The Waubonsie Valley boys basketball team was hosting a Naperville Central squad Friday night that started or brought off the bench two players that are each 6-foot-8, two that are 6-6 and one that is 6-5.
The Warriors turned on the defense to prevail over Naperville Central 28-26 in the final DuPage Valley Conference contest of 2017 for both teams.
"We knew that they were big. We knew we had to focus on defense and hold them to a certain amount," said Warriors sophomore Marcus Skeete, who led his team with 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half.
It was Skeete's two free throws with 3:26 left in the game that tied the game at 26, and the winning basket came from him on a layup with 1:10 remaining.
Waubonsie coach Jason Mead said Skeete is getting on track after missing most of the season due to illness.
"He missed the first five games. It's not necessarily about getting in shape, he is. But it takes a while to get yourself in the flow of playing a team-organized sport," he said.
The Warriors (4-4, 2-2) led 6-0 after the first quarter. The first field goal from either team came 1:50 into the game thanks to Derrien Porter.
Naperville Central (6-2, 3-1) finally got on the scoreboard with 6:03 until halftime on a 3-point basket by Tyler O'Brien. After going 0 of 7 in the first quarter from the field, the Redhawks hit for 4 of 9 in the second quarter. Dillon Kane, with the help of two Waubonsie turnovers, hit a shot to pull Naperville Central to within 9-8 and about 2½ minutes later made good on a basket to give his team a brief 10-9 lead.
Waubonsie though would be ahead 11-10 at halftime.
Kane led the Redhawks with 13 points, including 3 second-half 3-point baskets. His second of two in the fourth quarter gave Naperville Central a 23-22 advantage with 6:05 remaining.
Redhawks coach Pete Kramer said it was just not a good night for his team.
"I don't think anyone played well. We were down 9-0 before we knew it," he said. "Defensively, I thought we did some good things. We had a good week of practice. We just didn't handle adversity well tonight."
Mead said defense was key for the Warriors, but something else was more important.
"They are so big. It's like a college team so we knew we had to make adjustments. But the kids executed our game plan really well. It was the best they had executed a game plan all year and gave us a chance to beat a team that's really good," he said.
Up next for Waubonsie is the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School starting on Dec. 26.
"We have a lot of potential. We've had some early rough ones and lost some close games. But we were able to win a big conference game tonight," said Waubonsie junior Eric Cannon.
Naperville Central resumes action Dec. 27 in DeKalb at the Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic.