On the bright side for Wheaton North, at least Saturday's Subway Classic girls basketball game against Mother McAuley wasn't a conference game or a playoff game.
The Falcons (13-4) struggled from the start at Willowbrook, losing 68-47 to end their 12-game winning streak.
"We definitely did not play the way we wanted to play," Falcons coach Dave Eaton said. "Credit goes to Mother McAuley. They did what they wanted to do."
The Falcons' only lead came on Hannah Swider's two free throws to start the game with a 2-0 lead. But that's about all that went right for the Falcons (13-4). Showing crisp passing and tight defense, the Mighty Macs (14-6) came right back to take an 8-point lead in the first quarter.
"We've really just been trying to get our kids to play and not think so much," said Mighty Macs coach Ashley Luke-Clanton, a Waubonsie Valley graduate. "They're starting to get in a groove again where they're playing with each other instead of thinking about A to B to C."
Mother McAuley finished the half on an 11-0 run to take a 31-14 lead.
"We just looked a little shellshocked," Eaton said. "We got behind. We've been behind before and we just wanted to creep our way into it. Against a great team you can't get behind that big and just expect to come back."
A 14-0 third-quarter run put the Mighty Macs ahead by 30.
"It gets us ready for the postseason," Eaton said. "If we want to be a great team and make a run in the postseason, we have to beat teams like that. For us to see that and learn from it, that's exactly what we needed.
"It's going to be great for us to battle back. It's one game in the whole great scheme of things. The sky's not falling. We're going to be all right. It's a process. Our eyes were opened a little bit, and I think it was good for us."
Swider led the Falcons with 12 points, Sarah Topps added 11 and Matti Zander 10. Tara O'Malley's 20 points led Mother McAuley.