Waubonsie Valley enjoying fast start
Waubonsie Valley girls basketball coach Brett Love is crafting a long-term plan that hopefully will pay off in the playoffs.
The Warriors have been riding the strong guard play of junior Taylor Curry and sophomore Hannah Laub to a fast start. Waubonsie Valley (8-2, 1-1 DuPage Valley) relies on Curry and Laub to handle the bulk of the scoring, Love said.
Curry and Laub are perfectly aligned through 10 games, both averaging 17.3 points per game.
"We've lost some tough games but learned some lessons," Love said. "Our biggest two scorers are Taylor and Hannah and we're getting some production from Amari Banks and Lily Newton. I don't mind getting most of our scoring from Taylor and Hannah.
"They do a really good job working together. Taylor told me the goal is having her and Hannah both scoring 20 points a game. I'm OK with that. They have the ability to do those things. We need to average at least 40 or more points, so if we can get 40 from those a game, that's fine."
Laub is one of the early-season breakout players in DuPage County. She buried 3 3-pointers and drove the basket with aggression, scoring 20 points in Thursday's road win over Metea Valley. She's shooting a fiery 48 percent on 3-pointers (29-of-60) and leads the team with 64 rebounds and 10 blocks.
"Hannah played post (mostly) for her AAU team, but we needed her to play guard," Love said. "She's been attending our camps since seventh grade. She has guard skills. The biggest thing for her was transitioning from the post to guard. She was not shooting as much and forcing shots. She worked really hard over the summer taking shots and getting more comfortable. She's now sitting in a comfortable position and playing really well."
The Warriors, who play DeKalb on Wednesday, pulled out a 48-46 win over Oswego on Saturday. Newton notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Warriors avoid a late-game collapse.
"I love our toughness and coachability," Love said. "We have a lot of players that are aggressive and understand we have to work hard in practice. We can be as good as we want to be. We talked about doing better on rebounding, and Lily then had a big game. We rebounded and boxed out well. The goal is to peak by the postseason. I don't think we're even close to that now."
Wheaton North update:
Wheaton North is a team in transition. Not only have the Falcons been forced to retool after losing three starters from last season's 13-3 team, but an influx of injuries have hurt their early-season development.
Still, Wheaton North coach Dave Eaton has his team on the right track with six wins in their first eight games, including a victory over Lake Park in DuKane Conference play. Senior guard Caroline Gaither, a four-year starter, is among the injured players.
"We're young and battling some injuries with a couple of kids out," Eaton said. "Losing Caroline really hurt. She can really shoot it. As a sophomore, she had a couple 20-plus point games for us. It will be nice to get her back in the lineup in a few weeks. But the injuries have given some of the younger kids a chance to step into a new role.
"We're trying to get back into it, just working with the girls a lot. The six-week season last year was really different after coming off a year of sitting around. We're going to be more banged up. We're just trying to keep the kids healthy. We graduated quite a few talented girls, so 6-2 is a good way to start the season."
As expected, senior point guard Claire Hyde, a four-year starter, is leading the Falcons this season. The 5-foot-4 Hyde topped the 1,000-point mark earlier this season, and scored 28 points in the win over Lake Park on Friday. Hyde, the DuKane Conference Player of the Year in 2021, is helping steady the team during the tumultuous period with her toughness and leadership.
"Claire is really playing well," Eaton said. "She scored 1,000 points in two and a half seasons, which is an unbelievable accomplishment. She's doing a great job and been playing well. She hit some timely shots against Lake Park. She's been playing fantastic. Sophomore Zoey Bohmer has started every game. She's played tremendous, and really well defensively. She's had a ton of steals and deflections and creating havoc on defense."
Wheaton Warrenville South is set to celebrate 50 years of the program on Dec. 21 when the Tigers host Maine South. Since starting the program -- known back then as Wheaton Central -- in 1972, the Tigers have been one of the most stable programs in the area. In total, the varsity program has only had four head coaches, from Jane Fisher, Rich Jarom, Jim Allured and Rob Kroehnke. The first season, coached by Jane Fisher, was limited to four games.
Kroehnke has guided the program since 2001, taking over for Allured. Meghan Waldron, a 2014 graduate, is the program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder with 1,948 points and 945 rebounds. Olivia Linebarger has played the most games in program history (122) and Grace Delaney has hit a program-best 181 career 3-pointers.
"This event celebrates the start of the girls basketball program in 1972," Kroehnke said. "We have a record book that lists every player from all 50 teams. Bigger than any win is the relationships that have been made, and continue to this day. I look forward to seeing former players and parents that make this program so special."
Three years ago, Montini was among the top teams in Class 3A, finishing with a third-place trophy. This season, with several talented players, the Broncos are riding a strong group of guards to a 6-3 record. The Broncos host their annual Christmas tournament this season. The 12th Annual Montini Tournament kicks off on Dec. 27, with the pairings announced on Friday. Young, Naperville North, Nazareth, Loyola and Burlington Central are among the top teams in the tourney.