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Wheaton North wanted to set an early tone Tuesday at unbeaten Glenbard South and do it with defense.
The No. 13 Falcons jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the game's first four minutes and made it stand in beating No. 5 Glenbard South 55-50 in Glen Ellyn.
Wheaton North's ball pressure overwhelmed Glenbard South early, forcing 8 turnovers in the first quarer. A Mandy Traversa score with 3:48 left in the first made it 14-2, forcing Glenbard South to burn a timeout.
"That's the kind of style of basketball we're trying to play, an up-tempo, aggressive defense, sort of come at you," Falcons coach Dave Eaton said. "If we can keep ourselves out of foul trouble I think we can play that way for four quarters."
Fantasia Vine had a 3-pointer and three-point play in the early blitz.
"We do a lot of ball pressure defensively," Vine said. "On the ball, off the ball, help side. That was a big key tonight."
Glenbard South (9-1) trailed 16-5 after a shaky first quarter but settled in.
"Mentally, my guards were a little intimidated in the first half," Glenbard South Julie Fonda said. "We overcame that and made adjustments."
Wheaton North (6-2) led 26-15 at the half, but Glenbard South stormed back to within 36-34 with 36 seconds left in the third quarter on a Sarah Engelhardt stickback. On the play, though, Raiders junior Patrice Hicks went to the ground and was carried off the court with what turned out to be a cramp in her calf.
Hicks, who scored 7 of her 12 points in the third quarter to spark the comeback, didn't return until 6:02 was left in the fourth. By that time Wheaton North had surged ahead 43-34, Vine knocking down a pair of free throws and hitting a baseline jumper.
"That was kind of a momentum swing when she came out of the game," Fonda said.
Vine scored a game-high 18 points with 6 assists, Traversa had 12 points and AK Feltes 9 points and 10 rebounds for Wheaton North, which knocked off an unbeaten opponent for the second straight game.
The Falcons blew out Hoffman Estates last Tuesday.
"It's another nice win for our program," Eaton said. "We're not there 100 percent, we still got to piece it together, but I'm very proud of our kids for answering the bell against a good team."
Eaton also credited the defense of Sydney Sharkey and Lauren Graham, among others, for limiting Glenbard South's Nevena Markovic to 12 points. The 6-foot-4 center came in averaging over 19 a game.
"She's a very difficult kid to game plan against. It's hard to simulate a 6-4 kid in practice," Eaton said. "We didn't want them to be able to sit there and throw lobs to her all day. Our kids did a great job of pressuring the ball. Lauren and the other posts did a great job of getting to the front side and getting the ball out of her hands."
Engelhardt scored 12 points for Glenbard South, which was hurt by 12-of-29 free-throw shooting. The Raiders did get a nice preview of the type of competition they'll face next week at Wheaton North's holiday tournament.
"My kids battled," Fonda said, "and I'm incredibly proud of them for that."