Girls Basketball: Vernon Hills advances to sectional final2/21/12 Arlington Heights
Carmel's Kathleen Felicelli (12) gets blocked by Vernon Hills' Meri Bennett-Swanson during their basketball game on Wednesday night, Feb. 21st. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Vernon Hills’ size proved too much for Carmel Catholic on Tuesday as the Cougars won 46-33 in the semifinals of the Class 3A St. Viator Sectional.
Thursday’s game against Grayslake Central will be the Cougars’ first appearance in a sectional championship game in school history. Game-time will be 7:30 p.m.
Meri Bennett-Swanson, a 6-foot-2 junior, had 12 points to lead the winners. She also pulled down eight rebounds and blocked five shots.
Senior guard Abby Springer also reached double figures for Vernon Hills. She had 11 points to go along with six steals and three assists.
Lauren Webb, a 6-0 sophomore, added seven points and five rebounds, while Brie Bahlmann had eight points and four rebounds.
“We’re excited and we should be,” winning coach Paul Brettner said of the postgame celebration. “It was a real good defensive effort. I was worried about how we would respond to their defensive pressure but, by and large, I thought we did what we needed to do.”
For the game, Vernon Hills was 16-of-49 shooting, while Carmel was held to 15-of-58, including 1-of-13 from behind the arc as they attempted to bomb away over the tall timber in the paint.
Vernon Hills led 18-13 at halftime and was up 28-22 with 1:54 to play in the third quarter. But a three-point play by Alina Lehocky, a bomb by Springer from NBA three-point range and a bank shot by Bahlman gave Vernon Hills a 36-22 lead after three.
Carmel didn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way. The Corsairs (18-13) were paced by Kaitlyn Lynch (11 points).
Central advanced in Tuesday’s first game by downing GL North 56-30. Skylar Jessop tallied a game-high 19 points.