After Thursday night's 41-29 Glenbard North win over host West Chicago, it was easy to tell the mood of a team that has found its footing early in the season and one still looking for it.
The Panthers (3-4, 1-0 DuPage Valley Conference) were all smiles after the postgame meeting. They won their third straight contest with the help of a game-high 16 points from 6-foot-4-inch senior center Katie Wisniewski and 10 points from Laila Pickens.
"We've been working hard in practice and executing the plays better. We're all on each other's cases and we feed off of each other's energy," Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski scored 10 of her points in the second half and six came in the final quarter where Glenbard North outscored West Chicago 16-4.
Also helping the Panthers was 7-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line for the game, all coming the second half. Amy Falson was 4 of 4 in the final quarter.
Glenbard North coach John Chamberlain said defense has played a key role in the team's success.
"Because of the defense we've been able to do more and more with the offense. The offense has run well the past three games," he said.
Defensively, the Wildcats (1-5, 0-1) played tough, holding the Panthers to 25 points through three quarters. Coach Kim Wallner continues the search for answers on offense.
"We had open looks that we did not make, and in the second half, we did not look in sync.
"In the game we won (a 40-39 win over Oak Forest on Saturday), we had two people scoring in double digits and two people close to 10 points each. That's the kind of thing we need."
Laura Panicali led the Wildcats with 12 points and Amanda Gosbeth had 11.
Gosbeth's two jump shots and a putback with under 1:40 left in the first half tied the game at 14 at halftime. And the team went on a 5-0 run with less than three minutes left in the third quarter to tie the game at 25 at the end of it. A free throw by Gosbeth and two from Panicali and a basket by Jenna Forman sparked that rally.