End it early.
That may not have been the focus going into Thursday's game against visiting Metea Valley, but it sure didn't hurt Wheaton Warrenville South's boys basketball team.
The Tigers rolled to a 50-26 DuPage Valley Conference victory, giving the team strong momentum heading into the WW South MLK tournament Saturday and Monday.
With the grind of four tournament games looming, a third-quarter exit by the starters on Thursday was a pleasant sight.
"We really wanted to make sure we got some momentum going into the weekend," said Tigers senior Matt Brodhead, who came off the bench to lead all scorers with 15 points. "And not only getting ready for this weekend and the MLK tournament, but also getting ready for next Saturday and Naperville North because we know that's going to be a big game. We just wanted to make sure we came out and played as hard as we could."
The Tigers (12-3, 6-1) unleashed two devastating runs on Metea Valley (7-8, 3-4), one in each half. The first came after the Mustangs took a 5-2 lead on a Manny Hess bucket. WW South scored the next 18 points and kept the Mustangs scoreless for seven minutes.
A similar run followed in the third quarter after Cory Adams knocked down a 3-pointer to pull Metea Valley within 27-17. The Tigers again scored the next 18 points, this time holding the Mustangs without a point for more than 11 minutes.
With under three minutes to play in the third quarter, both teams began subbing deep into their benches.
"We looked like we've never seen pressure before," said Metea Valley coach Matt Walpole. "I'm extremely disappointed in our effort. We have a lot of work to do. We took three giant steps back, and we need to regroup."
Ten players scored for WW South, with Chase Stebbins tallying 8 points and Jeff Kratz 7 points off the bench. Adams and Holden Rank each had 6 points for Metea Valley.
"Defensively we were pretty good, and we were pretty good on the defensive glass," said Tigers coach Mike Healy. "We've got to tidy some things up, but we had stretches where we played real well."
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