Waubonsie Valley hands DeKalb its first DVC defeat
Marcus Skeete owned the second half and there was little DeKalb could do about it.
The 6-foot-5 senior forward slashed his way to 12 third-quarter points on Friday as Waubonsie Valley defended its home floor and handed DeKalb its first DuPage Valley Conference loss 61-44.
From the opening tip of the crucial DVC showdown, the defensive intensity was palpable, with the energy matched by the crowds on both sides. DeKalb (21-7, 7-1) needed only a victory to clinch the outright DVC title.
"Today it was about coming back with the same mentality of just playing hard, playing with grit and we did," Skeete said. "That's a good team. No. 1 in our conference and we came out with the mentality of just fighting."
"Skeete played well," DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. "They hit timely shots, we got out-toughed on the glass. ... Their defense banged us enough and we weren't able to play through contact."
Skeete scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and plucked down 10 rebounds for the Warriors (23-4, 5-3).
Mason Marinelli tied the game twice in the opening three minutes of the second half with driving layups, and Marcus Skeete gave the Warriors their first lead of the game, going on a 6-0 run by himself to push the Warriors' lead to 32-26.
"Those first four minutes were huge," Warriors coach Jason Mead said.
Skeete fueled 15-3 run that spanned the final few minutes of the third and early into the fourth as the Warriors surged ahead 45-33.
"Skeete, the guy was a terror on the offensive glass and just offensively," Owens said. "We just really had to shut him down in order to win the game and couldn't do it."
The lead reached as much as 18 in the fourth, after foul trouble caused DeKalb's leading scorer, Joseph Owens, to foul out with the game getting away from the Barbs.
"That's a big test for us and we fought," Skeete said. "They're a team that comes back at the end of games and we were able to maintain the lead. I'm proud of us."
Twice Adri Malushi pulled the Warriors within a point in the second quarter, knocking down a corner 3-pointer, only for Owens to respond with an offensive putback layup.
"We just needed that push," Marinelli said. "Our defense just getting loose balls, we knew we'd be good the rest of the game."
Several possessions later, Malushi sank two free throws to pull Waubonsie Valley back 19-18, but Owens and Avery Medina combined to make 5 of 6 free throws in the final minutes of the half for a 24-20 Barbs lead.
"I thought Mason played really, really good," Mead said. "Caleb (Brackett) played pretty good ... Adri played really good. He played good defense and hit a couple big shots."
DeKalb scored the first seven points of the game, with Waubonsie Valley's first points not coming until 1:16 remained in the first quarter.
Mead noted that they're optimistic Ben Schwieger will be back soon. Schwieger didn't play Friday or in the Warriors' Dec. 20 loss to the Barbs.
"The first one was a reality check for us," Mead said. "If somebody plays harder than you, you don't get a win, which was our first lot. This one was good for us in a sense. I think we grew up a little bit with Ben (Schiweger) not playing last time or this time."
The Barbs held the Warriors without a made basket on their first eight shots. The Warriors got 11 points from Malushi, 10 points from Isaiah Smith and 9 from Marinelli. Medina scored 15 points, while Owens had 13 points, 7 rebounds.
Waubonsie Valley's height advantage, including the lengthy height of Skeete, 6-6 Carter Langendorf and others caused the Barbs to miss numerous erratic shots around the rim.
"It was probably unrealistic to think somebody was going to go undefeated in the DVC," Reynolds said. "We'd have liked to, but people have losses for a reason. There's going to be four 20-win teams out of six."