Playing a sub-.500 team and with archrival Neuqua Valley on the horizon, Waubonsie Valley had a simple goal in Tuesday's boys basketball game against Plainfield South.
"The goal tonight was to overall get better," said senior forward Dylan Warden.
Simple, but multipronged.
"Work on offensive execution, defensive stops, staying in front of people, getting ready for Friday," Warden said, "which is a more competitive game because we're rivals with (Neuqua Valley). It's going to be a big game for us coming up."
Waubonsie coach Steve Weemer gets final say on the details against Plainfield South, but overall it was a success, a 65-52 nonconference victory in Aurora.
Jared Brownridge led the Warriors with 16 points, Bryan Jefferson scored 15, Warden 13 and 6-foot-5 junior Jack Cordes scored 11 points with 9 rebounds, 8 offensive. Waubonsie (13-6) won its third straight game and left Plainfield South at 5-12.
"They had four guys in double figures. That's tough to beat," said Cougars coach Tim Boe, satisfied holding Brownridge under his 18.8 average but preferring to limit the rest. "They're a good team. They're skilled at every position. It's tough to stop."
Headed by Cordes and Brownridge, Waubonsie grabbed 40 rebounds and 20 on the offensive end, equaling Plainfield South's total. The Warriors committed only 6 turnovers.
"We've been trying to outrebound our opponents. We lack a little bit of size so we've been trying to step that up and that's really helped win our last three games," Cordes said. "We were just trying to focus on getting offensive boards. They were turning their heads and we were attacking, just getting second-chance opportunities."
Plainfield South tied the score once at 2-2 but never led. Waubonsie was up 12-9, then went on a 17-5 run spanning the first and second quarters and entered halftime with a comfortable 34-19 lead.
There were a couple blips along the way. Plainfield South pulled within 36-28 before two Brownridge baskets, a Jefferson three-point play off a putback and a Warden inside bucket off Nick Karkazis' alert pass pushed the Cougars back.
Waubonsie led 56-35 midway through the fourth quarter when Plainfield South's Alonzo Garrett swished 3 long 3-pointers to end with a game-high 20 points, but as Weemer said, "I feel like we had the game in hand with about three minutes to go."
He noted, "We're going to need 32 minutes of basketball if we're going to have a chance on Friday."