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Senior guard Bria Walker and her Metea Valley girls basketball teammates realize they are still a strong team.
Wheaton North found that out Tuesday.
The Mustangs churned out a season-high point total for an impressive 79-67 road victory in their first game since senior standout Anna Petersen suffered a season-ending right ACL tear Dec. 29.
Walker scored 21 points with four 3-pointers to lead the Mustangs (15-3), who won their 11th in a row heading into Friday's showdown with Neuqua Valley, the last team to beat them Nov. 30.
"We are going to do pretty well. We just need to do what (Petersen) does well, which is rebounding mostly, and we need to all work together," Walker said.
"All of us just need to step up together and do it for her. We want to do it for Anna. It's her senior year."
Metea received a double-double from Lori Obendorf and a balanced attack from Jenny Voytell, Nia Flowers and Katie Lawrence, who started in Petersen's place. Reserves Kellee Clay and Morgan Snyder also were important, especially when Obendorf drew three fouls in the first half.
Metea led 19-14 after one quarter, scored the first two baskets of the second quarter and led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
"I actually couldn't be prouder of them," Metea coach Kris Kalivas said. "They knew coming in this was going to be a good team and they wanted it. We want to keep moving forward and prove that Anna is a big part of us, but we're more than that."
Wheaton North (12-5) trailed 33-23 at halftime but came out energetic in the third quarter. The teams exchanged a flurry of 3s midway through the period, but Metea led 59-46 entering the fourth quarter. Wheaton North's leading scorers, Chrissy Baird and Brittany Norris, each had four points at halftime.
"We just didn't have it tonight, and I thought their kids shot it really, really well," Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton said. "Our defense, I don't think, played well tonight. We just traded baskets, and we've got to play better than that."
After a nine-point first quarter Walker hit back-to-back 3s to curb the Falcons' third-quarter efforts. She also scored on drives to the basket.
"I usually just shoot from the perimeter but everybody has to do a little bit more that they're not comfortable doing and mine was going to the basket," Walker said.
Metea allowed no 3-pointers in the first half as Kalivas complimented Voytell's defense on 3-point threat Mandy Traversa. Voytell then scored 11 points in the second half.
"I normally do more on defense so it was good to step it up on offense," Voytell said. "We all feel that we have a commitment to step up. We talked about everyone doing the little things to make up for Anna."