Wheaton Warrenville South operated surgically in the first half and coasted to a 56-24 win Tuesday night at Glenbard East.
Led on both sides of the basketball by senior guard Meghan Waldron, the Tigers (18-2, 5-0 DuPage Valley Conference) scored at will from the inside early on, patiently running their offense until an open look developed in the paint.
The Tigers, No. 3 in the Daily Herald's girls basketball rankings, were also stout defensively, converting steals and missed shots into easy transition baskets.
"We wanted to come out and set a tone right off the bat and did a great job defensively and executed offensively in the first half," WW South coach Rob Kroehnke said.
With the game tied at 2-2, Waldron scored 5 points, including an aggressive three-point play on a drive in the lane, during a 7-0 run before Glenbard East's Brasia Solid's deep jumper made the score 9-4 with 4:27 remaining in the quarter.
It was all WW South from their as it held Glenbard East without a point over the next 9:44.
"We set the tone early we all played good defense," said Waldron, who had 11 of her game-high 14 points during her dominant first half before sitting much of the second.
WW South continuously got players open by screening to free up cutters coming down the lane from the weakside against the Rams' man-to-man defense. Maggie Dansdill finished with 13 points, and Melinda Franke had 11 for the Tigers, who finished with a season-high 18 assists.
"This was a really good team game for us because we all played with each other and got a lot of great assists," Waldron said.
By the time Brittany Paganucci ended the Rams' drought with a free throw, the score was 33-5. The Rams doubled their output the rest of the way to make the score 41-10 at the half.
Despite the lopsided result, Glenbard East coach Don Finnie was still encouraged by his team's play.
"We're looking for effort. … And every player contributed in one way or another," Finnie said. "(WW South is) a very good ballclub. That's where we have to be in the future -- that's what we're building for.
Glenbard East's switch to a zone defense in the second half helped limit the Tigers' chances inside, and Taj Key provided energy with all four of her points in the third quarter. Allison Hansen led the Rams with 8 points.
The story of the game, though, was the Tiger's first-half precision.
"It's (about) execution this time of year," Kroehnke said. "That's as well as (the starters) have played."