Patient WW South outlasts Lake Park
Wheaton Warrenville South will test your patience.
The fourth-seeded Tigers did it again to No. 7 Lake Park at the Class 4A Batavia sectional semifinals, taking a 39-28 victory that played out like so many other WW South games.
It was the third time the Tigers defeated their DuKane Conference rival this season.
"I say this all the time to our girls, it's not just patience on offense, it's patience on defense," Lake Park coach Brian Rupp said. "It's weird to say that and think that, but we have to be patient because they're just waiting for you to be a half-step off of where you're supposed to be. They're waiting for that stuff.
"So we've got to be patient, patient without fouling, which is another thing that kind of got the second half rolling a little bit, I thought. You have to exercise patience, and if you don't they're going to frustrate the (heck) out of you and then they're going to own you."
The Lancers still were within 4 points when the fourth began, but the Tigers owned the final period.
"We have to keep our composure with it," Tigers senior Kylie Ruggles said. "Up by 4 is not a lot. We have to just keep going and make sure that we're not backing down on offense or on defense."
But that's more of an advantage the way the Tigers play than it would be for most teams. WW South's ball possession and -- when your patience runs out -- free-throw shooting make it that way.
Dohse made a pair of free throws to open the fourth-quarter scoring, and MacKenzie Stebbins scored the next two baskets to give the Tigers their first double-digit lead. When Dohse scored off an inbounds pass from Stebbins, the Tigers led 31-19.
A Darrione Rogers 3-pointer that would have been deep even in an NBA game cut the WW South lead to 9 with 1:37 to go.
"When it's a close game like that and we have the lead like that, we know that Rogers is going to take charge and try and kind of do it herself," Tigers senior Maria Dohse said. "I mean, she can hit those shots. We saw her hit it. Hat's off to her for those."
But the Tigers kept holding the ball and making free throws, finishing 15 of 18.
Lake Park took the lead just once, sophomore Emma Thorne scoring off an assist from Rogers, a DePaul commit playing in front of DePaul coach Doug Bruno. The Tigers came right back and took the lead back with a Mira Emma 3-pointer that started a 10-1 Tigers run.
"We always say that defense kind of defines our team. If we have an off-shooting day, we have to come out strong in our defense, and I think that's what we did this game," Ruggles said.
The Lancers, a strong 3-point shooting team all season, never got their shot going. They finished 2 of 26 from 3-point range, 11 of 42 overall.
"We just didn't hit," Rupp said. "We just straight up didn't hit. We haven't shot that poorly all year. We tried to adjust, tried to get in the paint, but they're really good at taking that away too. I mean it's a really good team. But we're not going to beat that team by shooting 2 for 26 from 3s."
Rogers led both teams with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Ruggles led the Tigers with 11 points, and Emma and Stebbins both scored 10.
The Tigers will play No. 3 seed Bartlett at 7 p.m. Thursday at Batavia for the sectional championship.
"I'm very proud of my girls," Tigers coach Rob Kroehnke said. "We talked about keeping them under 30, and we did a nice job. I mean, they played really good defense and they made us earn everything."