If defense wins championships, Downers Grove North's girls basketball team could be on to something big this season.
Led by 6-foot-2 junior center Peyton Winters and 6-1 sophomore guard Jaida Travascio-Green, the Trojans (4-0) turned in a stingy defensive performance during their 48-37 victory over Geneva (2-1) at the Glenbard East/Rachel Bach Tournament Tuesday night in Lombard.
Winters recorded an unconventional double-double with 13 points and 11 blocked shots while Travascio-Green added 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Trojans built a 16-7 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Travascio-Green and Winters combined to outscore the Vikings 19-16 in the first half by themselves as the Trojans held a 29-16 lead at the intermission.
While Travascio-Green led all players with 10 first-half points, Winters proved to be an immovable force down low with 9 points, 9 blocked shots and 5 boards during the first 16 minutes.
"We focused more on getting stops on the defensive end and then trying to get things going offensively," said Winters. "It's much easier when we get stops on defense first though."
Blocking shots while not committing fouls is a daunting task at times.
"It's definitely something I've had to work on because usually I come down (with my arm) on shots and that's where I get into trouble," said Winters. "I'm trying to stay straight up more and then blocking (the ball) once it leaves their hand."
It all added up to a long night for the Vikings, who fell behind 7-0 in the first 2 minutes and trailed by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter.
"It was like we were half-asleep to start the game," said Vikings coach Sarah Meadows.
Things didn't get much better the rest of the way, either, as the Vikings shot just 17 percent (11-of-63) from the field.
"We couldn't make a shot," said Meadows. "You work so hard on defense and then you want rewards on offense. We never got those rewards. We couldn't even make a layup."
Janie McCloughan was the lone Geneva player to reach double figures with 10 points and 7 rebounds, while Madeline Dunn added 9 points.
"At halftime, I thought we had a ton of turnovers (7) but we didn't," said Meadows. "It was all blocked shots. We had talked about that before the game -- you can't shoot over that girl (Winters). She's so long."
Sarah Costello had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals for the Trojans.
"We rotated well and we battled really hard," said Downers Grove North coach Stephan Bolt. "We were the first ones to the floor. That's what we have to do at the defensive end.
"It wasn't pretty on the offensive end but our defense allowed us to compete and win the game."
Colleen Honn and Lauren Porcelli chipped in with 6 and 5 points, respectively, for the Trojans.