It's one thing to know what your opponent plans to do, but it's a totally different thing being able to stop it.
That was the case Tuesday night for a young Waubonsie Valley girls basketball team that hosted Naperville North (1-2) in the WarHawk Thanksgiving Tournament. First-year Warriors coach David Owles knew the Huskies wanted to pressure the Warriors guards and take advantage of their speed. But Waubonsie Valley (0-3) still had no answer and came out on the wrong end of a 49-14 score.
"They're very quick and we knew our challenge was being able to handle their guards and their pressure," Owles said. "One of their strengths is speed with their guards, and one of our weaknesses right now is ballhandling."
That proved to be a bad combination as the Huskies forced 13 first-quarter turnovers to take an 11-2 lead and led 20-5 at the half while limiting the home team to just one field goal and three free throws. It got worse in the third quarter as Naperville North's Zoe Swift and Kayla Sharples took command of the game, using a trapping press to force 16 turnovers while blitzing the Warriors 27-3 to up the lead to 47-8 heading into the fourth quarter.
"Coach always tells us if we play good defense it turns into offense for us," said Sharples, who scored 15 of her 17 points in the Huskies' dominating third quarter. "Tonight it came full circle for us."
Swift and Sharples shared game-high scoring honors at 17 points apiece, but the two also came away with 6 steals each in the team's first win of the season.
"Today we definitely came out better than we did in the first two games," said Swift, who hit four shots including a 3-pointer while scoring 9 points in the third quarter. "When we get those turnovers and the loose balls it definitely picks us up."
Waubonsie Valley sophomore Kendall O'Sullivan hit a jumper early on to open the night's scoring, but the Huskies' pressure defense did not allow another field goal in the first half and limited the Warriors to two field goals for the game.
"We finally had our full rotation and the girls executed," said Huskies coach Jacquie Discipio, who was without Sharples' services in a first-round WarHawk Tourney loss and who was without an injured Cece Pope in the season opener. "We were finally able to play our defense today and that was more like Naperville North girls basketball."
Morgan Grastorf led the Warriors with 7 points and 7 rebounds and Elexsus Brownlee added 5 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.
"All we can focus on now is two hours of practice tomorrow and just getting better," Owles said. "It's a long season and we're going to work day to day."