Future Ryan Webber wins will undoubtedly be greeted with applause from Warren's boys basketball fans.
Tuesday night, however, there was nary a cheer after Webber earned his first victory as Blue Devils coach.
Just before the start of the second half between host Warren and Lake Forest Academy, a fight broke out in the bleachers. After a long delay, which included both teams being sent to their locker rooms, spectators were instructed to exit the gym.
When play finally resumed, after a delay that lasted 35 minutes, Warren slowly built on a 17-point halftime advantage and cruised to a 60-39 win, which evened the Blue Devils' record at 1-1 in the Thanksgiving tournament they are co-hosting with Mundelein. The second half was played in front of only coaches who were scouting the game, game officials and media.
"What a story. Unbelievable," Webber, who coached the last seven seasons at Moline, said with a grin. "I will not forget my first win at Warren."
The 32-year-old Webber acknowledged he may be young-looking, but added he's experienced many things as a coach. Still, coaching his team for one half of basketball without any fans watching was a first.
"It was actually quite weird," said Warren point guard Aarias Austin, who scored 8 points, after leading the Blue Devils with 22 in their season-opening loss to Waukegan on Monday night. "It was an experience that I'll never forget."
Fortunately for the Blue Devils, they had built a 26-9 halftime advantage, thanks in large part to junior Adrian Deere scoring 13 of his game-high 15 points. Deere finished consecutive alley-oop dunks from Arthell Rosquist and Eric Gillespie, respectively, late in the first quarter. Deere also had a pair of alley-oop layups off lobs from Austin.
Lake Forest Academy (0-2) actually outscored Warren 15-14 in the third, pulling within 40-24 on Dejon Brissett's baseline dunk with a minute left in the quarter.
"The three-minute warm-up (after the teams returned to the court at halftime) was not good," Austin said. "The fourth quarter, we got our legs back and got it back going."
Warren hit 8 of 10 shots in the fourth to keep LFA at bay.
"It was very hard to get energetic and refocused (after halftime)," said Deere, a 6-foot-3 junior who had 16 points in the Blue Devils' opener. "Coach really pushed us to get refocused. He helped us a lot."
Warren led only 6-5 late in the first quarter when Deere's back-to-back slams started an 18-0 run. Gillespie capped it with a left-wing 3-pointer that had Warren up 24-5 with 2:14 left before halftime.
"What I really want to focus on, is the first half, our kids played really well," said Webber, whose Blue Devils helped force LFA into 9 turnovers in the opening quarter. "I thought they were really active."
LFA was led by Ryan Clamage's 9 points (off three 3-pointers) coming off the bench.
Gillespie scored 8 points coming off Warren's bench. Shayne White and Timmy Pieper added 7 points apiece.
"A lot better (compared to Opening Night)," Webber said. "We just seemed more settled. That first game is always a hard one."