Fast start carries Glenbard West past Naperville Central
Glenbard West saw earlier in the week the problems a slow start could cause. The Hilltoppers didn't want a repeat of that Saturday at Naperville Central.
Glenbard West scored the game's first 11 points and never let the Redhawks get closer than 8 after that in a 69-56 nonconference girls basketball victory.
"Our game on Tuesday (an overtime victory against Hinsdale Central) ... we really started off really slow and that's what we've been focusing on and kept repeating this whole week is the first three minutes, just dominate, and that's exactly what we did," Glenbard West junior guard Maggie Stutelberg said.
Actually, Glenbard West dominated the first eight minutes, taking a 19-4 lead after one quarter.
Naperville Central tried to fight its way back into the game, going to a half-court zone trap on defense.
"The zone trap that we played the last three quarters, we probably should have started that way," said Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum, noting his team played even with the Hilltoppers the final three quarters. "So if we start the game at the beginning of the second quarter we're OK."
The Redhawks (5-4) forced Glenbard West (8-2) to turn over the ball more, but they never really rattled the Hilltoppers.
"I think they did a nice job," Glenbard West coach Kristi Faulkner said of her players. "We always talk about basketball is a game of runs and it's how you withstand that. We made a run and then they made a run, and I thought we did a nice job of holding our composure and not getting rattled and playing through it and not worrying so much on score and focusing on each possession and trying to get better each possession."
"I think we recognized that the middle was so open, and I think we used that to our advantage," Stutelberg added. "And I think we did a really good job today of swinging the ball and finding the extra pass and the open person."
Taylor Huff led the Hilltoppers with 23 points and a dozen rebounds, with 7 of those rebounds on the offensive end. Stutelberg scored 21 points and grabbed 6 rebounds as the two 6-footers used their height to their advantage against the shorter Redhawks.
Senior Addison Yeager added 10 points, and eight of the nine Hilltoppers who played scored.
"We were excited about everybody getting involved," Faulkner said. "I think everybody contributed. Almost everybody scored today, which was really nice to see. We made the extra pass."
"Their team fits together real nice," Nussbaum added. "They've got one kid (Stutelberg) that can just about do everything. They've got a big kid (Huff) that's solid around the basket.
"Then they've got a bunch of complementary players who are willing to let those players do what they do best. They made it difficult because they played as a team."
-- Orrin Schwarz
Waubonsie Valley 73, West Chicago 23:
Led by four starters scoring in double figures and a punishing full-court press, Waubonsie Valley defeated West Chicago 73-23 in a nonconference girls basketball game Saturday afternoon in West Chicago.
The Warriors (5-5) started strongly and never looked back. They scored the first 14 points of the contest and held West Chicago (2-8) without a basket until the two-minute mark of the first quarter.
Senior forward Ahniya Melton tallied 6 points in the opening quarter. She finished with 18 on 8-of-15 shooting.
"I thought we hustled hard and I thought we played hard the entire game," Melton said. "One of our main focuses was to make sure we hustled hard and that we executed what we talked about in the locker room."
Waubonsie Valley extended its lead to 48-11 at halftime as the Warriors' press forced 21 first-half turnovers.
"We wanted to execute our press and work on some of those things and I think they followed directions pretty well," Waubonsie Valley coach Brett Love said. "We call it 'chaos' -- we want to create confusion for the offense and make sure we're in the right spots at the right times to get steals."
The Warriors kept the pressure on in the second half en route to a 50-point victory, aided by a running clock in the fourth quarter.
West Chicago was without regular point guard Shailee Patel, and the hole left by the junior's absence was apparent.
"We're down on the roster right now," West Chicago coach Mark Fitzgerald said. "Our point guard (Patel) didn't play and that hurts.
"But our players didn't quit. We knew we were up against a good team. All I asked them to do was to not worry about the scoreboard and to focus on little victories and leaving it all on the floor."
Junior Sadie Obenauer paced the Wildcats with 10 points, while Morgan Nesemeier and Emily Toran combined for 13 more for West Chicago.
