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Libertyville's Dana Kym (right) tries to shoot over the arms of Grayslake Central's Morgan Dahlstrom (left) and Rachel Effa. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
The more things change, the more they remain the same for Grayslake Central’s girls basketball program.
The names of the players change from year to year.
Yet, regardless of who’s on the court for the Green and White, coach Steve Ikenn’s players always bust tail on defense, work diligently and patiently for a good shot on offense and, if your team is going to beat them, you’re going to have to be at your very best.
On Thursday night in the first round of the Buffalo Grove tournament, Libertyville was not at its best, and the result was a 46-36 victory for a Rams squad that has mostly new faces but the same look of a winner as Ikenn’s first two teams.
“We overcame some early jitters. We have a young team with only one returning starter (junior Morgan Dahlstrom),” said Ikenn. “We only have two seniors. It was our first game, so I was kind of curious how we were going to react.
“Defensively, we have a lot of work to do, but I thought we did a nice job. I was proud of the way our bench played when we got two starters in foul trouble right away.”
Sophomore guard Lauren Spaulding was 3-for-5 behind the arc and led Grayslake with 12 points. Junior Carson Sparkman added 11 points, and Dahlstrom had nine points and 11 boards.
The Rams trailed 14-9 with 7:05 left in the first half, then held Libertyville scoreless for the next 9:55, going on an 11-0 run to take a 20-14 lead that stood up.
Libertyville, which lost earlier this week to Prospect, played without starting point guard Olivia Mayer (concussion), the only returning starter from last year’s team.
Dana Kym had 11 points for the Cats, and Haley Hoeksel added nine points, four steals and four blocks.
“We came out strong, but we seemed to lose an edge as we went deeper into our bench,” said first-year coach Greg Pedersen. “That’s going to happen when you lose your only returning varsity starter.
“We have a lot of girls who are still learning to play together.”