WW South celebrates DKC title, win vs. Wheaton North

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins is in the middle of a team celebration after the Tigers defeated Wheaton North to secure the conference championship in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins is in the middle of a team celebration after the Tigers defeated Wheaton North to secure the conference championship in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Kylie Ruggles drives between Wheaton North's Caroline Gaither and Jenna Kortenhoeven in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Kylie Ruggles drives between Wheaton North's Caroline Gaither and Jenna Kortenhoeven in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton North's Ella Kocher looks for a teammate against Wheaton Warrenville South in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.

      Wheaton North's Ella Kocher looks for a teammate against Wheaton Warrenville South in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Mira Emma keeps the ball from Wheaton North's Julia Simon in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Mira Emma keeps the ball from Wheaton North's Julia Simon in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins  reaches for the ball hels by Wheaton North's Jenna Kortenhoeven in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins reaches for the ball hels by Wheaton North's Jenna Kortenhoeven in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins is in the middle of a team celebration after the Tigers defeated Wheaton North to secure the conference championship in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.

      Wheaton Warrenville South's Mackenzie Stebbins is in the middle of a team celebration after the Tigers defeated Wheaton North to secure the conference championship in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/8/2019 9:53 PM

Wheaton Warrenville South struggled in November and December.

On Friday night the Tigers celebrated.

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Wheaton Warrenville South won the first DuKane Conference girls basketball championship outright by defeating cross-town rival Wheaton North 48-26 on Friday night before a large home crowd.

"Being a four-year varsity player, this is something I have dreamed of since my freshman year, and I'm beyond excited. And I can say that for everyone on the team," said the Tigers' MacKenzie Stebbins, one of 11 WW South seniors playing their last home game.

The first DKC title is the 11th overall for the former DuPage Valley school, seventh for coach Rob Kroehnke.

The Tigers (19-8, 11-3) have won 12 of 13 games since the calendar turned to 2019, the lone loss a 3-point defeat to Batavia.

"That just defines our team," senior point guard Mira Emma said. "We're not quitters. We just keep fighting. And you know, after a couple of losses at Schaumburg (Thanksgiving Tournament) we could have said, you know, that's it for the season. But we keep grinding every day in practice."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Tigers scored the game's first 8 points and just kept going. By halftime the Tigers led 23-13. Senior Paige Miller's 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer made the score 38-15.

"They played like they've been here and done that before and they did a really good job," Falcons coach Dave Eaton said of WW South. "They executed everything they wanted to get into, and defensively I thought they played great."

Wheaton Warrenville South's Maria Dohse dives and collides with Wheaton North's Nikki Baird as she tries to steal the ball in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton.
  Wheaton Warrenville South's Maria Dohse dives and collides with Wheaton North's Nikki Baird as she tries to steal the ball in a basketball game Friday night in Wheaton. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Freshman Lily Huntzinger stepped up her game at the right time, scoring 9 first-half points off the bench.

"Oh my gosh, she really came through today," Tigers senior Abby Struebing said. "You know, throughout the season she has been building her confidence and it's really nice to see her come through, especially in these games when we really need her most."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"She's a talented kid," Kroehnke added about Huntzinger, "and as soon as she realizes it we're going to be all right."

Emma led the Tigers with 11 points, all of them coming at the free-throw line in the second half.

Senior Nikki Baird led Wheaton North with 11 points, and sophomore Julia Simon scored 8. Wheaton North (18-6, 9-3) can place second in the DKC with a win Saturday at St. Charles East.

"The defense they played tonight was absolutely unbelievable," Kroehnke added. "So I couldn't be happier for them. They deserve it."

"It's absolutely surreal," Struebing added. "I'm going to look back on this in 10 years and just remember this forever."

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