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Deerfield, 11/23/12 Zion-Benton's Samantha Rodriguez drives the lane for the lay-up during their game against Deerfield High School in Deerfield November 23, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Led by a stifling trapping defense and the early hot hand of junior Samantha Rodriguez, Zion-Benton pounded host Deerfield 57-26 Friday in the fourth day the Deerfield Thanksgiving Tournament.
In the game’s opening minute, Deerfield senior guard Sarah Ginn stole the ball and took it coast-to-coast for layup, making it 2-0 Deerfield. It was the Warriors lone lead of the game.
Zion-Benton (2-1) would close out the quarter on a 12-1 run, burning off any calories consumed from Thanksgiving dinner. Rodriquez, one of two returning starters from last year’s sectional final squad, scored seven of those points.
“We’ve been a little sluggish working on rebounding and transitioning but today we really cleaned it up,” senior forward Syerra Cunningham said.
The Zee-Bees forced 15 first half turnovers, many of which led to easy transitions baskets. Deerfield played over nine minutes of the first half without scoring a point. It was 34-6 Zee-Bees at the break as the Warriors had no answer for the inside rebounding of Cunningham (11 rebounds) and transition guard play of freshman TT Maggett (team-leading 15 points).
In the second half, Deerfield got strong play from freshman Margot Sylvan and Hayley Greer but were never able to make a dent in the Zee-Bees lead, which at one point was 46-12 early in the fourth quarter.
“I thought in the first half we came out tentative. It was a layup drill,” Deerfield coach Mike Muldrow said. “In the second half we came out more determined, sharper. That’s what you look for.”
Deerfield (1-3) was led by senior Jessica Bess and Greer, each of whom scored five points.
Zion closes out the tournament Saturday against Proviso East while Deerfield faces Evanston.