Wheaton Warrenville South had a little extra motivation for Tuesday night's girls basketball game against Wheaton North.
"You know, it's the rivalry game," Tigers senior Sarah Struebing said. "We played them earlier in the season and lost to them. They're undefeated in conference, and it's my last time playing them and I really, really wanted to get a win. We wanted to beat an undefeated team, so we were very excited for this game."
Those reasons all combined to give the host Tigers the extra energy they needed to end the Falcons' bid for an undefeated DuPage Valley Conference season with a 51-37 victory.
"I told the team before the beginning of the game, give it your all," Struebing said. "We have nothing to lose. They're undefeated in conference so play your game and do what we do best. We always play really tough on defense, but the offense really cooked tonight too, so it was really good."
"That was something that we never really set out to do," Falcons coach Dave Eaton said of a perfect DVC season. "We talk about winning every game. It's just more of we've got to play better than that. There's no excuses. Give them credit, I thought they did a pretty good job. They executed. Struebing had a pretty good game for them. Jayla (Johnson is) tough inside. They just did a lot of things well."
Struebing led all scorers with 22 points, adding 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Johnson scored 17 points.
It looked like the Falcons (20-5, 14-1) might run away with the game when they took a 25-17 lead early in the third quarter. Instead it was the Tigers (18-8, 12-3) who got hot, finishing the period on a 20-2 run.
"That's amazing," Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke said. "This time of year you play good teams like this, and this is what the playoffs are going to be like."
The victory was the sixth in a row for the Tigers, who ended the Falcons' seven-game winning streak.
"It's a really good time just because we have one more home game this Thursday (against Naperville North) and then the playoffs start next week. These last few games we've been treating like regional games, playing them how we would. And a lot of them have been, they've been really good games. They're getting us ready for regionals."
Nikki Baird scored 15 points and Hannah Swider had 8 for the Falcons, who played without junior point guard Sophie Ahlberg due to a sprained ankle.
"Hannah, having to run the point tonight, did a pretty good job playing out of position," Eaton said.