Waubonsie Valley adjusts quality of play, beats Metea Valley
Waubonsie Valley's boys basketball team didn't so much make halftime adjustments as it merely did things better.
A 6-point second quarter had the visitors trailing Metea Valley by 9 at halftime. Waubonsie Valley bounced back for a 53-47 DuPage Valley Conference win in Aurora.
"We made zero adjustments at halftime, unless you say stop having horrible shot selection, stop letting them get wide-open layups," said Warriors coach Jason Mead. "I wasn't a genius today, I just told them if you play like this you're going to lose, and I guess they didn't want to."
Four-year starting guard Eric Cannon began the rally from a 27-18 halftime deficit. Soon the Warriors' entire rotation joined in. Cannon, Cole Gregorio, Marcus Skeete and Mason Marinelli all scored during an 11-0 run to close the third quarter up 35-32. Cannon then hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to spread the margin.
"Our effort and our intensity picked up and I think it was just easier for us to get things off once we decided that we're not out of this game yet, we can keep fighting back," said Cannon, who elevated for five 3s and a game-high 21 points. Skeete scored 11 points with 3 steals, 2 of them on consecutive possessions while Waubonsie (14-2, 3-1) made its third-quarter run.
Caymen Woods, a 6-foot-5 senior, stuck like glue to Mustangs ace Ethan Helwig. The 6-4 senior led Metea with 18 points, but after Metea's all-time leading scorer tallied 35 points Tuesday at Oswego East, Woods' defense was huge.
"Obviously, he can shoot really well so we wanted to pressure the ball, make sure he didn't have any open looks, make sure he couldn't get into a rhythm off the dribble or a catch and shoot, anything like that," Woods said.
Marinelli took Helwig when Woods needed a breather, and Mead credited scout team players Kenan Collier, Patrick Hogan, Jaquarius Phillips, Krishan Kamal and Frank Rossi for prepping the starters.
Metea (9-7, 1-1) is used to teams hassling Helwig. Mustangs guard Ernest Neal made a push with 8 second half points. Manny Hess had 9 points, 15 rebounds, another strong game by the 6-3 senior.
"We knew that they were going to do that all week, but things just kind of fell apart in the second half. If we kept it together like we did in the first we would have won," Hess said.
Metea made 7 of 10 shots to lead 16-12 after one quarter, and forced 5 turnovers for the 27-18 halftime edge.
"I was extremely proud of our effort in the first half," said Metea coach Matt Walpole. "I thought our defense was on point. We were patient offensively and really chose our spots well, made some good shots."