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Haley Greer of Deerfield goes up for a layup during a game between Highland Park and Deerfield at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Illinois on February 8, 2013. | Ray Whitehouse~for Sun-Times Media
Even though it was senior night at Deerfield, it was a pair of freshmen who stole the show on the hardwood for the host Warriors Friday.
In a game that had nine lead changes and a frantic pace from the opening tip, Deerfield stunned Central Suburban North regular season champ Highland Park, 59-55 — and did so in convincing fashion.
Freshman Haley Greer scored a game-high 20 points for the Warriors, while her ninth-grade teammate Margot Sylvan (17 points) provided the second-half of a 1-2 punch the Giants had no answer for.
It was a stark contrast to the first time the two clubs faced each other earlier in the season, when Highland Park routed Deerfield by 34 points.
That game is suddenly a distant memory for the Warriors (9-17, 6-4 CSL North), who along with the Giants (15-10, 8-2), begin the Class 4A playoffs next week.
“(Tonight was) definitely redemption for us,” Deerfield coach Mike Muldrow said. “We came out with a completely different attitude this time. And I also think I made better coaching decisions than I did the first time we played them.”
Through the first three quarters, neither team held more than a six-point lead. That all changed with just under six minutes to play, when Highland Park’s star senior Lena Munzer (14 points) fouled out.
From that point on, Deerfield outscored the Giants 14-1 over the next five minutes. The visitors did make a late run in the final minute, but it was too little, too late.
Munzer also missed the final 1:32 of the second quarter, the entire third quarter — and almost two minutes of the fourth quarter — because she picked up her fourth foul just prior to halftime.
“We looked good in the third quarter, even though Lena didn’t play the entire quarter,” Highland Park coach Jolie Bechtel said. “We managed to keep the lead (by two points) headed into the fourth. I think for me, the important thing was our kids didn’t quit. We played hard until the end. We didn’t give up. We still got on the floor for a loose ball. I’m extremely proud of their effort.”
It didn’t help that Highland Park turned the ball over 25 times.
“Deerfield did a nice job of taking us out of our game a little bit offensively,” Bechtel said. “We were pretty frantic. So that’s a credit to them, absolutely.”
Highland Park sophomore Grace Quirk (14 points, 10 rebounds) tallied a double-double in the loss.