Defense keys Willowbrook triumph
Terry Harrell says he wants his Willowbrook girls basketball team to hang its hat on defense this season.
It's still very early but so far, so good.
Two days after holding Glenbard North to 25 points, the Warriors tallied 14 steals in the first quarter alone on their way to a 76-12 win over West Chicago in a matchup at the Willowbrook Thanksgiving Invite.
Willowbrook (2-0) forced 30 turnovers for the contest and finished with 25 steals, a game-high seven from Grace Tumilty.
"We have girls that can shoot and girls who can score," Harrell said, "but there are days where you won't be making that shot. Defense doesn't go away. If we play defense like we did tonight, we will be in games no matter who we play."
After the Wildcats made a basket to begin the scoring, the home team went on a 33-1 run to end the opening quarter. Katelyn McCann scored 17 of her game-high 19 points in the period, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. She also contributed 4 steals.
"We've been saying that defense will win us games," McCann said. "Because we are not the biggest team or the strongest team, we have to play tough defense. Getting those fast breaks off our defense has really helped us. It has gotten us the lead in these games."
Cece Lizasuain and Stephanie Dasbach added 13 points apiece for the Warriors, who led 54-5 at the half. K'aliyha Herron also had 8 points and 4 steals. In all, 10 Willowbrook players scored.
"It is really fun when we are all contributing," said Lizasuain, in her third year on the varsity. "We are all hyping each other up, even if we miss a shot. It's been so positive this year."
West Chicago (0-2), which scored 50 points in a season-opening loss to Rockford Guilford, was led by the 4 points of Shailee Patel.
"We have a lot of juniors and we are just inexperienced," said West Chicago coach T.J. Nall. "We have to figure out who we are as a team and play together as a team. And we played a very athletic team."