Robinson, WW South the picture of a happy team after win vs. Wheaton North
Rourke Robinson had an unexpected visitor jump into the background of his postgame picture on Friday night.
The Wheaton Warrenville South senior point guard wanted a quick memory following his stellar two-way performance against Wheaton North. Robinson buried two 3-pointers for a game-high 16 points in a 57-34 win over Wheaton North.
So when Robinson stood behind his team's bench, getting set to pose for a quick picture, Wheaton Warrenville South coach Mike Healy -- sporting a big smile -- nudged up behind Robinson to join the picture.
It's been that kind of season for the Tigers (24-2, 10-0 DuKane Conference) -- plenty of smiles.
"It's been amazing, just an incredible feeling, just being able to experience this with all of my best friends that I've been together with since fifth and fourth grade," Robinson said of the historic season. "To do what we're doing now, it's just amazing."
Braylen Meredith scored 11 points, Matt Sommerdyke added 10 points and Tyler Fawcett had 9 points in the dominant win. Robbie Bonga scored a team-high 12 points for the Falcons (4-18, 1-8).
Robinson never lost his focus throughout Friday's game against Wheaton North. Robinson kept looking for open shots, crashing the glass and looking for tips, deflections and steals at the top of Wheaton Warrenville's South zone defense.
For Wheaton North, Robinson was a menace on both ends of the floor.
"Today, we really brought our best effort," Robinson said. "Our coaches prepared us all week, and tonight we came out and really showed what Tiger basketball is all about. We brought effort and intensity on defense tonight. We were able to get our hands on the ball a lot. That all starts in practice."
In the first half the Tigers were on the verge of runaway victory to add another milestone to their memorable season. The Tigers led 7-1 and 11-4 before the Falcons slowly started to get back into the game, cutting the deficit to 16-14 following an up-and-under move by Bonga.
But the Tigers, fresh off a near upset over Hillcrest on Sunday at the Orr Shootout, got back to the basics -- forcing turnovers, closing out and finding the open man -- to ignite a 10-0 run to close out the half with a 26-14 lead. The Falcons failed to score a point in the final 5:20 of the half.
"They have a great team, and in order for us to stay with them, we have to make shots and shoot it well enough to stay with them," Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann said. "We had too many turnovers during that spurt late in the second quarter. When you are a bit overmatched, you need things to go perfectly. We've been struggling, but the kids give it all for 32 minutes."
The Tigers broke the game open -- again -- in the third quarter, when Robinson buried a 3-pointer and scored off his own missed shot, then made two free throws in a three-possession stretch.
"We did some better things offensively after it was 16-14 and got to their shooters a bit better defensively," Healy said. "I thought our kids really responded. Rourke was constantly putting pressure on defense and got some rebounds and shot well. He did a lot of everything."
Healy said the Tigers showed they belonged among the elite teams in the state following Sunday's close defeat to Hillcrest.
"It was an awesome experience for us," he said. "I thought we went toe to toe with one of the best teams in the state. It was a great basketball game. It was play after play on both ends. They are strong, big and tough. Our kids loved the experience. We didn't take any steps backward, and we can use all the positives from it to hopefully take the next step."