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11/23/12 Buffalo Grove Libertyville's Dana Kym (23) looks for an open player during their basketball game agains Maine South Friday, Nov. 23. Maine South won 54-42. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Fans wandering into the gym during the first half of the Libertyville girls basketball team’s game against Maine South in the Bison Classic might have struggled to figure out which team was undefeated and state-ranked, and which team was winless.
Libertyville — the winless team at that point — hung with the highly rated and undefeated Hawks during the first half of the Nov. 23 game, leading by as many as six points and going into the intermission with a 31-27 advantage.
Maine South ultimately prevailed 54-42. But the first half was an example of Libertyville’s potential.
“We played a good first half against a really good team,” Libertyville’s first-year coach Greg Pederson said. “We’re happy (with) how we played. We took care of the ball, and we were closing out on shooters. But Maine South is really good. Hats off to them; they wore us down.”
Against Maine South, the Wildcats got important contributions from their substitutes. Sophomore Becky Diechl and junior Jessica Van Roeyen each came off the bench to score seven points. Junior Melissa Neutz, another sub, had six points.
“The bench did an amazing job,” said senior starter Dana Kym after the Maine South loss. “(Diechl) came in and got shots, (Neutz) came in and scored. It’s so nice to have people who can come off the bench. When people go out (of the game) nothing drops. The bench players are right there and play with the same momentum (as the starters).”
In a 46-34 win over Westinghouse the Saturday — Libertyville’s first victory of the season — Diechl and Neutz had six points apiece.
With Pederson still settling on his rotation, Diechl said she and her fellow second-teamers approach every practice and game like there is playing time available and starting spots on the line.
“We really work hard in practice and push each other,” she said. “Our bench has been shaken up and the starting lineup hasn’t been the same all season, so we work hard in practice and see what happens.” ~.