Good defense can mean walking the fine line between aggressiveness and gambling too much.
Aubree Lawrence walks that line with her Immaculate Conception team.
"Sometimes we get a little anxious to make that play, to get that steal," Lawrence said. "We've really worked with them on maintaining their patience defensively and applying pressure. It's tough, because they see it and want to get it."
Whatever's preached seems to be sticking.
Immaculate Conception's sticky defense kept Wheaton Academy at bay in a 35-24 win on Friday in Elmhurst.
In five of their seven wins, the Knights (7-2, 3-0 Suburban Christian Conference Gold) have allowed fewer than 30 points. Lawrence won't argue with those results.
"Our defensive effort has been pretty consistent through all of our games," Lawrence said, "wins and losses. They're working really hard, so you can't complain."
IC never trailed after scoring the game's first 5 points. The Knights' lead grew to double figures at 15-5 after a Chiara Gaudio basket off a Brittney Reaber feed with 5:02 left in the first half, and the margin peaked at 15 early in the fourth quarter.
Abby Radoha and Gaudio scored 9 points for IC, freshman Kasey Carver adding 8 off the bench.
"It got a little frantic there at times," IC junior Abby Radoha said, "but I thought we stopped them pretty good."
The Knights were in control throughout despite missing numerous makeable shots near the basket.
"We're getting high-percentage shots in our offense," Lawrence said. "We just need to finish. It will come."
Wheaton Academy (1-8, 0-3), which graduated eight seniors off last year's 16-win team, followed a familiar script Friday. The Warriors play hard and can turn teams over defensively, but scoring is a struggle. Friday was the fifth game this year Wheaton Academy has scored fewer than 25 points. Shooting 8 of 39 from the field and 7 of 13 from the free-throw line with 24 turnovers will do that.
Still, Warriors coach Beth Mitchell felt this was a step forward.
"Shots just didn't fall," Mitchell said. "I thought our team chemistry was better, and I was proud of our defensive effort. That's been our struggle is finding the basket."
The Warriors future is with freshman guard Jamie Netzley. Netzley scored 9 points Friday, including a pretty reverse layup. Charissa Robinson added 6 points.
"As long as the kids keep working hard and keep the right attitude and grow every day eventually it will get there," Mitchell said. "It's a much more fun experience when they play as a team."
IC was glad to get back in the win column, two nights after a tough 5-point loss at Latin. That game was tied with 3 minutes left, the Knights missing 5 uncontested layups late.
"It's great to bring your frustrations out from the other game and get a win," Radoha said.