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New hoops stars are popping up everywhere

This was an And-1 for Paige Gallimore Antioch as play produced three 45 she totaled Sequoits' upset wover Fenwick last

This was an And-1 for Paige Gallimore of Antioch as the play produced three of the 45 she totaled in the Sequoits' upset win over Fenwick last week. | TRACY ALLEN~FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: February 3, 2014 3:44PM

Random thoughts after spending the past week following high school girls/boys basketball, the finals of the high school football playoffs, and gaining renewed appreciation for Mama Bonato, who still hasn’t lost her cooking touch when it comes to Thanksgiving chicken dinner even though she’s now on the back fringe of middle age (DOB: 02/16/28).

Yes, baked CHICKEN dinner.

At the beginning of the week, had to constantly look this up, but now have it committed to memory and should be good for the rest of the girls basketball season.

Up for discussion was the number of “L’s” in the last name of Antioch star Paige Gallimore. One? Or two?

Two it is.

The senior guard averaged 29.4 points per game against quality competition at its Thanksgiving Week tournament, including a 45-point effort in a stunning victory over Fenwick.

That 45-pointer did cause a bit of online scurrying for the record book to see what the single-game scoring record is for girls basketball in Lake County.

Turns out that in February of 1986, Lake Zurich star Lisa Foss poured in 56 points in a game and has held the record ever since.

One year earlier, Wauconda star Saundra Cermak had a 55-point game, which actually broke the record of 54 set by Foss just six weeks earlier.

And while conjecture is certainly not fact, we are going to guess that Foss got the scoring record back that February day in 1986 because she wanted it back. The Lake Zurich team that day beat Marian Central of Woodstock 101-29 to improve to 22-0 on the season, and given the 72-point margin of victory, you can assume — right or wrong — that Foss was in the game long enough to score 56 points solely to get the record back from Cermak.

After high school, Foss went on to have a Hall of Fame career at NIU in DeKalb and her name is still all over the Huskies’ women’s basketball record book,

Cermak went on to play college buckets at Phillips University, an NAIA program in Oklahoma. That school, which was called the Haymakers, went bankrupt in the late 1990s and shut down.

If you walk the corridors of any area high school, you will see a lot of tall students. But rarely does Lake County basketball produce a true “big man.”

Yet this year, we’ve got two of them, and because of them, their teams started their seasons 4-0 and helped earn Thanksgiving Week tournament championship plaques for their school’s trophy case.

At Libertyville, junior Joe Borcia is in that 6-9 range and can play. Granted, he’s surrounded by a lot of quality teammates. But Borcia matters because he becomes an impossible matchup when he’s brought his “A” game to the gym.

That exact same situation holds true about a two-minute drive west of Libertyville High. That’s where 6-9 senior Jack George has suddenly become a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double machine for Carmel High’s hoops program.

George is the one difference-maker if you’re talking Carmel hoops and are thinking long term — that being the IHSA Class 3A sectional in March where North Chicago can do a lot of things great, but guarding a quality 6-9 post player is not one of them.

With few exceptions, the one overriding theme during the past week of boys basketball is that county programs are doing an excellent job of putting their teams in tournaments where they have a chance to be successful.

And that isn’t just for the top-end programs like North Chicago and Zion-Benton and Stevenson. Even at places where wins traditionally are harder to come by — like at Antioch and Round Lake — these teams are in the spots to have success at the start of the season.

The only two real bummers involving area schools were not our teams’ fault.

Lake Zurich had a 5 p.m. tourney game on Saturday at West Chicago, and that was the same time the school’s football team was playing at NIU for the state title.

Lake Zurich requested to play the game earlier, but was denied.

And at Oswego, Waukegan was a tough out though 0-4 at that event with high-quality competition. Alas, after going 0-3 in pool play, the Bulldogs were supposed to meet 0-3 Oswego East in a game for seventh place on Friday.

Instead, Waukegan was matched against Neuqua Valley and lost by six points. The reason? Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley are in the same conference and they were supposed to play each other for fifth place, so Waukegan’s opponent was switched. That, of course, happened after the Bulldogs scouted Oswego East.

The reality is this: Round-trip from Waukegan to Oswego is a terrible drive, and having to make it four times if five days is not ideal. We know for sure it wasn’t former coach Ron Ashlaw who suggested that Waukegan get into the Oswego tourney, but somebody got us in there.

In contrast to Waukegan, Ashlaw’s team — Bloom, which is located in Chicago Heights — played its Thanksgiving Week tournament in the Chicago Heights Classic. Probably half his team could walk to the gym.

Carmel’s girls basketball team went 5-0 and won the Mundelein tourney and its boys basketball team went 4-0 and won at Crystal Lake Central.

Vernon Hills’ girls basketball team went 5-0 and won its own tourney and its boys team went 4-0 and won at Northridge Prep.

On Wednesday night, Carmel and Vernon Hills will meet in boys basketball.

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