Libertyville holds Lake Zurich to 23 points in NSC win
From the first quarter on, it was pretty much a low-scoring, defensive struggle when host Lake Zurich faced Libertyville Thursday night in North Suburban Conference girls basketball action.
The visiting Wildcats took an 11-5 advantage after one quarter before outscoring the Bears 6-1 in the second quarter to take a 17-6 lead into the halftime break.
Lake Zurich (6-4, 1-2) did bounce back in the third quarter by outscoring Libertyville (6-4, 2-1) 12-7 to head into the final period trailing 24-18.
And the Bears kept that momentum going as a 3-pointer by junior Baylie Parks cut the gap to 27-22 with exactly four minutes to play.
But that would be the end of the comeback for Lake Zurich as the Wildcats outscored the Bears 9-1 the rest of the way to post a 36-23 NSC victory.
"They (Lake Zurich) are an excellent defensive team and everyone knows that, and in the first half we really took away the things they like to do on offense," said Libertyville coach Greg Pedersen, whose team tied its biggest lead at 22-9 on a 3-pointer by Libby Ryan early in the third quarter. "When Lake Zurich came out to get us we did a good job of attacking the basket in the fourth quarter."
Two free throws by sophomore Kate Rule boosted Libertyville's lead to 29-22 with 1:55 to play before Rule added two more free throws to extend the advantage to 31-22 with 59.4 seconds remaining.
The Bears' struggling offense could not respond after that point as Libertyville sophomore Sophia Weick added a free throw to make the score 32-22 with 41.3 seconds to go.
"We played pretty solid defense, but we didn't hit many shots to get some offensive momentum going," said Lake Zurich coach Chris Bennett, whose team had three turnovers in the crucial fourth quarter. "We had some good looks at the basket, but we couldn't get them to drop and Libertyville plays tough defense."
Parks scored 9 of her game-high 14 points in the second half for Lake Zurich while Ryan scored a team-high 10 points for the Wildcats. Junior Emily Fisher scored 9 points while Rule added 8 points for Libertyville's balanced offensive attack. Sophomore Rachel Rule chipped in 5 points for the Wildcats.
"Lake Zurich has some really talented players, and when the lead got down to five points we ended up getting some good looks," added Pedersen, whose team outscored the Bears 12-5 in the final quarter. "But the most important thing for us is what we did on the defensive end."