Zion-Benton won't net the hat trick against Warren this season.
Losers three times, including once at Thanksgiving, to the Zee-Bees last season, the Blue Devils captured the first meeting this season between the two girls basketball teams. Warren bolted to a 14-point advantage on its home court and never relinquished the lead en route to a 41-34 win Tuesday night in a North Suburban Conference opener.
"We were really hyped to play," said Kaylen Dickson, who led Warren (5-1) with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. "We were sore about (losing to Zion-Benton three times last season)."
The Blue Devils might have gotten too hyped. Dickson suggested that in trying to explain why she and her teammates couldn't keep up the pace that they established early on against Zion-Benton (4-2).
"It led to mistakes," Dickson said of the Blue Devils' high energy.
Dickson sped end-to-end after grabbing a rebound to put Warren up 9-0. And when Rebekah Foley (7 points, 8 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer and then scored on a putback, the Blue Devils' lead was 16-2 with 3:23 to go in the opening quarter.
"The first four minutes we played really, really good basketball," Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "We were in the flow, we jumped on them, and we weren't fighting the game. Then I don't know what happened. I don't know if we hit a wall. I don't know if we got tired."
After the Blue Devils' quick start, Zion-Benton outscored them 32-25 the rest of the way. Dickson -- a 5-foot-11 junior who has Division-I offers from Utah, Marquette, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois -- picked up a pair of fouls in the first quarter and sat good chunks of the middle quarters due to foul trouble.
Warren shot just 1-of-8 from the floor in the second quarter, yet went into halftime up 22-14.
The Blue Devils never let the Zee-Bees get closer than six points after halftime, despite 6-of-20 shooting and 10 turnovers.
"We fought the game the rest of the way," said Stanczykiewicz, whose team went 4-1 in the Niles North tournament. "It was 28 minutes of slogging through. It was sloppy. We didn't shoot the ball well, and we refused to recognize that we weren't shooting the ball well."
Zion-Benton, which went 4-1 at Maine East, graduated four starters. The Zee-Bees' only returning starter, Niquera Short, led them with a game-high 15 points, including 10 in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Sariah Monk had 8 points.
"This is like completely rebuild mode," said Z-B coach Tanya Johnson, whose nine-player roster includes freshman Trinity Walker, who started. "We got to find some offense besides Niquera Short."
Jordyn Hughes added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals for Warren. Asha Lake (8 rebounds, 5 offensive) and 5-11 sophomore Breleigh Gula (7 points) provided strong minutes coming off the bench for the Blue Devils.