44, as Hall dropped in a 3-pointer with a minute left in the quarter.
Vernon Hills then scored eight straight points, Robby Nardini (team-high 20 points) sank a layup and 3, while Michael Mariella also knocked down a shot from beyond the arc. The Cougars trailed 64-52 going into the final quarter.
"We would try to make a run at them, but they would find runs of their own," Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said. "We did a good job of hitting the 3s and found ways to score on backdoor cuts."
Mariella added 14 points, and Bo Manso chipped in 10 for the Cougars. Vernon Hills was 13 of 25 from three-point range.
"Vernon Hills is a great three-point shooting team," North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. "I think that all five guys can shoot the 3s, and that's hard to defend. They made us change our defensive style where we like to trap. By having so many three-point shooters, we couldn't trap. I thought we made adjustments in the second half."
The Cougars played without starter Matt Weaver, who sprained his knee against Antioch last Saturday night.