Wheaton Warrenville South ekes out win against Glenbard North
For a while on Saturday afternoon, Glenbard North and Wheaton Warrenville South didn't miss an opportunity to show how even they were.
Eventually, the host Tigers prevailed 28-26 in the DuPage Valley Conference girls basketball game, but not without eight ties -- at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 17 -- and four lead changes along the way in the low-scoring game.
"It was absolutely nip and tuck the whole way," Panthers coach John Chamberlain said. "With that alignment we're pretty evenly matched, and baskets were hard to come by. Both teams were playing great defense. I was real happy with our execution, everything but just sticking the ball in the basket. I thought it was one of our better games for sure."
Defense was the theme of the game for both teams, though the Tigers -- playing without four-year varsity player Olivia Linebarger (flu) -- would have preferred a faster pace.
"We played great defense," Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke said. "We certainly didn't win because of our offensive output. You're got to win some games with your defense. I mean, this is Glenbard North's type of game. They want to have a controlled pace to the game. They did that, and we were fortunate enough to play good defense because we were playing right into their hands."
Junior guard Erin Madigan gave the Tigers (7-11, 2-2) the lead for good when her free throw capped a three-point play with 30.5 seconds left in the third quarter. The Tigers built their biggest lead of the game on a Marissa Lessick basket with 1:28 to go in the fourth, making the score 27-22, but Jennifer Deegan scored the next four points for the Panthers (7-10, 1-3) to keep the outcome in doubt until the final horn.
Deegan led all scorers with 11 points, all in the second half.
"To have Jen and Zakiya (Newsome) scoreless in the first half is pretty unusual for us, so the scoring was coming from other places, which is great," Chamberlain said. "Then Jen definitely stepped up in the second half and helped us. She was about the tiredest kid I've seen, so it's a credit to her that she was sticking her nose in there."
It was just the Tigers' second home game of the season and first game anywhere in almost two weeks.
"It's our first game back (from the holiday break)," Kroehnke said. "You know you're going to look a little rusty. I didn't expect to struggle that much offensively. We always talk about playing good defense. If you play good defense, you'll be in every game."
Defense is why the Tigers have gone 7-4 since starting the season 0-7. They won't get much rest, playing Fenwick at Fremd's shootout in a rare Sunday afternoon game.
"There's always a couple of games like this where you've got to battle," Kroehnke said. "As I told the girls, it's a win, it's a DVC win, we're 1-0 in 2015. That's sort of how we're looking at it."
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