Wheaton North's Andrew Slivinski said he and his teammates wanted to be prepared for a season opener Friday night that measured on the Richter scale.
"It's a lot of emotion and we wanted to keep those emotions in check and keep focus on our goal," he said.
That they did, as they went into Wheaton Warrenville South and came away with a 59-44 victory against the Tigers, who were also opening the 2013-14 season.
Both teams start play early next week in the Addison Trail pre-holiday tournament that runs for two weeks, and both are at the York holiday tournament later in the month.
Both teams started the season late to give football players time to recover and adjust.
"The guys have had a lot of good energy that past couple of weeks," Falcons coach Dave Brackmann said.
Wheaton North came out with a hot shooting hand that helped them lead 15-4 after the first eight minutes.
When Mike Cerone's putback off a second consecutive Tigers turnover made it 13-0 in favor of the Falcons, WW South coach Bob Szorc called a timeout with 4:06 left in the opening period. At that point Wheaton North had made 6 of its first 7 shots while the Tigers were 0 of 7.
At quarter's end the Falcons were 7 of 12 from the field and WW South stood at 1 of 13.
The Tigers warmed up to 45 percent shooting in the second, but trailed at halftime 33-20. Aidan Hernandez opened the third period with a 3-pointer to cut Wheaton North's lead to 33-23, but that was as close as WW South could get the rest of the way.
Slivinski finished with a game-high 21 points. Jake Heggeland was next on the scoresheet with 8. Matt Biegalski had a game-high 9 rebounds.
"We really practiced hard this week and stayed focused in practice and that translated onto the court," Slivinski said.
Matt Kienzle was top scorer for the Tigers with 14 points. Hernandez and Brian Summers each had 8. Brackmann said Wheaton North faced a challenge in trying to defend against WW South.
"Kienzle is one of the top players in the DVC and (Keishawn) Watson is a strong player," he said.
Szorc said he believes the Tigers had opportunities, but couldn't see them through and that the defense couldn't find a way to consistently put the brakes on the Falcons early in the game.
"We got some key stops, but we couldn't convert at the other end. I think we executed when it matter, but we have to find a way not to give up layups," he said.