Relaxed Metea Valley defeats Waubonsie Valley
As Metea Valley junior Brianna Hall walked out of the locker room Saturday evening, Mustangs coach Cedric Williams shouted a reminder from down the hall: "Keep having fun."
The Mustangs coach says his talented junior was pressing a little too much early this season, and he's asked her to relax a bit and enjoy herself some more on the basketball court. Saturday's 59-34 DuPage Valley Conference win over Waubonsie Valley was all fun and games for Hall, who scored a personal-high 20 points and pulled in 7 rebounds.
Hall led a balanced Mustangs attack with 7 points in the first half as host Metea Valley built a 31-14 lead on its rivals. Janiece Thomas, Skye Lane and Ashley Konkle each tallied 6 points through two quarters as the Mustangs' size and depth proved too much for the Warriors, who dropped to 2-8, 0-4.
"As a team I felt like we looked to pass the ball a lot more and I think that helped each person to score a little bit," Hall said. "I felt like our points were evenly distributed between everyone. I didn't want to be selfish but when I had the opportunity I took it."
Metea Valley (4-7, 2-3) led 14-1 following a 3-pointer by Thomas before Jabria Damphier drove to the basket for the Warriors' first field goal. The Warriors did close out the first quarter on a 6-2 run, but in the end they were done in by too many turnovers, missed free throws and the Mustangs' strong inside game.
"I just told her to have fun," Williams said of his message for Hall before and after Saturday's game. "Continue to have fun and just work on your game. The first couple games she was pressing a little bit and she just felt like she had to carry the whole team. I told her, you don't have to carry the team. Do your part, have fun and continue to get better."
Abbey Glavin, the only Waubonsie Valley player back from last season, had 9 points and 3 steals. The junior guard, who is also a two-time state qualifier in tennis, is taking to her new role as team leader for the young squad.
"This year as the only returning player I'm able to step up a lot more," Glavin said. "I've never really quite been the leadership type of person, but I've put that pressure on in tennis and basketball this season, to be the leader of the team. I think this has really helped me to step up as a leadership role."
After just one win last season, the Warriors won two early this year and are making strides even while having dropped seven straight.
"So far we've been through ups and downs where we haven't reached our highest potential to win more games, but I just try and keep everyone in that mode where we've won more games than last year, and we're a lot better than last year and right there in games," Glavin said.
The Mustangs, who dropped a tight game with Wheaton North on Thursday, have also made strides this season.
"Every game is going to be a struggle, especially in the DVC," Williams said. "I think we're getting some pieces to the puzzle and right now it's that energy. We continue to bring the energy. We're starting to form that team that we've been searching for since the beginning."