Waubonsie Valley senior guard Jack Cordes had the daunting task Friday of primarily guarding West Chicago senior standout and good friend John Konchar, who averages about 30 points a game.
"We were AAU teammates and playing with each other for a while," Cordes said. "It's actually the first time I've ever guarded him. It was weird. I'd rather play with him, but it's all right."
Konchar was limited to 15 points, but it was one of the few things that pleased Waubonsie Valley coach Chaz Taft.
The Warriors prevailed 51-47 for the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division home victory and their fifth in a row, but they needed a 13-2 run over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to turn a 35-32 deficit into a 44-35 advantage.
"We didn't have ball pressure for the first three quarters. We didn't have anything. I'm just disappointed in my guys, disappointed in our basketball IQ, knowing situations," Taft said.
"We just kind of challenged them coming out at halftime. We told them we're not coaching effort and attitude. If you can't get up for a Friday night game, come on. You've got a band, great crowd, playing in the Upstate Eight Valley. It's very disappointing."
Jay DeHaan had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals for the Warriors (10-6, 3-3), including a three that tied the game 35-35. Other contributors included Chris Karkazis, Matt Gialamas and Chris Karkazis, who hit three 3s in the second half.
"Definitely not our best game, but it's good to get the W and keep the streak going," Cordes said. "We weren't really running our stuff third quarter, but coach settled us down and had us running our stuff in the fourth quarter and we got some good looks and made our shots."
West Chicago (9-7, 2-4) received big games from sophomore Mike Bibbs and Mike Orr, who scored all 9 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Orr's last basket cut the deficit to 49-45 with 46.7 seconds left, but the Warriors eluded full-court pressure and Logan Yanisch made an uncontested layup. Konchar added two free throws in the final seconds.
"We battled back to the end and I give our kids credit for that. Who knows if there was another minute on the clock what would have happened," West Chicago coach Bill Recchia said.
The Wildcats are 0-4 in games in which they have scored fewer than 50 points. They led from early in the second quarter until the fourth quarter, which began by going scoreless for 4:25 with two missed shots and seven turnovers.
"That was it. I thought we did a nice job up to that point," Recchia said. "When you give away possessions like we did, and you get decent looks and you don't finish, take nothing away from what they did, but we have to look at what we did and what we can do differently. It's a frustrating loss."
The Warriors finally took the lead at 37-35 with 5:10 left when Cordes drove the lane and Gialamas found him for a layup.
"I've got to credit all of my baskets to my teammates. They gave me the ball for layups," Cordes said.
After DeHaan hit two free throws for what was ruled an intentional foul, the Warriors maintained possession and Karkazis sank his final three for a 42-35 lead. Waubonsie also sank 5 of 7 free throws in the final 2:13 and 11 of 13 in the second half.
"(Karkazis) had two big 3s to kind of push us over that hump a little bit and the ball pressure of our defense, it was a combination of things (that rallied us)," Taft said.
Konchar, who was 4 for 12 from the field with a 3, had a double-double with 12 rebounds. The Wildcats' matchup zone defense didn't allow an offensive rebound until midway through the third quarter.
Cordes drew two fouls in the first quarter, and Chris Karkazis temporarily took over defending Konchar. The Warriors struggled without Cordes on the court, but when he eventually fouled out, the Warriors had built their 9-point lead.
"When he's on the floor, he's one of our main guys and gets stuff going and gets us in our offense," Taft said. "I thought we he was out, we didn't have that flow."