After Jacobs hit 6 3-pointers in the second quarter to cut a 15-point deficit to 2 at intermission, Wheeling's girls basketball team knew it had to make a point on its homecourt Thursday night.
So they decided to minimize the Golden Eagles' points.
"After that first half, the girls knew they had to focus on defense," said Wheeling coach Julissa Hernandez.
They sure did, limiting the Jacobs to just 2 field goals in the second half (none in the final quarter) en route to a 62-37 nonconference triumph.
"The girls made the adjustments themselves," Hernandez said. "And they stuck with them. They were committed."
Leading 28-26, Wheeling opened the second half with a 17-2 run and never looked back.
Senior forward Brie Majkowski (7 rebounds, 2 assists) scored 7 of her 14 points, including a 3-pointer, during the big rally.
"Brie is definitely one of our strong defensive players," Hernandez said. "But it was nice to see her not only playing defense but shooting the basketball, too."
Sophomore guard Deanna Kuzmanic finished with a game-high 17 points along 8 assists and 8 rebounds.
"Deanna really makes it a goal to not only focus on offense, but defense too," Hernandez said. "I think our starters led the way as far as keeping with our defensive plan for the second half."
Jacobs coach Jon Benoit credited the Wildcats.
"They made some nice adjustments at half and turned up the defensive pressure," he said. "They are a well-coached team and obviously we had trouble scoring in the second half."
Scoring wasn't a problem in the second quarter for Jacobs.
Nicky Chapa hit a pair of 3-pointers and Lauren Van Vlierbergen, Kelly Grady, Payton Berg and Jennifer Barnec (team-high 11 points) each had one as the Golden Eagles outscored Wheeling 22-10.
"The biggest thing is that we had to get a hand up on their shooters and be on their ball line because we knew they hit those 6 3-pointers in the second quarter," Kuzmanic said. "That was the big turnaround for us in the third quarter."
"We knew we had to come out more intense," Majkowski added. "Everyone was talking and we were playing as a team."
Wildcats sophomore Hannah Dobrowski helped her team with 8 of her 11 points in the second half. She also had 3 assists and 2 rebounds while junior teammate Elizabeth Smith contributed 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Junior Gianna Calistro's 17-footer gave Wheeling (2-6) an 11-0 lead before Jacobs (0-8) got its first points when Barnec (11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) drove for a layup with 2:15 left in the first quarter.
Grady led the visitors with 7 rebounds while Berg had 4. Victoria Tamburrino and Van Vlierbergen each had a pair of steals.
"I'm really proud of our kids," said Benoit, whose team had 7 3-pointers, three shy of their season-high 10 against Grayslake Central. "They really battled after not starting out well. They got themselves back into the game in the second quarter.
"Give credit to Wheeling. They've got a couple of kids who can flat out play."
Jacobs visits Fremd (5-2) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
"That's another tough team that will help prepare us for down the road," Benoit said. "We're showing signs. We've just got to put four quarters together and we'll be a tough team. We're a work in progress."