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Warren shows heart in closing minutes to claim win

12/17/2012, 10:23pm CST
By Bryan Bonato

Warren scored six points over the final two minutes to claim a 29-24 win over host Libertyville on Monday.

Libertyville 12/17/12 Warren's Kylie Nedelka (4) | Michelle LaVigne ~ Sun-Times Media

Yes, it seemed odd to see so much red instead of the traditional orange in the Libertyville gym on Monday night.

But the reason for the change was an important one — Red Out Night, which is an initiative of the American Heart Association.

To support the AHA, players on both Warren and Libertyville wore red socks and red head bands during the game, and T-shirts, with the slogan “Rock the Beat” were available for purchase.

And then after all that, the “Blue” team won, as in the Warren Blue Devils, who knocked off the Wildcats 29-24 in a North Suburban Conference Lake Division girls basketball game.

Warren is now 4-2 in the division (6-5 overall) while Libertyville is 3-3 in the league and 4-8 overall under first-year coach Greg Pedersen.

Warren scored the last six points of the game in the final two minutes to erase a 24-23 deficit.

Alyssa Phillips scored on a layup with 1:59 left to give Warren the lead, and Rachel Brown hit one free throw, Aurianna Hampton hit one free throw, and Kylie Nedelka two free throws to clinch the win.

“It wasn’t pretty but I was proud of our effort,” said Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz. “A lot of games in the conference this year have been like this.

“They’re generally pretty even, and it comes down to small things — turnovers, making layups, playing good defense and taking advantage of our possessions. We did a good enough job of that in the second half and made free throws down the stretch.”

On the Orange/Red side, Pedersen characterized this as two different games — great defense/bad offense.

As for the Red Out effort, the coach said:

“It was very nice. We had a fun time preparing for this. (Assistant) Coach Amy Holtsford and the parent volunteers really put their hearts into it. It was a nice event to get the fans out.”

On hand was Kelly Poskonka of the American Heart Association.

“We look at the success of these events based on the number of people we’re able to reach with our message. The donations that come from this are icing on the cake,” she said. “The more people we can get in front of, that’s the success we have in mind.”

Speaking at halftime was Greg Katz, who is the uncle of Libertyville varsity player Andi Katz. He suffered a heart attack six years ago at age 43 and shared the experience with the crowd.

His message was to know your family history and to know your numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.).

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