All but one starter for Waubonsie Valley finished with double-digit points. Mykah Berkompas poured in 15, including a trio of 3-pointers.
Seniors Grace Setter and Lauren McKnight scored 13 and 12, respectively.
-- Thomas Porter
Naperville North 66, St. Francis 49:
With Friday's cross-town setback all too fresh, Naperville North sophomore guard Zeke Williams and his teammates wanted desperately to use Saturday's home boys basketball game for a quick turnaround and a bit of redemption.
The Huskies accomplished both. Williams and senior guard Riley Thompson started hot against visiting St. Francis and helped snap a three-game losing streak with an impressive 66-49 defeat of the Spartans.
Williams knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in the first half on his way to being one of three Naperville North players to tally 15 points on the night.
Thompson, who scored his team's first 11 points, also finished with 15 as did Grant Johnson, who added 11 rebounds for the 3-5 Huskies.
"Coming off three straight losses we kind of wanted redemption against a team we lost to last year," Williams said. "Riley came out and got 11 points right away against a really good defense and then everyone was hot today."
The Huskies made seven 3s in the first half while building a 37-24 lead, then were lethal from the free-throw line while not allowing St. Francis (4-3) to get any closer than to within nine points in the second half. On Friday Naperville North lost 53-33 to rival Naperville Central, a third straight setback by double digits.
"It all started to click tonight against a good St. Francis team," Williams said. "We're trying to show everybody our season didn't start the right way and we're out to get redemption. We're feeling real good tonight. You can hear the screaming in the locker room."
St. Francis senior Danny Blank did all he could, finishing with a game-high 21 points and adding 8 rebounds. But the Huskies were just too balanced on offense and too good from the foul line -- 22 for 26 -- for the Spartans on Saturday. Myles Barry added 13 points as four Huskies scored in double figures.
"I thought (the Huskies) played great. They run their offenses well. They are athletic and they shot pretty darn good that first half. Their record is not indicative of how good they are and how good they're going to be," St. Francis coach Erin Dwyer said.
"Danny played great. He's a four-year varsity player. He's a high character, perfect role model high school athlete. For him to play that well was awesome. But yeah, we have to find ways to continue to score on the inside."
Barry was a perfect 6 of 6 from the line in the fourth quarter and Liam Kim made 5 of 6 as the hosts made 16 of 18 free throws in the final quarter.
"For sure. I think we shot the ball the best we have all year," Barry said. "And obviously that's huge. It's good to get a win. We've been on a streak where we haven't been able to get one so this feels good."'
-- Stan Goff
Hinsdale South 66, Willowbrook 54:
Billy Durkin has a lot on his plate these days.
Durkin, Hinsdale South's 6-foot-4 senior, is playing out of position at point guard for the first time. Besides ballhandling duties, he's one of four Hornets scoring in double figures.
On Saturday he even took a turn guarding Willowbrook star Everett Stubblefield III.
Durkin, though, is ready for that responsibility.
"I trained a lot in the off-season, got myself ready," Durkin said. "I did a lot of weight training. Last May I weighed 153 pounds and now I weigh 170. I knew if I wanted to contribute I had to get that weight up."
The Hornets are reaping the benefits.
Durkin scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, with a number of clutch plays. Hinsdale South answered a Willowbrook surge to a tie and remained unbeaten with a 65-54 West Suburban Gold win in Darien.
It's quite an early-season turnaround for Hinsdale South (7-0, 2-0). Durkin and Aaron Tims, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds, are third-year varsity guys and two of four senior starters back from last year's 14-16 team.
"It feels good, all of us coming together," Durkin said. "We had a ton of guys coming back, and everybody is doing their role. It's nice to have four seniors leading the team."
That senior leadership proved valuable.
Willowbrook (4-3, 1-1), which trailed 26-20 at half, dialed up its pressure defense in the third quarter, harassing Hinsdale South into eight of its 19 turnovers. Stubblefield, who scored a game-high 20 points, tied it 37-37 with just over two minutes left in the third. It all came with Hinsdale South's best defender, James Rusnicka, on the bench with three fouls.
