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Grant's AnaRose Hebein (left) and Deanna Rodriguez (right) fight for a rebound with North Chicago's Caroyln Leonard. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Junior guard McKenzie Burton scored 18 of her team-high 23 points in the second half, leading host Grant to a come-from-behind 62-54 win over North Chicago on Thursday in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division opener for both teams.
North Chicago got 24 points, 16 rebounds and eight steals from senior Natajjae Franklin, but the shorthanded Hawks are now 0-7.
North Chicago played without senior standouts Dara Tanner and Darniqua Hood, and also didn’t have freshman phenom Tineesha Coleman on the court.
Nevertheless, North Chicago led 28-25 at halftime after a turnover- and foul-plagued first half (36 total turnovers, 23 total fouls).
Grant took the lead for good when Burton scored on a put-back with 7:25 to go in the game to make it 50-48.
“It feels really good to get off to a positive start in the division,” said Grant coach Matt Lukemeyer. “We’ve played better ball the last couple of games.
“The girls have been really positive. I think that’s helped us get to where we’re at.”
Freshman Jasmine Sangster had nine points off the bench for Grant (3-4), and Deanna Rodriguez added eight.
On the other side, Warhawks coach Lawrence Brown was not happy with his team’s play.
“We played very sloppy ball. We had a freshman and a junior guard making too many mistakes. This was a game we should have won.”
Carolyn Leonard had nine points for North Chicago before getting T’d up in the third quarter, which resulted in her being disqualified with five fouls.
As for not having Coleman available, Brown noted, “She’d definitely be starting. She’s probably one of the best freshmen in the state.”
Coleman is the granddaughter of North Chicago boys coach King Coleman. Her not being on the varsity squad reportedly is a family decision.