WW South pulls out wild win over Glenbard East
Rob Kroehnke could only shake his head and smile at the current state of affairs in a basketball season like no other.
"Nothing is easy," said Kroehnke, Wheaton Warrenville South's veteran coach. "We've had some wild bus rides, everything. If it can happen in these five weeks, it's going to happen."
A lot happened Thursday in Lombard.
The visiting Tigers led throughout the entire first half at Glenbard East despite 18% shooting, only to get down 11 late in the third quarter. WW South rallied in the fourth quarter to take the lead on sophomore Ella Crawford's basket, then watched as Glenbard East tied it in the final minute of regulation.
In the end, Katie Kroehnke's layup with 15 seconds left in overtime proved the difference in WW South's wild 40-39 nonconference win.
"I think we were just playing for each other," WW South junior Lily Huntzinger said. "We've lost the last three games so we really wanted to win, playing for the coaches. We know that if we lost that game they would not have been happy."
Crawford scored 11 points for WW South, her follow shot and score off a turnover giving the Tigers (3-3) a 36-32 lead with 1:30 left in regulation after they trailed 29-18 to start the quarter. Huntzinger's 3-pointer started the late comeback, and Campbell Bastian, who scored 12 points, followed with back-to-back 3s to close the Glenbard East lead to 32-29 with 5:02 left.
Huntzinger's shot was her only basket of the game, as she was one of several WW South players in foul trouble throughout, but a big one.
"Campbell's two threes were big," Huntzinger said. "That was the momentum that we needed."
Glenbard East senior guard Lauren Huber, a week removed from scoring her 1,000th career point, scored a game-high 19 points with 16 rebounds for the Rams (4-1). She scored 6 of her team's 10 points during a 10-0 run out of halftime that surged the Rams ahead 24-14, and scored all 7 of Glenbard East's points in the fourth quarter.
She hit two free throws to close her team within 36-34 with 54 seconds left in regulation, then off a WW South miss took it coast-to-coast for the tying basket.
Huber assisted Lauren Hernandez's 3-pointer for the first points of overtime, but the Rams were held scoreless the last 3:30. WW South's aggressive zone kept Huber and the Rams in check throughout the first half and much of overtime. That zone harassed Glenbard East into 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter and overtime, and the Rams didn't help their cause with 10-for-20 shooting at the free-throw line.
"They had a great zone, aggressive defense, but at halftime we were able to adjust and make adjustments to be able to get back in the game," Huber said. "We came out strong and were able to take control of the game. Really what killed us was turnovers. We just need to find our composure and work the ball efficiently."
WW South, starting a freshman, a sophomore and two juniors, is already halfway to last year's win total a week into the season.
Unfortunately for Kroehnke, in this wild truncated season, there's just three weeks left.
"We're young, with experience, and we just have to work on our overall toughness," Kroehnke said. "Unfortunately I can't cram three months of coaching into four weeks. And that's really what it is. I need time to install stuff and they just haven't had that. A bunch of the young ones, they're all new to the varsity program, they're not getting that. With five weeks, it's not going to happen, but this is a great win."