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Paul, Warren standing tall
By Joe Aguilar | Daily Herald Staff

Warren's Darius Paul dunks against Mundelein as part of his 30-point effort at Barrington.

 

George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

Warren's Mitch Munda celebrates the Blue Devils' 87-52 win over Mundelein with fans at Barrington on Friday.

 

George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

Warren's JoVaughn Gaines shoots over Mundelein defender Sean O'Brien.

 

George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

Warren's Nathan Boothe shoots over a Mundelein defender in Class 4A sectional championship action at Barrington on Friday.

 

George Leclaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 3/10/2012 1:37 AM

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The all-Paul moment on Barrington's court included dad, wearing a Western Michigan University shirt, snapping a picture of his smiling sons, WMU-bound Darius on the left sporting a net around his neck, Brandon on the right with a black University of Illinois lid cocked on his head.

Brandon, the Illini junior guard, pointed an index finger at his kid brother as they posed.

It wasn't all Darius Paul in Friday night's Class 4A Barrington sectional. But the 6-foot-8 senior certainly had a hand (two large ones, actually) in top-seeded Warren's 87-52 stunning rout of No. 3 Mundelein.

Paul poured in a season-high-tying 30 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, and JoVaughn Gaines added a season-best 19 points, 8 steals and 8 rebounds, as the Blue Devils (26-3) earned a berth in Tuesday's 8 p.m. Northern Illinois University supersectional against Rockford Auburn, 67-56 a winner over Elgin at Dundee-Crown.

"We played well at both ends of the floor," Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said. "We had good transition defense and rebounded the ball well."

Against Mundelein, the Blue Devils often play well. The win was their third over the Mustangs this season, sixth in two years and 10th straight. The last time Mundelein beat Warren was in the 2008 Libertyville regional semifinals, when then-junior Brandon Paul scored 36 points in a losing effort.

Junior guard Robert Knar, 0-for-8 against Warren in his three stellar varsity seasons, had a game-high 32 points for Mundelein (26-8) Friday night.

"They play a physical, man-to-man (defense) straight-up," Knar said of his team's nemesis. "I think the mistake we made was trying to dribble out of it in the half court. They just body you up and use their length, size and athleticism. In the second half we started running, but we weren't communicating on defense."

Knar canned a 3-pointer 24 seconds into the game for a 3-0 Mundein lead, but it was all Warren after that.

The Blue Devils scored 18 straight points, including 3-pointers by Gaines and Mitch Munda (13 points), forced 4 turnovers (3 on steals by Gaines) in the opening quarter and took a 21-9 lead into the second.

"(Mundelein) just kept throwing out lazy passes, and I'm probably one of the best players out here to catch lazy passes," Gaines said. "If you throw a lazy pass, I'm going to get it. They kept giving me opportunities to get them on the break, so I kept taking them."

By halftime, Paul had a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds, and Warren had itself a 38-22 lead. Even with Nathan Boothe (6 points, 7 rebounds) in foul trouble, the Blue Devils dominated the interior at either end, allowing the Mustangs few second-chance opportunities.

"They can shoot really well," Paul said. "We knew we had to stop their shooters and stop their transition."

Mundelein, which was coming off a 92-point effort against St. Viator, had trouble offensively with Warren's size and athleticism from the get-go. The Mustangs shot just 3 of 16 in the opening quarter, 3 of 13 in the second and 7 of 18 in the third.

"We couldn't buy a basket, and I give (Warren) credit," said Mundelein coach Dick Knar, who used an uncharacteristic six players off his bench in the opening half. "They're the reason we didn't score. For us, one thing we talked about was rebounds, and they absolutely destroyed us on the boards."

Warren's third quarter included an alley-oop dunk by Paul off a perfect lob from Gaines, who also had 3 assists.

"He was dynamic from the beginning," Ramsey said of Gaines. "A lot of energy."

Warren point guard Jameris Smith added 4 points and 6 assists, with only 1 turnover. Jon Geske came off the bench to contribute 4 points and 7 rebounds "on a bad ankle," Ramsey noted.

Paul had a flurry of dunks - three - during a three-minute stretch in the fourth, before Ramsey pulled his starters with 3:08 left and his team up 80-47.

"I thought our kids would be ready to go, but you never know," said Ramsey, whose squad beat Mundelein 61-45 and 87-78 during the regular season. "(Mundelein), they're such good shooters. You can come out ready, but it doesn't mean anything because they hit shots. But our defense was good."

Warren defensive stopper Munda helped limit Sean O'Brien, who had 24 points against St. Viator, to 5 points, including a late fourth-quarter 3. Mustangs forward Chino Ebube, who was coming off a career-best 29 points, scored only 2 points on a pair of free throws before fouling out.

"I really thought we were ready," Robert Knar said. "We came out of the locker room and there was a good vibe. No one was nervous. I guess we just froze up. ... They went on that 18-0 run, and you can't battle uphill against these guys."

Take out Knar's 32 points, and Mundelein scored only 20 points, including a pair of second-quarter 3s by Cliff Dunigan.

"I'm just disappointed because it's a bad way to end what I thought was a really good season," Dick Knar said. "To be in the sectional final and lose like that, it's just not a good taste in your mouth."