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Des Plaines Thursday 11.29.12. Highland Park's Lena Munzer (left) battles Maine West's Tanja Vukasin (right) for a loose ball during their game on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, at the school in Des Plaines | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Maine West clawed and scraped at Highland Park for 32 minutes Thursday night, and when the scoreboard flashed a 53-51 final in favor of the Giants, it wasn’t because Maine West lacked fight or conviction.
It was because Highland Park had Lena Munzer, and, quite simply, Maine West didn’t.
The Yale-bound senior forward displayed a variety act of basketball skills against Maine West — shooting, dribbling, rebounding, defending — on her way to a 30-point, 15-rebound performance.
Adding to the feat was that Munzer played the entire game despite dealing with foul trouble.
“She’s an extremely disciplined player, and she’s smart,” coach Jolie Bechtel said. “She knows she’s not coming out of the game, so when there’s foul trouble, we just make eye contact and she’s moving on to the next play.”
Maine West actually led 25-20 at halftime, but squandered control after a miserable third quarter in which they only managed two points. Highland Park led the rest of the way, though Maine West didn’t make it easy. After a three-pointer with 7.5 seconds left cut the lead to three, Highland Park junior Lucy Hoffman failed to ice the game when she missed both of her free throws.
Then, after a sloppy Maine West turnover on the game’s most critical possession, Munzer came to the rescue. She knocked down three of her four attempts down the stretch and put the game just out of reach.
“I have total confidence in all of my teammates making big shots,” Munzer said. “But I’m a competitive player, and I love having the ball at times like that.”
Highland Park junior forward Elizabeth Logrande added 10 complementary points, and Maine West was led by 19 points — 11 in the fourth quarter — from senior guard Alexia Prosperi.
The win pushed the Giants to 2-4 on the season.