Neuqua avenges Waubonsie loss, clinches share of DVC title
As one of the stranger DuPage Valley Conference seasons winds down, Friday's Neuqua Valley game at Waubonsie Valley only added to the unpredictable wackiness.
The Wildcats' 58-35 win clinches at least a share of the DVC title, but also totally flipped the script on the teams' first meeting, which ended with the Warriors winning 49-27 back on Jan. 6. This time around, Luke Kinkade's hot shooting helped the Wildcats start fast and the defense took over from there, outscoring Waubonsie 17-5 in the second quarter to take control of the game.
"It was basically roles reversed from the first game. The scores were almost identical ... we shot the crap out of the ball the first game and they didn't," Warriors coach Andrew Schweitzer said. "It's been a crazy year everywhere. On any given night there's a lot of results that shock you.
"That make no sense. Like we beat them by a lot and then they beat us by a lot. It doesn't make sense."
What did make sense was seeing Kinkade hit a trio of 3-pointers while tallying 15 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, while senior forward Nick Lendino was tough inside, finishing with 13 points and 6 boards for the 23-7 squad that closes out the conference slate against DeKalb. Neuqua Valley is 7-2 in the DVC, one game ahead of Naperville North, which closes with Waubonsie Valley on Tuesday.
"It feels good to come out one last time [at Waubonsie Valley] to beat them at their place," said Lendino, who scored 7 points in the opening quarter. "We wanted to get some revenge after last time. Not just for the record books and conference championship, but it felt good for our seniors. This one we're definitely going to remember. We played well as a team and it was a fun experience."
Wildcats sophomore Vova Polishchuk has been having more and more fun of late, taking advantage of his increased playing time since being called up to the varsity a few weeks back. On Friday he knocked down a pair of 3s and finished with 10 points and 7 boards off the bench.
"I feel pretty good and I feel happy that I get more minutes. We're playing pretty well and I'm proud of my teammates," said Polishchuk, who garnered some extra attention from the Warriors defense after entering the contest. "It felt awesome. Everything was good today and I'm proud of how everyone played today."
Wildcats coach Todd Sutton said Polishchuk's offense prevents opponents from placing too much of an emphasis on shutting down Kinkade. "He's a phenomenal shooter. We brought him up recently and he's done a great job," the veteran coach said. "I think he's responsible for getting them out of the box and one. We put him in and boom, boom."
Sophomore Tyreek Coleman, who led the Warriors (14-13, 5-4) with 13 points, hit back-to-back 3s early in the second half as the hosts closed to within 36-26, but Neuqua closed out the quarter on a 10-0 run and the game was never in doubt from there on.