2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/1/2016 10:32 PM

Wheaton North defense thwarts WW South

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  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Jayne Labelle (31) tries to bloclWheaton North's Nikki Baird (23) during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Jayne Labelle (31) tries to bloclWheaton North's Nikki Baird (23) during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins (21) tries to stop Wheaton North's Sarah Topps (25) as she takes one to the net during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins (21) tries to stop Wheaton North's Sarah Topps (25) as she takes one to the net during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins (21)and Wheaton Warrenville South's Jayne Labelle (31) vie for a rebound during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball  game Thursday.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins (21)and Wheaton Warrenville South's Jayne Labelle (31) vie for a rebound during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Jayla Johnson (45), Wheaton North's Sarah Topps (25) ,and Wheaton Warrenville South's Sarah Struebing (24) vie for a rebound during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Jayla Johnson (45), Wheaton North's Sarah Topps (25) ,and Wheaton Warrenville South's Sarah Struebing (24) vie for a rebound during the Wheaton Warrenville South at Wheaton North girls basketball game Thursday.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 

Wheaton North made eight 3-pointers in Thursday's girls basketball game.

Wheaton Warrenville South made just 7 field goals, 2s and 3s combined.

Those two numbers go a long way toward explaining why the host Falcons won the teams' DuPage Valley Conference opener 41-35.

"We went into half really excited about that," Wheaton North junior Hannah Swider said of a second quarter in which the Falcons allowed 4 points, all at the free-throw line. "That was just awesome. It was so exciting. We strive to get single-digit quarters."

Trailing 12-10 after the first quarter, the Falcons went into halftime ahead 20-10 after the Tigers missed all six second-quarter shots. It didn't get much better for WW South (3-3, 0-1), which made just 3 of 17 shots in the second half. Meanwhile, the Falcons (2-3, 1-0) made 5 of 7 from 3-point range in the final 16 minutes.

"If we shoot like that we won't win a game (in the DVC)," said Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke. "It's that simple. You can't shoot the ball the way we did tonight and expect to win games. And the bad thing is the kids have played such good defense."

Good defense was an obvious talking point for the Falcons too.

"We've really been talking a lot about our defense and working hard to get our defense to where it needed to be," Falcons coach Dave Eaton added. "Tonight we talked a lot about this game's going to be won on the defensive end, and we've got to rebound, and we did a really good job on both."

The Tigers were more productive at the free-throw line, where they made 19 of 26.

"If you score more from the free-throw line than you do from the field, that's a problem," Kroehnke said. "But we did get to the line, so that's a positive."

Swider finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute.

"Personally, it's my team just helping me out," Swider said. "I can get open, but without the ball I can't score those points. So it's all a team effort. Just executing those plays and me cutting hard, it all adds together into me making those shots."

"Hannah's work ethic is relentless," Eaton added, noting she worked on her shot on her own on Thanksgiving Day. "... She's just relentless at everything she does. She works out extremely hard. She's dedicated."

One of Swider's four 3-pointers gave the Falcons their biggest lead of the game, 38-25 with 5:45 to play. The Tigers narrowed the lead with free throws and a last-second Mira Emma 3-pointer.

Emma and Sarah Struebing finished with 11 points apiece to lead the Tigers, and Jayla Johnson added 9 in a typically intense game for this rivalry.

"I talked about the intensity of the game," Kroehnke said. "It's going to be nothing compared to any of the Schaumburg games. Nothing. It's just different. It's a good lesson tonight. If we can grow from it and learn from it we'll be fine. But we've got to figure out a way to score."

Follow Orrin on Twitter @Orrin_Schwarz

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