When the West Suburban Gold girls champion is decided, style points won't be a factor.
That made it easier for Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell to laugh off an uneven performance in his Warriors' 61-42 victory Friday night against visiting Downers Grove South.
"A lot of fouls, everybody trying to do too much. I don't know why," Harrell said with a characteristic laugh. "I don't. I mean, everybody tried to do a little too much. Too many fouls, playing too much trying defense with our hands and not enough with our feet. We were just overall a better team than them. We didn't deserve to win the game if we were playing a better team. They just aren't quite where they usually are."
The Warriors (16-2, 7-0) jumped out to a 15-2 lead after one quarter, forcing 10 Mustangs turnovers with a full-court press and holding Downers Grove South to 0-of-7 shooting in the first eight minutes despite those fouls.
"We know Willowbrook's a really good team," first-year Mustangs coach Lyndsie Long said. "They have a lot of seniors that have played together for a while. With our injuries this year we had to bring up two freshmen and they're learning. They're freshmen, their first year of high school, but they play really well, and I give our freshmen a lot of credit for what they do out there."
The Mustangs (5-10, 2-4) are without junior point guard Megan Muench and senior Melissa McLean, both of whom tore an ACL.
"But that happened a while ago, and I keep telling my girls they've got to learn to play without them," Long said. "It's been 10 games now, so it's time to come together."
Jada Stills' buzzer-beating 3-pointer just before halftime gave Willowbrook a 29-13 lead, which hit 22 points when the Warriors opened the third quarter with a 7-1 run.
"The girls stuck with it," Harrell said. "The second half they did run the offense. We got some good shots, we just didn't make shots that we usually make. ... I haven't seen the stat sheet, but I would guarantee we got beat up on the boards tonight, and that's really unusual. For a small team we usually box out really well."
Downers Grove South never got closer than 14 points again.
Molly Krawczykowski led all scorers with 19 points, and Olivia Domin added 11 for Willowbrook. Senior Claire Hardy's 10 points were the most of any Mustang.
But in the end the Warriors could feel good about moving closer to their goal of a Gold championship.
"It's always good to get a conference win," Harrell said. "We didn't win that conference last year, and we'd really like to win it this year."
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