According to Glenbard South forward Tomei Ball, "defense is our No. 1 thing."
The Raiders proved that Monday when they held Jacobs without a field goal in the first quarter and went on to win 57-38 in a first-round game of the Bill Neibch Falcon Classic at Wheaton North.
"We rely on our defense a lot," said Ball, who led all scorers with 17 points. "We have a lot of defenses we can throw at people, and we switch them around. We're strong at traps and everyone is hustling with their hands up."
"We're long and lanky and fast," said Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda. "We executed our defense perfectly and smothered them in that first quarter."
With Ball and Steffy Bazigos leading the way, the Raiders jumped out to an 18-1 lead after the first quarter.
Jacobs coach Joe Benoit was happy with the way his team settled down in the second half and kept battling to the end, but he agreed that the Raiders defense was the key.
"Their traps up top really hurt us," Benoit said. "We turned the ball over way too many times and we gave up 17 offensive rebounds in the first half."
"Everyone was in the game and everyone crashes the boards," Ball said.
Fonda praised Ball for her efforts and for her overall game.
""Tomei has a huge basketball IQ," Fonda said. "She's the real deal both inside and outside."
The Raiders (8-4) took a 29-12 lead to halftime and increased the margin to 50-19 at the end of three quarters before Jacobs cut the deficit to fewer than 20 points in the final period.
Jacobs (2-11) has had issues all year, not only with starting games but getting started in the second half as well.
"As coaches, we have to figure out what to do about that," Benoit said. "We got better later in the game, but we have a lot of work to do. In the second half we did a nice job at the free-throw line and on the boards."
Freshman Carly Sidor led the Golden Eagles with 13 points.
Bazigos finished with 10 points for the Raiders, and Jenna Brambora scored 9, all in the second half. Sydney Bauman blocked 4 shots and Alex LaPonte rejected 3 for the much taller Raiders, while Brambora and Bazigos each came up with 3 steals.
"We're really starting to jell as a team," Fonda said. "We have a lot of people who can put it all together on a given night, which makes us hard to guard. We expect big things in this tournament. It should be exciting."