No letdown for Waubonsie Valley
Waubonsie Valley was in a touchy situation Tuesday night.
Hosting a Minooka team in the midst of a rough season, the Daily Herald's No. 1 boys basketball team would be fully expected to win. Those can be trouble when the mind's not right.
No problem there. The Warriors won the nonconference game 59-34 in Aurora.
"We didn't treat this any differently despite their record," Waubonsie Valley junior guard Adri Malushi said of Minooka (2-20).
"We wanted to make sure we got off to a quick start and just kept it going from there and be able to get our bench guys in at the end. We were playing for that, actually," he said.
Done and done.
Scoring two of its first three baskets on Marcus Skeete putbacks, Waubonsie (21-2) scored the game's first 6 points. Minooka's feisty guards Steven Gonzalez and 12-point scorer Trent Hudak came within 9-5 -- then Waubonsie reeled off an 11-0 run.
Malushi and guard Isaiah Smith canned 3s, Skeete converted a three-point play, forward Ben Schwieger scored off an offensive rebound for the 20-5 lead.
"They get out in transition, they get up and down, they're sound, fundamentally coached," said Minooka coach Kevin Cain.
"They're an aggressive defense, they don't give in a whole lot, you've got go earn every bucket that you get. And you've got to be willing to get back and keep people in front of you and we just came out slow, got hit in the mouth."
Minooka scored in fits and spurts, pulling in at 20-10 after one quarter, within 25-16 midway through the second quarter, trading baskets with the Warriors early in the third quarter.
Inevitably Waubonsie had too much, like when Schwieger scored 7 straight points to make that 25-16 lead a 32-16 lead.
Paced by the 6-foot-5 junior's 20 points and 9 rebounds, Skeete with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Malushi with three 3s for 9 points, Waubonsie thrived on second-chance opportunities stemming from 15 offensive rebounds and an overall rebounding advantage of 36-18.
"We worked on it yesterday, playing strong in the paint, blocking out, making sure they got no easy layups or nothing. And we didn't, so we played well," Skeete said.
As Malushi had hoped, right after Justin Starks scooped in a layup for the final margin, Chase Sandefur, LaDale West, Kannon Hayes, Ethan Rao and Luke Pawlowski came off the bench for the last three minutes.
"That's just one of those games," said Warriors coach Jason Mead, "that you're happy you win and now we've got to get ready for a conference game on Friday."