Wheaton Warrenville South can afford to think of Tuesday's Class 4A girls basketball regional semifinal as a warmup game.
The host Tigers jumped into playoff action with a 48-18 victory against Hoffman Estates. They weren't impressed with how they played, however, in part because of 11 turnovers and 14-of-40 shooting.
"We definitely got all the bad things out of our system in that game," Tigers junior MacKenzie Stebbins said. "Yeah, this should be a good warmup."
Still, it was the fourth time this season the Tigers (25-3), seeded second, have held a team to fewer than 20 points.
"We've been having great defense all season," Stebbins said. "We kept them under 30 points again and that's our goal for the entire playoffs and what it was for the entire season."
Hoffman Estates got off to a good start early, leading 5-1.
"We were excited. We were moving the ball and then we kind of got a little stagnant and they kind of got in their groove on defense and we struggled," Hawks coach Mike Koester said.
The Tigers answered the Hawks' start with a 17-1 run to take the lead for good. Then they made the score lopsided in the second half, taking a 31-12 lead after three quarters.
"At first we came out a little slow, but then we realized we had to step it up because the game wasn't just going to be given to us," said Stebbins, who sparked the Tigers when they needed it by scoring all 8 of her points in the first half. "We ended up getting the job done."
Junior guard Mira Emma finished with a game-best 18 points for the Tigers.
The 14th-seeded Hawks (11-19) could be forgiven for being tired. They played on just 24 hours rest after defeating Fenton in the regional quarterfinals in a much more fast-paced game.
"We've kind of struggled against the 1-2-2 (zone defense) all year," Koester said. " ... It's hard coming back from playing last night and seeing a completely different style. We worked hard, they just play really, really good 'D.'We just didn't get a lot of good looks today."
Senior guard Tayler Williams led the Hawks with 9 points, hitting three 3-pointers.