Deerfield strives to strike an offensive balance

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DEERFIELD — For the Deerfield girls basketball team, the ability to score both in the paint and from the perimeter is the key to striking an offensive balance.

The Warriors are led by a pair of sophomore guards — Margot Sylvan and Haley Greer — on the outside. Both are skilled players capable of knocking down shots and beating defenders off the dribble.

That playmaking ability was on full display in the first half of a 70-56 loss to rival Highland Park Dec. 10. In the opening quarter, the Warriors jumped out to a 20-18 lead with Sylvan scoring 12 points and Greer adding seven. Each knocked down a 3-pointer.

“We came out and had two steals by Emelia [Karkazis] and Haley and it got us going,” Sylvan said. “And they set up good looks for me, and I hit my shots.”

Sylvan added another eight points and two more 3-pointers before halftime, and Greer had a pair of assists.

“We were getting a lot of open shots,” said Karkazis. “A lot of in-and-outs for … Margot and Haley.”

But at halftime, the Giants began pressuring the ball harder on the perimeter, opening up space for Karkazis, a senior forward, to operate down low.

Through the first half she had been held scoreless with just two rebounds. But in the second half, she had nine points and eight boards, nearly finishing with a double-double.

“A lot of my points were from putbacks. I just really wanted the ball,” Karkazis said. “I wanted to help our team, and by doing that I just got down in the paint.”

Her teammates on the perimeter said that when their shots aren’t falling, they can rely on Karkazis to provide an offensive boost from the interior.

“She had that mindset that she just needed to score, to set up plays for us, which she did,” said Sylvan. “We looked for her when she was hot, and she made her layups and made her free throws.”

Going forward, Deerfield will be looking to get both parts of the offense clicking at the same time. Karkazis’ nine points in the half were more than the rest of the team combined to score (eight) as Highland Park pulled away. The Deerfield girls have plenty of CSL season left to find that balance, and more than a month before the Jan. 24 rematch with Highland Park.

“I just really wanted to win,” said Karkazis. “Highland Park is [our] biggest rival.”

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