Wheaton Warrenville South is playing very good basketball this season.
Neuqua Valley was coming off a 2-point loss to archrival Waubonsie Valley the night before.
That was a bad combination for Neuqua Valley. The Tigers routed the Wildcats 58-27 Wednesday night in a DuPage Valley Conference game in Naperville.
"We knew they were a good team, but this year our offense has been a lot better than in the past and our defense, we're just a lot faster. So very surprising, but still really good to see," Tigers senior Kennedy Youngblood said.
Tigers junior guard Mira Emma finished with a game-best 18 points, going 6 of 11 from 3-point range.
"She's a great player, but today was something special," Youngblood said.
"Mira played great," added Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke. "She hit some open shots. Her and Kylie (Ruggles) did a good job of handling the pressure when we saw the pressure. Just a good all-around game from all of them. It was good."
The Tigers (7-1, 2-1) committed just 8 turnovers on the night against Neuqua Valley's full-court press. Jayla Johnson added 12 points, and Mackenzie Stebbins scored 10.
In the first half Neuqua Valley (3-6, 1-3) scored only a first-quarter Gabrielle Thomas 3-pointer and a Kirsten Kasche 2-pointer just before the second quarter ended.
"Our goal is to come out and play great defense every game, and that's what we did. And if we play defense like that, we're going to be OK," Kroehnke said.
In between the Tigers scored 22 straight points. The Tigers registered assists on eight of their 10 first-half baskets.
WW South led 30-5 at halftime.
"We're really focusing on fundamentals because the last couple of games we've been a little bit sloppy," Youngblood said. "We're really focusing on what we practiced in practiced and doing blocks and elbows for defense. Just something clicked. It also helped a lot that Mira was on fire with her shots."
The loss was the third straight for the Wildcats, who fell to Naperville Central in overtime Saturday, then lost a close game to Waubonsie Valley on Tuesday. Twenty-four hours later, the Wildcats lacked energy for the Tigers.
"We've had two heartbreaking losses," Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams said. " ... What we had to do last night was exert so much energy, we knew coming in what was going to happen. We were just dead. I thought third quarter they responded, stepped it up a little bit, showed some life at least."