Claiming any part of four consecutive DuPage Valley Conference titles is mighty impressive, but the Wheaton Warrenville South girls basketball team does not want any part of sharing top honors this year.
The Tigers (24-3, 11-1) played one of their better all-around games Monday night in blasting visiting West Aurora 61-34 to claim at least a share of the DVC crown. They have two more contests this week and with one more win they'll claim a second straight outright title, fourth straight overall.
Senior Meghan Waldron, who has been a part of all four of the DVC championship runs -- the first two of which were shared with Naperville Central -- led all scorers on Monday with 19 points.
"It's not easy even when you're supposed to win it and you're the favorite," Waldron said. "It's just a lot of hard work and our coaches did a great job of preparing us for every game."
After shooting 70 percent form the floor and limiting the Blackhawks to five field goals through two quarters, the Tigers took a 30-12 lead at the half. The impressive showing came against a West Aurora squad that entered play with 16 wins and was coming off big DVC wins over Wheaton North and Naperville North in the previous five days.
"The way these kids are playing right now is impressive to watch," Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke said. "That first half was impressive with what we did on the offensive end and even more impressive on the defensive end."
West Aurora coach Connie Siljendahl said her players were a little tired after the tough stretch last week that included a double-overtime win over Naperville North on Saturday. She added that Abriya Zeitz, who had a personal-high 28 points last Thursday, was slowed a bit Monday after hurting her knee in that Saturday thriller. Even so, she couldn't help but notice just how well the DVC front-runners played on Monday.
"You know, they're just a phenomenal team. They played well and I know their coach said this was maybe their best game," Siljendahl said. "Of course it has to be against us. But we probably played one of our worst games also."
Exhaustion may have been a factor in the Blackhawks subpar effort.
"In the girls' defense, not to make excuses, but I know they're tired," she said. "They played three games last week -- Wheaton South, then Wheaton North and then we turn around and play Naperville North and it was like a game and a half. I could see their legs were tired. They were slow on everything and I could tell our minds just weren't up to par."
Wheaton Warrenville South, meanwhile, looked primed for a deep playoff run and of course, also is primed to claim the league title outright this week with a win against Naperville Central Wednesday or, if need be, on Senior Night on Thursday.
"It's been hard work and a lot of effort put into it," said Waldron, who is closing in on the school's all-time scoring mark. "It's not easy to win four in a row. The DVC has always been competitive and there have been a lot of great girls. We don't want to share it. We just want to finish it off (alone). We shared two of them with Naperville Central and don't like want to do that again."
Erin Zappia and Olivia Linebarger joined Waldron to give the Tigers three players scoring in double figures, while Taylor Jacobsen paced the Blackhawks with 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers.