Vernon Harris knew just how to describe how his team is feeling these days.
"You can hear it," the Glenbard West senior said with a big smile as music blared from Hilltoppers' postgame locker room.
The Hilltoppers are feeling good and full of confidence after dancing past Proviso West 85-66 in the teams' West Suburban Silver opener Friday night in Glen Ellyn.
"They're playing hard," Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder said. "We had kind of an ugly start tonight. It was kind of an ugly first half. We had a nice run in the third quarter to get us going a little bit, but the kids are excited, they're playing hard, they're having a good time."
Glenbard West (4-0, 1-0) led 33-32 after a turnover-filled first half, but the fun began at at the start of the third quarter. The Hilltoppers opened with a 16-2 run, and their lead never dipped under 11 again, growing as big as 23.
"We got some stops and got some rebounds," Hoder said. "... We didn't foul them, we made them put a shot up and went and went and rebounded instead of fouling them or letting them get to the rim."
It also helped that the Hilltoppers cut down on the turnovers, with just 2 of their 25 coming in that period.
"When you play an up-tempo game with a lot of possesions, you're going to have some turnovers," Hoder said, "but I thought that was a weakness of ours. I thought we had some bad turnovers tonight. You're going to have some where you try to make a play and you turn it over, but we made some poor decisions tonight. We've definitely got to clean it up."
Glenbard West senior Michael Mache led all scorers with 30 points and added 10 rebounds. Harris scored 14 off the bench and tracked down 8 rebounds.
"I just feel like when I've got to score I've got to score," Harris said. "I'll help the team whatever I can do. If I need to get the rebound, I'll get the rebound. If I have to get the bucket, I'll get the bucket. I'll do whatever I need to do."
Jeff Levesque scored 10 points for the Hilltoppers to go with 9 assists and 5 rebounds.
Taylor Watkins led Proviso West (2-3, 0-1) with 20 points.
"It's going to be a rough year, a rebuilding year," Proviso West coach Tommie Miller said of his young, inexperienced team.