It's what the Waubonsie Valley boys basketball team didn't do after the first quarter that was crucial to it winning 58-55 over East Aurora on Thursday night in Aurora.
The host Warriors didn't panic. The Tomcats (1-8, 1-3 Upstate Eight Valley) led 20-9 after the first eight minutes, but Waubonsie (5-4, 2-2) got it together and outscored East Aurora 49-35 the rest of the way.
"We eliminated turnovers and picked up our defense," said Warriors senior Jay DeHaan, who led his team with a game-high 22 points. "Coach (Chaz Taft) said to settle down and stick to our game plan and not get nervous."
The Tomcats shot 60 percent from the field in the opening quarter, while Waubonsie hit 4 of 10 with most of those made shots coming late in the period.
"(The Tomcats) played great team defense in that first quarter. It allowed us to break out for easy baskets," said East Aurora coach Wendell Jeffries. "I thought Waubonsie Valley was pretty much steady the whole game. In the second half we played at times like we were losing instead of winning."
The Warriors heated up their offense in the second quarter with 8-of-14 shooting and trailed at halftime 31-25.
The Tomcats led for most of the third quarter and had just a 43-41 advantage at the end of 24 minutes. Then Waubonsie grabbed control of the game in the fourth.
The Warriors' Chris Karkazis sank a 3 to open the quarter, and then teammate Jack Cordes' putback off a missed 3-point attempt put Waubonsie up 46-43. The Warriors would lead by as much as 8, but East Aurora didn't go away, cutting the advantage down to 2 points twice with under 1:30 left.
DeHaan sank a free throw with four seconds left to finally ice this one for the Warriors.
Crucial for Waubonsie was going 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in the final quarter. The team's 5-of-5 mark in the second was important to it getting back into the contest.
Joining DeHaan with double-digit point totals were Matt Gialamas with 14 and Karkazis with 10. Fred Reynolds led East Aurora with 16 points.
"It was our poise and patience versus their pressure," Taft said. "I was happy with the way the guys stayed focused after that first quarter."
Waubonsie finishes UEC Valley play for 2013 in a big way with a trip to Metea Valley for a 6 p.m. Saturday game.