Girls basketball: Waubonsie Valley hands Oswego East loss in season opener
Oswego East guard Aubrey Lamberti is only a sophomore, but she's already once of her team's most experienced players.
"She's an all-around player," Oswego East coach Abe Carretto said. "It's not like she's ever going to be a center, but she's a stretch guard, can play inside a little bit and play outside.
"She can dribble the ball up, but mostly she's in that stretch position. She does a lot of good things defensively, especially in our press."
The 5-foot-9 Lamberti demonstrated that during Monday's season opener. She did a little of everything, scoring a team-high 13 points and leading all players with five steals. She also contributed four rebounds and an assist.
But those efforts weren't nearly enough to prevent Waubonsie Valley from rolling to a 81-49 victory at the York Thanksgiving Tournament.
The Warriors, who went 24-8 and reached a Class 4A sectional final last season, put up those impressive numbers despite losing senior post player Hannah Laub, who is receiving Division I offers for basketball and softball, to an ankle injury in the first quarter.
Waubonsie Valley coach Brett Love said the initial diagnosis is a high ankle sprain.
"It's a tough time," Love said. "We're a different team without her defensively at the basket, but what can we do?"
Plenty, as it turns out.
Nicole Warbinski scored five consecutive points immediately following Laub's exit to pull Oswego East within 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
But Waubonsie began the second quarter with a 23-0 run. The Warriors sank 9-of-11 shots during the explosion, including 3-pointers from four different players.
Junior Lily Newton started it with a 3-pointer and Danyella Mporokoso, who finished with 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Arianna Garcia followed with two more.
The Warriors finished 32 of 55 (58 percent) from the floor, while the Wolves were 20 of 50 (40 percent), including 4 of 14 in the decisive second quarter.
"I thought we shot really well," Love said. "We came out and locked in on our shots and we took advantage of those opportunities, but we definitely missed some defensive assignments.
"We've got a lot to work on. It lets us know where we are, though."
Lamberti and her teammates know what they've got to work on.
"I think once they had that lead, we kind of put our heads down a little bit, and we've got to work on that," Lamberti said. "But once we all work together and actually pick up the pace and focus, we can do good."
The Wolves showed glimpses of doing so.
A rebound bucket by Ava Valek with 2:29 left in the second quarter broke a six-minute scoring drought and triggered a 12-2 run which Lamberti capped with a driving layup.
The Warriors surged again in the third quarter to take a 59-30 lead. The Wolves responded with a seven-point spurt as Lamberti scored on back-to-back layups and Desiree Merritt followed with a steal and 3-pointer.
"Those are things that we just have to do sooner," Carretto said. "Those spurts looked really good.
"I enjoyed it. We just have to be more consistent with them."
"We've got long people that can guard the ball and we've got quick guards, so we just need to try to start out really fast," Lamberti said. "We didn't do too well on that, but definitely we need to get that push right off the bat and then be able to get some quick steals and get up the court."
Newton finished with 19 points for Waubonsie, while Garcia had 17 points, nine rebounds and four steals and Maya Cobb had eight points and six rebounds.
Valek, Merritt and Maggie Lewandowski all scored eight points for Oswego East.