"We had a disastrous start to the third quarter that if we weren't such a senior-led team it would have broke us," Hornets coach Brett Moore said.
Instead the Hornets answered with a 6-0 run to end the third quarter ahead 43-37 and the margin never again dipped below four.
Billy Durkin had a dunk off a Willowbrook turnover and fed Bobby Durkin for a dunk.
"Our coach got us together and said we have to take care of business now," Billy Durkin said. "We all came together and did what we had to do to get it under control to break the pressure."
The extra bulk helps the still wiry Durkin against Willowbrook's full court pressure.
"Guys can't just body me," said Durkin, who also grabbed five rebounds and went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. "I feel like I have more control. I can do what it takes to get the win."
-- Joshua Welge
St. Charles East 62, WW South 49:
Trailing by nine points at halftime, St. Charles East wasn't worried on Saturday night.
With a deep, veteran squad that plays at a frenetic pace, pressuring opponents from tip until the buzzer sounds, the Saints kept their poise, rallying for an impressive 62-49 DuKane Conference victory in St. Charles.
"I just think our pace wears people down," Saints coach Pat Woods said. "We talk about that all the time. We know we're going to give up layups, we know were going to give up some open 3-pointers, but if you look at the long term at that pace, if you're not used to it, and you don't have the luxury of playing (a lot of guys) like we do, I think it wears teams down in the end."
Wheaton Warrenville South (3-4, 0-2) forced 10 first-half turnovers and drilled five 3-pointers to build a 32-23 lead. But there was still a lot of game left.
"We talked to our kids about that," Tigers coach Mike Healy said. "It's a tough style to play against that you have to be mentally tough for four quarters, and we were tough for two quarters and not so much in the third and the fourth. I was happy with that way we played in the first half, but we just didn't sustain it."
St. Charles East (5-2, 2-0) closed the third quarter on a 16-1 run to turn a 38-30 deficit with 4:46 remaining in the quarter to a 46-39 lead heading into the fourth.
Scott Breidigan's two free throws gave the Saints their first lead since Zack Clodi's drive in the opening minute of the game.
Tom Ditsworth then made a steal, jarring the ball away and saving it from going out of bounds before laying it and getting fouled to turn it into a three-point play. He followed that with a bucket inside to make it 44-38.
"One more bounce and it was going out of bounds," Ditsworth said. "I had to reach for it and then I saw no one was near the basket. There were a couple of guys behind me, but I thought I could take one or more dribbles and get to the basket."
-- Chris Walker
Glenbard North 61, Batavia 51:
Glenbard North's tenacious defense and balanced offense led to a 61-51 DuKane Conference win over Batavia.
The Panthers clogged the middle of the lane making it difficult for the host Bulldogs to get the ball to their big men underneath and force shots from the perimeter that did not start falling until the second half.
Even more effective was the rebounding of Glenbard North's Jerry Abushanab and his accurate outlet passes for quick transition buckets.
"The key to the game was definitely defense. I thought we did a really nice job on them and kept it up the whole game," Glenbard North coach Joe Larson said. "Consistent defensive effort kept us in the ballgame. We were doing a good job of finishing off defensive possessions and getting rebounds and then we were looking up the floor."
"That's part of basketball where you are not going to have a good shooting night. There were a lot of things that we didn't do well with that," said Batavia coach Jim Nazos. "I thought they were first with offensive boards and some loose balls. We hung our heads too much when things weren't going our way. I think we just have some learning to do."
Three of Glenbard North's staring five scored in double figures.
Batavia scored the first basket of the game on a Devin Cheaney turnaround jumper. The Bulldogs did not sink another basket until a bucket by Ethan Ivan with 3:26 left in the period.
Glenbard North (3-4, 1-1) led 15-7 after the first quarter.
Batavia's shooting woes continued into the second quarter when they again where held to single digits and trailed 27-16 at the half.
-- Jared Birchfield