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Glenbard West is gaining confidence at just the right time.
The Hilltoppers won their second game in their last three, taking their Class 4A Wheaton North girls basketball regional quarterfinal from Fenton 45-31 Monday night.
“I feel like as a team we’re starting to work a lot better together and we’ve been getting a few more wins now and we’re starting to find our place within the team and find the things that each of us can contribute,” Hilltoppers sophomore Lauren Daggett said.
“It’s been baby steps, and they’re starting to figure some stuff out,” Hilltoppers coach Mike Hofland added. “It’s fun. It’s just continue to grow.”
The Hilltoppers showed their growth right from the start, scoring the game’s first 8 points.
“We’ve been working on not hurting ourselves,” Hofland said. “We did some nice things. We rebounded. Where earlier in the year we didn’t have all five girls boxing out, (Monday night) Fenton got some looks and missed some shots, we got the boards and came down and scored.”
The Hilltoppers, who started three juniors and two sophomores, also came out with a lot of energy, beating Fenton (16-13) to a lot of loose balls.
“We started the same with a lot of intensity,” said Daggett, praised by her coach for her hustle and her 5 rebounds. “We knew we wanted to come out hard and get a lead in the beginning so we could fall back and have a good base from where we started. We all focused on doing our individual parts to contribute and get a good lead in the beginning.”
Fenton’s timing wasn’t nearly as good as Glenbard West’s.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” Fenton coach Tim Anderson said. “There was nothing smooth about what we were doing. The last couple of weeks haven’t been our best. I don’t know what it is.
“Give them all the credit in the world. They came out with a lot more enthusiasm than we did. They controlled the boards, they controlled the tempo, which is usually how you win a ballgame.”
Junior guard Kassie Buchholz led the Hilltoppers (3-25) with 11 points, and sophomore Grey Hayes added 10 points.
Fenton said goodbye to seniors Tina Guarino and Rachel Leschewski, who each scored 11 points to lead the team.
“That’s the tough part about this,” Anderson said of losing the seniors.
Glenbard West, the No. 21 seed, resumes regional play at 8 p.m. Tuesday against No. 5 Geneva.
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz