Sometimes good defense doesn't lead to good results. That is, when the other team is on fire, even your best defensive effort may not be enough to cool down an opponent.
That's exactly what happened to the Waubonsie Valley girls basketball team on Saturday afternoon in Wheaton. Warriors coach David Owles felt his girls played decent defense in the first half and really picked up their play in the second half. But it didn't seem to matter against a Wheaton Warrenville South team that was on top of its game, jumping ahead 22-7 after one quarter and prevailing 63-25 in the DuPage Valley Conference contest.
The Tigers, who had six players combine to knock down 10 3-pointers, improved to 8-4 overall and 4-2 in the DVC. They will be off until after Christmas when they return to the State Farm Holiday Classic in Bloomington.
"I thought we really started to make some progress," Owles said of his team's play. "I mean we made them earn it a lot more in the second half. They still made the shots, but I thought they had to work harder to get them."
The Warriors (3-8, 1-5) mixed up their defenses some and did their best to slow the red-hot Tigers. But the home team still built a 36-13 lead at the half and took a 46-17 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Our defense really did improve, but they're good," Owles added. "That's the best any team has played against us this year. They were firing on all cylinders."
Sophomore guard Mira Emma helped Wheaton Warrenville South set the tone early by connecting on two 3s for an 8-2 lead less than two minutes into the game. Sarah Struebing and MacKenzie Stebbins added 3s in the opening quarter, and Jayla Johnson tallied 6 points inside as the Tigers made 8 of 11 shots in the first quarter, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
"Today we worked together. We don't shoot that well every game," said Emma, who finished with 9 points. "We're definitely working in practice on shooting. We've just got to keep bringing it."
Johnson led a balanced Tigers attack with 11 points, most of which came in the post. But the winners also used good ball movement to consistently get good outside looks, most of which led to points.
"They're good and they play so well together," Owles said.
"They know where their teammates are going to be and they know where they want to pass the ball before they even catch it. And obviously they shot the ball very well. You look at the score and I don't feel like we played that poorly. They were that good."
Kylie Ruggles and Kennedy Youngblood each sank a pair of 3s off the bench, and Ruggles also came away with 4 steals. Maria Dohse had a 3-pointer and 4 assists as the Tigers received contributions from several players, something Emma enjoyed seeing.
"It's awesome," she said when asked about the bench's big role. "It just puts a smile on all of our faces."
Abbey Glavin paced the Warriors with 7 points and Brooklynne Wilson added 6.