During the summer, during preseason practice, the Waubonsie Valley girls basketball team focused on its improving its defense. It continued its efforts as the season got under way.
On Saturday afternoon the host Warriors showed Glenbard North what their defense is capable of. It held the Panthers to just 6 points in the fourth quarter and used its defense to create scoring opportunities for a 25-point showing that resulted in a 54-28 victory.
"In the fourth quarter the defense picked up. Coach (Brett Love) was saying at halftime to execute on defense, execute on offense," said Ahniya Melton, who scored all of her 13 points in the final period. "We were getting steals and that resulted in shots and we racked up the lead."
Glenbard North (2-7, 0-2 DuPage Valley Conference) pulled to within 33-25 with 6:15 remaining in the contest on a basket by Leah Miller, who led her team with 9 points. The Panthers then called a timeout and afterward it was all Waubonsie (3-4, 1-1) as it went on a 15-2 run to break the game wide open.
A basket by Melton started the run and a shot by her ended it. The scoring burst also included a 3-point basket by Lauren McKnight, who also scored 13 points and led the Warriors with three 3-pointers.
"We were frustrated the first, second and third quarters. But the fourth quarter is why basketball is fun and why I enjoy playing it," Melton said.
Love praised the efforts of junior Megan Harrison and said her play was crucial to the show of defense in the fourth quarter.
"Megan Harrison came off the bench. She doesn't get a lot of minutes, but in practice she does a great job on defense. She got a couple of steals, a layup and made others more aggressive," he said.
The Waubonsie coach said that success will continue if the Warriors play like that did in the final eight minutes Saturday.
"If we play the whole game like we did in the fourth quarter, we can compete with anyone in conference this year," he said.
It was a very slow start to the game. Glenbard North led just 6-4 after the opening period. The Warriors shot 6 of 13 from the field in the second quarter to lead 18-14 at halftime.
Waubonsie's Gina Palasz was the other Warrior scoring in double digits with 10.
As for Glenbard North, coach Steve Wit said the main concern with the Panthers is the offense. The team scored in single digits in every quarter.
"We're young. We have young inexperienced guards that need to mature. They need to learn when to go fast and when to go slow and read what's going on," he said.