Vernon Hills' Brettner notches win No. 300
Only seven coaches and faculty members remain at Vernon Hills since the high school opened its doors 19 years ago.
One of them is girls basketball coach Paul Brettner.
"He's a classy guy and very dedicated to the school and program," said assistant athletic director and boys volleyball coach Chris Curry, one of the elite seven. "He doesn't waver much and changes with the times and works so hard, so the girls are prepared as they can be."
Brettner has certainly seen the gamut when it comes to ups and downs.
One of the former happened Friday night when the Cougars toppled visiting Deerfield 57-40 for Brettner's 300th career win.
"It just means I've been doing this a long time," said Brettner, who was awarded a signed basketball by his team following the final horn. "The win tonight is more about these girls. They came out with energy."
Brettner's teams have won four regionals, two sectionals, two supersectionals and two trips to the state tournament.
"Coach has been great," senior forward and DePaul-bound Kayla Caudle said. "He's so supportive. He comes up with ideas and he's always willing to listen to ours. I think we surprised him (with the signed ball). He's so humble."
There was nothing humble about the four-year varsity player's game on this night. Caudle poured in a season-high 22 points to go along with 18 rebounds, as the Cougars improved to 12-9 and 6-1 in the Central Suburban League North Division.
"We beat (Deerfield) earlier but had started really slow," Caudle said. "However, tonight we came out with more energy and executed right away."
Deerfield fell to 4-18 overall and 1-6 in CSL North with its 10th loss in a row.
While Caudle was busy muscling her way around in the paint, junior guard Kylie Bunning and senior forward Maddie Riehm hit 3-pointers as the hosts vaulted to a 16-2 by the end of the opening quarter.
Vernon Hills padded its lead to 31-11 by halftime, as Caudle chipped in another 8 points in the second quarter. The Cougars' biggest lead was 53-31 after a pair of free throws by senior guard Piper Bedell (9 points) late in the contest.
Junior forward Alexandra Tiatia and sophomore guard Demi Friedman each scored 11 points for Deerfield.
"Our press was effective and we played good defense," Brettner said. "And our half-court (defense) has been coming on and on."