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Lake Zurich's Sara Gazdacka (left) and Warren's Alyssa Phillips battle to control the opening tip during their girls basketball game at Lake Zurich. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
When you hold a team without a field goal for more than nine minutes, good things are bound to happen. So it was for Warren’s girls basketball team on Thursday.
The Blue Devils outscored host Lake Zurich 19-2 (two free throws) during a 9:16 stretch of the second half and rolled to a 50-33 North Suburban Conference Lake Division win.
Warren led just 24-19 when it began its run, and it was 43-21 and basically over when it finished.
The Devils are now 14-11 overall and 6-5 in the division. Lake Zurich 5-22 and 1-10.
“I’m really happy with the way we’ve been playing,” said Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz. “I think we’ve improved quite a bit since the beginning of the year. Our goal is to do everything we can to prepare for the state tournament now.
“We can’t win the conference, but we want to finish with the best record we can and do well in the tournament.”
Warren is the No. 9 seed in the stacked Libertyville Sectional. Hersey is the first opponent and a win would give the Devils a crack at state-power Rolling Meadows.
Freshman Kylie Nedelka came off the bench and had nine points to lead Warren on Thursday. Alyssa Phillips added eight points and eight rebounds.
Lake Zurich’s Sarah Stefaniu had 13 points.
“It was a little disappointing. We had a really bad week two weeks ago,” said Lake Zurich Chris Bennett. “We had a little soul-searching meeting and came back with a great week last week.
“We played five games against good teams. Then, we played our best game of the year the other night against Stevenson and lost by six. It seemed like we’d grown up and looked like a solid basketball team.
“Tonight, we just didn’t have the effort.”
After the game, Warren’s players sang “Happy Birthday” to Patti Volpert, who is the team’s scorekeeper and unofficial team mom.
After the song, Phillips grabbed the cake and raced to the locker room with it, as Volpert noted, “it was the best steal of the night.”
“I was kind of hungry,” Phillips joked. “She’s so loving and caring. She’s always looking out for us and making sure every body is doing well.
“She’s definitely the “Mother” of the team."