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Vernon Hills earns rematch with Montini

VernHills' Sydney Smith passes out double team Monday against BurlingtCentral. | Brian O'Mahoney~For Sun-Times Media

Vernon Hills' Sydney Smith passes out of a double team Monday against Burlington Central. | Brian O'Mahoney~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 27, 2013 6:19AM

Anyone who didn’t see this coming hasn’t been paying attention to high school girls basketball in Illinois.

Last February, when Montini won its third straight Class state title, it did so by thumping Vernon Hills 56-38.

That afternoon, both teams filled the floor with talented underclassmen, making it a sure thing that both clubs would be back in the Final Four state tournament at Illinois State University in Normal against this month.

And so it is.

With a 39-31 win over Burlington Central on Monday at Hoffman Estates high School, Vernon Hills advanced to the state semifinals where they will try again to knock off Montini.

Also Monday, Montini beat Phillips from Chicago 72-41 to advance.

As always, Vernon Hills won Monday with defense. The Cougars led 6-5 after one quarter, 17-11 at halftime, 26-20 after three periods, and held the Rockets scoreless over the final three minutes after Burlington closed to with 29-27 with six minutes left and 33-31 with three minutes to go.

Vernon Hills’ big three of Meri Bennett-Swanson (12 points, 9 boards), Lauren Webb (11 points, 7 boards) and Sydney Smith (11 points, 7 rebounds; Sydney Smith (6 points, 8 rebounds) led the way.

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