Lake Zurich's defense slows down Warren
After losing to Warren by 1 point on Dec. 10, the Lake Zurich girls basketball team was looking for some revenge against the visiting Blue Devils Tuesday night.
And with some outstanding defense and a strong first-quarter start, the Bears got their payback as they stormed ahead of Warren 19-3 at halftime of the North Suburban Conference contest.
From there, Lake Zurich (13-10, 5-5) kept the momentum rolling as it built a lopsided 34-10 lead after three quarters before rolling to an easy 44-19 victory.
Due to recent COVID-19 related issues, Warren (11-8, 5-3) was definitely not in midseason form as the turnover-plagued Blue Devils fell behind 16-2 after one quarter. Both teams struggled from cold shooting in the second quarter as the Bears outscored Warren just 3-1 in that period.
But in the third quarter Lake Zurich pulled away from Warren as a 9-point run capped by junior Brooke Wahlund's basket off a turnover gave the Bears their biggest lead of the game at 34-8 with 32 seconds left in the stanza.
"Warren is struggling a little bit coming back from COVID issues, and our kids were motivated after a tough loss to them the first time," said Lake Zurich coach Chris Bennett, whose team lost the first meeting 39-38 in Gurnee.
"I thought we looked really good on defense. I think we made some good passes, and we took advantage of what their defense gave us."
Lake Zurich junior Baylie Parks scored 9 of her game-high 12 points in the first half while senior teammate Alayna Soukup also hit double figures in scoring with 10 points. Senior Erin Stewart had 6 points for the Bears on 2 3-pointers.
"We were really ready and focused at the beginning of the game because of the last game (against Warren), and we've been waiting for this game for a long time," said Soukup, whose team led 37-10 on a 3-pointer by Amelia Young with 6:15 to play.
"We really shut down their guards, and on offense it was good that our shots were finally falling."
The Blue Devils' struggling offense was led by Shay Love with 5 points and Delaney Schild with 4 points. Elyssa Adams scored 4 points for Lake Zurich.
Due to pandemic-related issues, this was only Warren's fourth game in January, and the Blue Devils only had six players in practice recently due to sickness.
"We have girls that are playing their second game since Christmas so with COVID and some of the things we have been dealing with we have just not been together as a team and it's starting to show," said Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz, whose team still has to make up three of its four postponed games.
"Right now everybody is healthy and it looks like everybody is going to be with us. We have some really serious work to do to get caught up with teams like Lake Zurich."