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Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell has no problem with his team getting "hustle baskets."
When the Warriors struggled to sink the good shots at the start of Thursday's Thanksgiving Invite matchup at Willowbrook, it was those "hustle baskets" that helped break the girls basketball game open. Willowbrook defeated St. Francis 60-22 in Villa Park.
"We didn't make a lot of shots early. In fact we missed a lot of layups early," Harrell said. "But we rebounded like crazy. Sam Schmidt really rebounded well. ... She really rebounded. Which is what we expect her to do. She's obviously the biggest girl we've had here in a few years, and she played like it."
Schmidt, a junior just a shade under 6 feet tall, pulled down 11 rebounds in the first quarter when the Warriors jumped out to a 22-10 lead. She finished with 14 rebounds, 5 of them on the offensive boards, in limited minutes.
Willowbrook (2-0) led 39-17 at halftime, then held St. Francis to just 5 second-half points.
"We've been a good defensive program the last few years," Harrell said, "and offense kind of came along. These girls have really taken to heart trying to match what their predecessors have done defensively."
Olivia Domin led the Warriors with 13 points and 5 assists, and Molly Krawczykowski added 11 points. Schmidt, who has committed to play softball at NIU, scored 4.
"She didn't take a heck of a lot of shots," Harrell said. "She took shots when they were there, and our girls really share the ball. They move the ball around and try to find the open shooter, and Olivia took advantage of her opportunities. She has the ability to lead us any game."
As well as the starters played, however, Harrell was just as impressed with the reserves.
"Everybody put a lot of effort into their minutes, whatever minutes they played, whether they played two minutes or five minutes, everybody played really hard," Harrell said. "And they played as a team, so girls come in and get assists instead of taking the next rebound to just get a basket. Destiny Williams comes in and she played the last five minutes and she got (2) assists. She could have gotten a couple of baskets and an assist, but she got (2) assists because she played like a teammate."
Sophomore forward Reagan Sproat led the Spartans (1-1) with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
"Reagan's a nice player," Spartans coach Mike Phillips said. "She'll be consistently playing like that hopefully, and we've just got to get everybody to step up their game a little bit."
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz