Willowbrook too fast for Metea Valley
Playing fast doesn't necessarily mean playing clean.
As the boys basketball season progresses, though, Willowbrook aims for both.
On Tuesday the Warriors settled for one of the two -- very fast -- in a 71-59 nonconference victory over Metea Valley in Villa Park.
"We like to play fast, get steals and get out and run," said Warriors guard Isaac Gaines, who scored 8 of his 13 points in the first quarter. "We've been trying to figure each other out early in the season, but I feel like we're starting to get some chemistry together."
For now Willowbrook (4-2) will accept 15 turnovers if they come with the 25 forced from Metea Valley (3-5). Thirteen in the first half allowed the Warriors to build a double-digit lead.
Once the Mustangs started taking better care of the ball in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, they made a run. Three times they pulled within 6 points but a 13-2 Willowbrook burst put the outcome to rest.
"We did a much better job for most of the second half, but then we had another bad stretch where they kind of put the game out of reach," said Mustangs coach Isaiah Davis. "The kids did a good job of being resilient and fighting back. We just had trouble getting those loose balls."
Playing fast also means playing on the fly for Willowbrook football players Everett Stubblefield III, Sam Tumilty and others. Last week was their first full week of practice together and marked the return of fellow football player Deandre Holliday, who missed the Thanksgiving tournament due to injury.
With 6-foot-7 sophomore Sean Paige growing accustomed to varsity speed, it's been a lot to take in for the Warriors early in the season.
Still, Stubblefield and Tumilty scored 17 points apiece and Paige had 14 points and 7 rebounds. Myles Leavy led Metea Valley with 17 points and Tahj Morgan added 10 points for the Mustangs.
"We prefer to get in a track meet, but obviously you're more likely to turn over the ball when you're playing like that," said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins. "As long as we're forcing other teams to do it at a higher rate, that gives us a better opportunity to pull out wins."