Kim DeMarigny called it bittersweet.
Her first official win as the Maine West girls basketball coach came Monday night when the Warriors defeated visiting Wheeling 54-37 in the opening game of the 2016-17 season in Des Plaines.
DeMarigny had been the assistant coach to Hall of Fame coach Derril Kipp, who died this past summer after winning 788 games over the past 35 seasons as Maine West's coach.
A moment of silence took place before the game, and the West girls then took the floor wearing patches on the upper front left of their jerseys honoring Kipp.
"It was bittersweet," DeMarigny said after the game. "You know how he would have enjoyed this. It's hard to concentrate knowing he is not here. Hopefully, we will make him proud this season."
Junior Jessica Riedl led the Warriors with 13 points while 6-foot-2 freshman Angela Dugalic added 12 in her debut.
Also debuting for the Warriors was junior guard Alyssa Fallon, a transfer from Trinity who collected 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Junior Catherine Johnson and sophomore Rachel Kent each chipped in 6 points for the Warriors.
West junior guard Allison Pearson collected 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist before having to leave the game with an ankle injury in the first minute of the second half.
"Mr. Kipp built this team," said Johnson, who also had 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. "We all started young and obviously learned a lot from him. Coach DeMarigny is following right through with what he wanted for us and we are looking forward to the season.
"I will never forget him and the things he taught us. To wear this patch means mean a lot to us."
"He (Kipp) is my encouragement out there," added Riedl, also an all-area volleyball player. "He just believed in me when he brought me up to the varsity as a freshman and he made me a better athlete."
Dugalic also showed her athleticism in her varsity debut.
Her first varsity basket came on a bank shot with 2:53 left in the first quarter and extended the Warriors' lead to 10-2.
"Angela was super excited and full of energy," DeMarigny said. "We are looking forward to her potential."
"After the second day of tryouts, I just cleared my head and said told myself I couldn't think about anything but playing my game," said the Chippewa Middle School (Des Plaines) graduate. "We still have a lot to work on but this was a good start."
The Warriors started the third quarter with a 24-13 lead thanks to Dugalic's rebound layup at the halftime buzzer.
They began the second half with a 3-pointer from sophomore Jocelyn Jacob followed by two inside shots from Riedl for a commanding 31-13 lead.
"Maine West is a great team with four returning starters and a nice transfer from Trinity," said Wheeling coach Matt Weber. "This was a good test for us. it shows us what we have to improve on."
Senior Melissa Claver led the Wildcats with 13 points while senior Shannon Kennedy and freshman Chloe Drozdz each chipped in 5.
"Melissa is going to have a great season," Weber said. "She is the type of player who can go to the basket at will. And she can shoot from outside.
"We did things well in the first half defensively. Offensively, we've got to play with more confidence and strength."
Weber took over the Wheeling program in 2014.
"Even being only in my third year as a head coach, I've known Derril (Kipp) is a legend," Weber said. "I heard all about him growing up and my dad was the athletic director at Stevenson when they had some great girls basketball games here in this gym with Maine West.
"It's an honor being around coaches like him (Kipp) and he was an influence on me. They've dedicated the season to him and will playing for him all season."
"The girls really wanted to play hard and represent Maine West and Derril well tonight," DeMarigny said. "They were nervous coming out of the starting gate but later in the game they did the things they are capable of."
Riedl showed what she is capable in basketball following an all-area volleyball season.
"To see her use her body, and get in position is something we have been waiting for," DeMarigny said. "So we were really happy about that."