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Round Lake-12/19/12, Wed./Round Lake High School #5 Mady Roberts, of Vernon Hills, and #23 Raven Nicoline, go after a lose rebound in game action Tuesday night at Round Lake High School. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Vernon Hills extended its season-long winning streak to 14 with a 61-33 victory over host Round Lake on Wednesday in North Suburban Conference Prairie Division play.
Next up for the Cougars will be the challenging Mundelein tournament that starts after Christmas.
Vernon Hills coach Paul Brettner got everyone into the act against the 1-10 Panthers.
Stars Sydney Smith (7-of-11 shooting, 18 points), Meri Bennett-Swanson (8 points, 6 rebounds) and Lauren Webb (4 points, 5 rebounds) did not start and were part of a second group as the coach substituted five at a time in the first half.
In the second half, he mixed things up, with similar results. Alina Lehocky had 10 points and five boards for the winners.
“All of the girls come to practice and they all work hard enough to deserve starts here or there,” said Brettner, whose team is 7-0 in the division. “We felt this was a good night for it. With 11 kids and a long season, you never know who you’re going to need to count on.
“The more game minutes they can get, the better off we are as a team down the road.”
On the Round Lake side, Morgin Evins had 13 points.
“We can’t complain. Our girls play hard,” said Panther coach Howard Conkling. “There’s a huge height difference. They did all we could ask of them.”
Smith was a key player on last year’s Vernon Hills team that finished second in state in Class 3A.
“We’re excited this year because of everything that happened last year. But we also have three awesome sophomores (Haley Leiberman, Katie Brettmann and Kasey Firnbach), and two juniors (Shannon Healey and Katherine Koczwara) who have done an immense job stepping up,” she said. “Everyone has worked together. It’s a 100-percent family feel.
Vernon Hills will play Mundelein in a danger game in Round 1 of Mundelein’s tourney the day after Christmas.