WW South defense shuts down Glenbard South
Even though the early record might not show it, Wheaton Warrenville South's defense has been as strong as ever thus far this girls basketball season.
On Wednesday night it was elite.
Holding the defending Class 3A third-place finisher to four total shots in the third quarter and a single basket, the Tigers came from behind to defeat Glenbard South 49-22 in Wheaton.
Trailing 16-11 at one point in the second quarter, the home team finished on a 38-6 run.
"We took it to another level right there for a while," said WW South coach Rob Kroehnke when asked about the defensive effort. "If you can play defense like that and force some turnovers, you will be in most games."
Scoring the final 4 points of the first half on baskets by Maria Dohse and MacKenzie Stebbins to pull within 1, WW South began the third quarter with a 14-0 spurt. Kylie Ruggles and Mira Emma each had 5 points during the charge, both knocking down a 3-pointer.
The Tigers (3-4) forced 11 turnovers in the period and limited the visitors to a 3-pointer by Raiders star Maggie Bair. WW South held the 6-foot-2 senior all-stater to 9 points despite not having a player standing taller then 5-foot-9.
"Our defense always defines us," Ruggles said. "That has always been our identity. We knew we had to come out stronger in the second half. The first half was OK defense. In the second half we talked at halftime that we had to come out full speed."
At times struggling offensively during the first three weeks of action, Wednesday might be the Tigers' breakout game. The home team knocked down five more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and overall shot 53 percent from the field.
Ruggles led all scorers with 14 points and Emma totaled 11, all in the second half. Stebbins contributed 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
"All week we've been shooting and working on layups and finishing at the basket," Emma said. "So it definitely felt good. We have also been working a lot on pulling the trigger and trying to get open shots, and it all opened up for us in the second half. That was a good win."
Glenbard South (3-5) received 5 points apiece from Lauren Cohen and Rocky LaPonte. Bair added 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
"We scored 6 points in the second half and gave up 30-some," Glenbard South coach Morgan Kasperek said. "Their pressure got to us and we made some bad decisions. They did a really nice job of hurrying us up and making things difficult. Kudos to them."