A 59-39 result was just what the Wheaton North girls basketball was looking for to close its regular season, defeating the Glenbard North Panthers on Thursday at Glenbard North.
Wheaton North juniors Emari Jones and Kelly Thornton combined with senior Chrissy Baird to drop a 29-point third quarter on the Panthers, which was the difference maker for the Falcons *18-9, 11-3 DuPage Valley Conference).
In a very even first half of DuPage Valley Conference action, Glenbard North used some quick ball movement to break down the Wheaton North defensive pressure. Led by senior Caitlyn Deegan, the Panthers (6-19, 1-11) trailed just 26-25 at halftime.
“I think it was just settling down a little bit. I think we were trying to press a little too hard (in the first half)…,” said Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton. “I thought we did a better job once we relaxed and finally just stopped trying to (make a stop) every play… we started to play a little better team basketball. So I thought we rotated better, put better pressure on the ball and did a good job.”
The second half was a completely different story for Wheaton North. The Falcons clogged the passing lanes and trapped the Panthers, forcing turnovers and turning them into a number of fastbreak points.
“They’re long and they got a lot of hands on balls and the thing that really hurt was when we turned it over it turned into layups,” said Panthers coach John Chamberlain. “So no matter how good our half-court defense, we’re giving them free runs at the rim. So they start sniffing the blood in the water, they start seeing those passes to run through and we just played right into their hands.”
The Wheaton North starters really stepped it up in the second half as Jones dropped 12 points, Thornton 6 points and Baird 11 points in the third quarter alone. The Falcons defense only allowed 8 points in the third quarter, 14 in the second half.
“The first half we came out slow and dragging,” said Jones, who ended the night with a game-high 16 points. “The first quarter was really good and then we slowed down and then we had to pick ourselves back up. Pick up each other and be a team.”
Baird finished with 13 points and Thornton with 8 points. Glenbard North’s Deegan ended her night with 8 points, tying sister Jennifer Deegan for the team high.