Wheaton Warrenville South has scored more than 60 points in a game only five times this season, so Friday's 59-point effort against visiting Waubonsie Valley qualifies as an offensive explosion.
The Tigers needed every point.
Leading 55-52 with less than two minutes remaining, the Tigers' defense forced an errant shot by the Warriors, and Jake Healy and Parker Robinson converted a pair of free throws each in the final 1:10 as WW South held on for a 59-54 victory.
"I thought we played well offensively," WW South coach Mike Healy said. "We have a lot of confidence that every kid who plays can knock down 3s, and that spreads people out."
Six-foot-2 senior Matt Brodhead got the 3-point parade going in the first half, burying four 3-pointers to help the Tigers (22-4, 13-1 DuPage Valley Conference) jump out to a 21-12 advantage.
"I was feeling it in the first half," said Brodhead, who scored 14 of his 17 points before halftime. "I don't know how to explain it. We went on a little dry run on defense, so it was good to have the shooting to compensate for it."
Waubonsie Valley (12-15, 6-8) closed to within 29-25 at the break, but another Brodhead 3-pointer extended the WW South lead to 44-34 with 1:56 remaining in the third quarter.
That 10-point lead lasted all of five minutes. Sophomore Marcus Skeete's bucket less than three minutes into the fourth quarter got the Warriors within 48-46. Chase Stebbins' only bucket from distance pushed the lead to 51-46, but Eric Cannon countered to get Waubonsie Valley within 51-49 with 4:14 left.
"Our kids got better since the first time we played them," Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead said. "That's (WW South) a senior-dominated group that plays really well together. They have a bunch of guys that can put the ball in the basket from 20 feet away.
"The first time we played them (a 43-33 loss), they kicked the (crud) out of us," he added. "The score was not indicative of how big of a blowout it was. This time we played pretty even with them. They just had a couple of breaks go their way."
Cannon's final 3-pointer got Waubonsie Valley within 55-52 with 3:03 remaining and a steal by Skeete gave the visitors a chance to tie.
But the Warriors couldn't convert, and Healy and Robinson iced the game from the free-throw line.
"We work on (free throws) every day just like every team does," Jake Healy said. "When the time comes, we just knock them down. I just block everything out and shoot the ball. It just comes down to that."
Jake Healy led WW South with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Brodhead finished with 17 points on five made 3-pointers. Stebbins added 11 points.
Waubonsie Valley was paced by Cannon with 21 points, including six baskets from distance. Skeete added 11 points.
"We needed to get back to what we do in the second half," Jake Healy said. "Get to the spots, ramp up the pressure. We always talk that whatever we do on the offensive end, we don't let it come back to us on the defensive end. Just clear your mind and play defense."
But there are nights like Friday when a little offense can go a long way.