The 28-0 Libertyville Wildcats girls basketball team now has another school record to put on the wall. It's called the longest winning streak in the distinguished program's history.
After 27 wins in a row, the Wildcats were not likely to trip up in a regional opener Tuesday night against Deerfield (16th seed). Libertyville kicked its offensive game into high gear and handled the home-standing Warriors 61-40.
"I thought we came out with the right mindset offensively,'' said Libertyville coach Kathie Swanson. "We looked to push the ball up the court and work it around for a good shot. "
Alex Haley led a balanced Wildcats attack with 16 points. Savannah Trees (12 points) and Olivia Wilcox (10 points) all helped out.
Even when Deerfield switched to a zone defense, the NSC champions were ready.
"This allowed us to exploit the weak-side and high post area,'' Swanson said. "That led to a lot of high percentage shots."
The regional title game is Thursday night in Deerfield (7:30 p.m.). The Prospect Knights edged Carmel 37-36 and will meet the Wildcats.
There is some history here. Prospect coach Martha Kelly is the sister of Libertyville athletics director Briant Kelly. Also, these two teams met in the very first game of the season. Naturally, the Wildcats won the contest.
"We played them for our season opener, which was a long time ago,'' Swanson said. "Their team has grown and changed a lot over that time as has ours. In order to be successful against them, we need to do a better job on the defensive end in terms of help defense, contesting all shots, and keeping them off the boards. If we do that, it should be a good game."
If Swanson had any complaints about the regional opener, it centered around her team's usual stellar defense.
"We put Deerfield at the foul line way too many times and bailed them out by not being active enough and anticipating like we are capable of,'' she said. "We pride ourselves on defense, so that needs to change quickly."
There are two Wildcats alive in the IHSA three-point shooting contest. Both Valerie Van Roeyen and Wilcox will advance to Thursday's contest.