Young Wheaton North edges Metea Valley
With four sophomores and four freshmen on the roster, Wheaton North is a very young basketball team.
On Thursday night the Falcons did a lot of growing up.
Led by the 25 points of Hannah Swider, Wheaton North held off a late charge by Metea Valley to prevail 64-60 in the DuPage Valley Conference matchup.
"We took a good step today," Swider said, "and I feel like this will help us moving forward. And to get a DVC win, that adds to it. It was awesome. Our defense came out hard right from the beginning and we came out attacking. We never let up, we never stopped. You always have some hiccups, but we persevered through that. We really played as a team."
Forcing 25 turnovers, the home team led by 9 points in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer by Emmy Gryna, her fourth of the night. But the visitors fought back, going on an 11-2 run, capped off by back-to-back baskets by Ashley Konkle to tie the score at 55-55 with 2:50 left.
A jumper by Sarah Topps then gave Wheaton North (2-6, 1-2) the lead for good as the Falcons nailed seven free throws down the stretch to keep the Mustangs at bay.
"I'm proud of the kids' effort," Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton said. "We took the lead and did a good job of putting ourselves in a position to win. Against Wheaton Warrenville South, it was a tie game with three minutes to go and I thought we played not to lose. Tonight our kids did a good job staying focused."
Swider scored 18 of her points after halftime, including 13 in the third quarter. She also totaled 5 steals and 5 rebounds.
"I couldn't do it without my team," the sophomore said. "Our defense leads to our offense, and we try to push the ball out in transition. We are undersized but we are athletic and fast so we try to push it."
Gryna finished with 18 points while Nikki Baird contributed 11 points and 6 rebounds.
Konkle led Metea Valley (3-7, 1-3) with 19 points and 8 rebounds, 7 of which came on the offensive end. Brianna Hall had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Skye Lane also checked into double figures with 11.
"It's a battle," Metea Valley coach Cedric Williams said. "I told the kids before the season started, it will be a battle day in and day out. We have to make sure we are physically and mentally prepared for that and we are working on that. We are a young team and we are going to have some ups and downs and you just hope to have more ups. We are pushing forward."