The first possession of the fourth quarter pretty much summed up the girls basketball game between Wheaton Warrenville South and Neuqua Valley.
The visiting Tigers had completed three solid quarters of basketball to build a 49-30 lead in the DuPage Valley Conference contest on their way to a 59-37 win. Wheaton Warrenville South then put on a ball movement clinic while passing the ball to player after player, eventually eating up almost 1.5 minutes of the clock before Sarah Struebing made a layup, was fouled and completed the three-point play.
"We didn't really talk about that. They did that on their own," Wheaton Warrenville South coach Rob Kroehnke said of the impressive possession. "I'm standing here talking to the official and I'm saying, 'I really don't want to do this.' But if we're not going to turn it over, OK, here we go."
The Tigers were on the go all night long, putting together their best all-around performance to date, improving to 6-3 on the year and 3-1 in the DVC.
"It was a different atmosphere tonight," said Struebing, who finished with 17 points and 3 assists. "We were really playing together as a team. It really clicked tonight."
Wheaton Warrenville South came out with its usual stingy defense but also hit the hosts with a hot night of shooting. Jayla Johnson made all five of her shots in the first half on her way to a game-high 18 points, while MacKenzie Stebbins went 3 for 3 from the floor in the half, including a pair of 3s as the Tigers used a 16-4 advantage in the second quarter to take a 32-14 lead at the break.
"We played defense. That's what we've been doing defensively so that was nice to see," Kroehnke said. "Offensively, we hit some shots and we had a really good shooting percentage tonight."
The Tigers shot 13 for 22 through two quarters and 24 for 42 for the night.
"Everyone stepped up tonight," said Struebing, a senior. "I'd say this was our best team effort. This was our best game so far. I'm excited now about Saturday (against Naperville Central). They're a tough team, but after this week I'm feeling pretty good."
For Neuqua Valley, Megan Callahan scored 9 points on a trio of 3-pointers, and Rachel Tait, Megan Keefer and Kara Vonnahme each added 6 points.
"We've got to do a better job. It's all of us," Wildcats coach Mike Williams said after his team dipped to 4-6, 2-2. "I've got to do a little better job because they're younger. So I've got to dictate a few more things. We're going through some growing pains.
"We look good sometimes and then we don't look good. You can tell they're young as we're forcing some shots that mature kids don't do."