Girls Basketball: Libertyville tops Vernon Hills for titleLibertyville's Alex Haley (right) shoots one as Vernon Hills' Meri Bennett-Swanson defents during their basketball game at Vernon Hills. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 8, 2012 11:00PM
Alex Haley scored a game-high 20 points and Libertyville held Vernon Hills scoreless in the last 6:04 of the game as the Wildcats won their third straight North Suburban Conference Championship with a 47-32 win on Wednesday.
Haley and center Nicole Kruckman have been a part of all three championship teams.
“I knew at the beginning of the season that we could compete for a conference championship,” Haley said. “It was a matter of getting everybody on board.
“When we’re playing our game, when we’re in your face playing pressure defense and pushing the ball up the court, that’s when we’re at our best.
“With everybody on the same page, we believe we can beat these good teams.”
Libertyville ( 21-6) led 30-15 at halftime, but the Cougars closed to 35-29 with 58 seconds in the third quarter.
But from there, they were outscored 12-3 the rest of the way.
“I’m really proud of my kids. I don’t think too many people expected us to be here tonight,” said Libertyville coach Kathie Swanson. “From where we were back in November compared to today, this team has grown tremendously.”
Vernon Hills (21-5) started a lineup with four underclassmen, so they will be back.
Meri Bennett-Swanson had eight points on Wednesday.
“You could tell the intensity of the game was at a different level for Libertyville than it was for Vernon Hills,” said Cougars coach Paul Brettner. “They were getting after it and we were on our heels a little bit.”
Eileen Knauff (8 points, 10 boards), Kerry Risley (8 points) and Kruckman (5 points, 6 rebounds) all contributed to the three-peat.