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Gurnee-12/11/12, Tues./Warren High School #52 Kristin Jacobs, of Warren with the shot vs. Zion Tuesday night. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
For the second time in two years, Syerra Cunningham came a callin’ and Warren High School’s girls basketball team had no answer for the talented forward.
Last year, Cunningham put up huge numbers against the Blue Devils albeit in a losing cause while playing for Waukegan.
Tuesday night, the senior transfer dominated while wearing the Maroon/White of Zion-Benton — scoring 20 points and grabbing 15 rebounds as the Zee-Bees posted a solid 44-34 victory.
Zion is now 5-0 in the division (8-2) and Warren is 3-1 and 5-4.
Warren led 21-19 at halftime, but Zion scored the first nine points of the second half to take command. Warren got within 38-34 with 1:33 to play, but Cunningham scored on a put-back and Warren turned the ball over three times in the final minute to seal the deal.
“It (Warren) is a big rivalry, whether it’s Waukegan/Warren or Zion/Warren,” said Cunningham. “I want to prove that this is my domain and they’re not going to stop me.
“This was a big game. We knew they were the only other undefeated team in our division. We definitely want to win a division title and be the first team under coach (Tanya) Johnson to win one.”
Freshman T.T. Maggett added 10 points and seven steals; while Caitlyn Stabenow had six points and four steals for the winners.
“We haven’t really practiced a whole lot with the lineups we had on the floor tonight,” said Johnson. “I’m proud of the kids for stepping up. Syerra was a monster on the boards, Caitlyn played well on both ends, and T.T. and Carly Fernandez came up big.”
Sam Rodriguez, Zion’s other star, didn’t play in the final 23 minutes 23 seconds (coaches decision) and Mia Yarbrough was not available.
For Warren, Alyssa Phillips had 10 points and nine rebounds, and Cassie Christie added six.
“Syerra is a tough matchup for us. She controlled that space in the paint,” said Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz. “She was more physical than us inside. She’s a physical presence and we didn’t have anyone to match that.
“We’re a team that has improved immeasurable since the beginning of the season, but we still have room to grow.”