At times it looked a scramble, but Wheaton Warrenville South's boys basketball team finished the job.
Both scoring and allowing the most points it has this season, on Tuesday in Wheaton the Tigers beat Metea Valley 78-58 to secure the DuPage Valley Conference title.
WW South (26-1, 15-0) had clinched at least a share of its first DVC boys basketball championship since 1999 last Friday, celebrating by cutting down one of the nets. Tuesday the Tigers merely celebrated.
"Some of us didn't even really want to cut it down on that day, we wanted to wait until we got it all instead of a share," senior Jake Ruggles said. "But these two days are perfect. I mean, we couldn't really ask for more."
A 19-4 first-half run gave WW South a lead that never dipped below 10 points the rest of the way. Still, Metea Valley (9-18, 5-10) proved troublesome.
"I told the guys that despite the end score I thought they (WW South) never really got comfortable because we kept fighting, and I was proud of them for that," said Mustangs coach Matt Walpole.
Nine first-quarter turnovers and 22 for the game diminished Metea Valley's chances -- "the story of our season," Walpole said -- but Ashton Creal found forward Jeremy Hunter downcourt against the Tigers' full-court press. Hunter finished with a game-high 21 points and Ethan Helwig scored 12.
"They split us and they threw the ball over our heads, kind of uncharacteristic," said WW South coach Mike Healy. "They're good, they make shots. They did a great job of putting Hunter in the middle. We need to tidy some things up here in the next week."
Regardless, WW South landed all five starters in double figures, led by Dillon Durrett with 17 points, Drew Healy with 15, younger brother Jake Healy with 12 and both Chase Stebbins and Parker Robinson with 10 points. Robinson went 8 of 8 from the foul line, the team 17 of 18.
When the going got tough, as on a Hunter putback that drew the Mustangs within 57-47 at 7:15 of the fourth quarter, WW South scored the next 10 points on 3s by Ruggles and Stebbins, a Stebbins inside hoop off a Drew Healy assist, and two Durrett free throws.
"We've seen it, but they just play different to what we're used to, I guess," the 6-foot-3 Durrett said. "I think we just fell on a defensive slump and we were just not what we needed to be defensively. But I also think we got it together at parts and walked away with the win. We're happy."