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Blue Devils crank up the defensive pressure

Updated: January 2, 2013 6:08AM

Warren High School’s boys basketball program has been defined by defensive intensity for more than three decades.

Under first-year coach Ryan Webber, that tradition clearly will continue.

On Friday, the Blue Devils opened North Suburban Conference Lake Division play by smothering host Lake Zurich 47-33.

Warren is now 4-2 on the season and will play at New Trier on Saturday night.

Lake Zurich is 3-3 and will play at Mundelein on Tuesday.

The Blue Devils led 25-18 at halftime, 31-22 after three quarters and pulled away later after the Bears got to within 35-31.

Brad Kruse’s bucket with 3:23 left pulled Lake Zurich within four.

But Warren then held the ball, and James Betori hit two free throws with 1:17 left to make it 37-31.

The Blue Devils were 8-of-8 from the stripe down the stretch to secure the victory.

“At times, we played really well defensively tonight,” said Webber, who has taken the baton from Chuck Ramsey.

Warren held Lake Zurich to 13-of-41 shooting from the field and yielded just four points in the third quarter.

“We finished off the game really well,” Webber added. “We got the ball in the hands of the ball we wanted and we were 8-of-8 (shooting free throws) when it mattered.”

Betori had a game-high 12 points and Adrian Deere added 11 — including four free throws late.

Nine different Blue Devils scored.

Kruse led Lake Zurich in scoring with 10 points.

“Aarias (Austin) did a great job at the point tonight,” said Webber. “And Adrian Deere gives us a lot of energy on the court.”

Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher was disappointed with the way the game unfolded.

“Warren did a nice job with our length, and we just had too many turnovers (15) tonight. And we weren’t aggressive enough attacking the basket tonight.”

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