Saturday afternoon's 29-23 Willowbrook win over host Glenbard East in nonconference girls basketball didn't provide much for the highlight video of either team.
But defense usually never does.
The Warriors (10-2) had an off day offensively but kept the Rams (2-11) in check with tenacious defense especially underneath the basket. On the other end of the court, Glenbard East has remained competitive this season with defense and did an excellent job cooling the Warriors' scoring threats.
Rams coach Don Finnie said his game plan was to slow things down, and he believes that was accomplished.
"Willowbrook plays an up-tempo game and we were aiming to take care of the basketball and make as many passes as we could," he said. "Both teams played well. It was a good defensive battle."
The Warriors led 18-15 after the third quarter and it stayed that way until 5:40 remained in the game when the Rams' Rachel Leifheit, who led her team with 9 points, sank her third 3-point basket of the contest to tie it. She also grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds.
Less than 30 seconds later, Willowbrook's Anita Sterling, who scored a game-high 10 points, sank two free throws to get the lead back. Three minutes later, her shot put the Warriors up 22-18. Melissa Rader grabbed the ball on the ensuing Rams' possession and made her layup to put her team up by 6 points.
Glenbard East cut the lead to 4 later on but didn't get closer.
Kara Tadda's shot put the Rams in the lead 8-6 with just under four minutes left in the opening quarter. The game was tied at 8 at the end of the first eight minutes.
A skillful pass from Sterling to Lauren Carroll for a layup and an foul meant three points for Willowbrook and it led 15-8 with just over three minutes until halftime. The Warriors led 16-11 at intermission.
The Glenbard East defense played a big factor in Willowbrook not getting a field goal in the third quarter.
"Glenbard East was able to slow it down. We didn't do a good job on the boards and we didn't shoot well. We won the game and I'm always happy to have the win," said Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell. "Glenbard East was tough on the perimeter and on our guards. They played tough and we didn't play well."
Willowbrook opens play at the Wheaton North Falcon Classic at 9 a.m. Wednesday against West Aurora.
Meanwhile, Glenbard East will return to game action with a trip to Naperville North on Jan. 3. Finnie said the team will continue to work on the offense introduced this week. He believes if the offense can be improved, the Rams can add to their win total because one-half of their game is already working well.
"Our defense is coming along. It's kept us in ballgames," he said.