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Waubonsie Valley's Gary Sutton drives to the basket while being defended by South Elgin's Jacob Hicks on Thursday in Aurora. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Waubonsie Valley boys basketball coach Steve Weemer wasn’t happy with the way his team came out in its last game, the Palatine tournament final against York, which resulted in the Warriors’ lone loss so far this season.
The emphasis on coming out of the gates stronger came through loud and clear to his team.
The Warriors scored the first 14 points of the game in the Upstate Eight Valley opener against South Elgin on Thursday, and they never looked back, cruising to a 63-41 win.
“Good start,” Weemer said. “That was a concern of ours. At the championship against York at Palatine, we didn’t come out hard and aggressive and play our style. We really had a concerted effort in practice this week to get off to a good start, and I thought our guys responded pretty well.”
South Elgin (2-3, 0-1) didn’t score until the 3:13 mark of the first quarter on a Darius Wells jumper. By that time, the Warriors (4-1, 1-0) were up 14-0. Four points each from Jared Brownridge and Bryan Jefferson and a three-pointer from Gary Sutton helped fuel the hot start.
“We started hard on defensive pressure,” Jefferson said. “We’re long enough and fast enough to get transition points, so that’s where our focus was today. We stopped that weave that they like to slow the game down with. Once we got together on defense, it gave us a good start on offense.”
Waubonsie pushed the lead to 43-23 early in the third quarter on a Jefferson layup. The Warriors led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Unlike the way it appeared at times last season, it wasn’t just the Jared Brownridge Show on Thursday. Brownridge struggled with his shooting, scoring only 12 points. But Jefferson fought through foul trouble to lead the team with 15 points and Matt Gialamis scored 10 off the bench as the Warriors put together a solid collective effort in the win, with 10 players getting significant minutes.
“I think we were a little tentative early on and we weren’t quite sure of our roles,” Weemer said of the team’s play at Palatine. “We can’t be a one-man show. We kind of did that last year, to be quite honest. Our other guys are doing a good job of stepping up, because Jared’s going to draw a lot of attention. We have to understand that.”
South Elgin is a lot younger squad than the experienced Warriors, but the Storm did manage to get three players in double figures in the loss. Junior Robert Grant led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds. Wells scored 11 while freshman Matt Smith posted 10 points.
WAUBONSIE VALLEY 63, SOUTH ELGIN 41
South Elgin (2-3, 0-1)
Smith 3 4-4 10; McClure 0 0-0 0; Wells 4 2-2 11; Winsel 1 0-0 2; Grant 7 0-6 14; Hicks 0 0-0 0; Gibaldio 0 0-0 0; Cager 2 0-0 4; Padron 0 0-0 0; Hatchett 0 0-0 0. Total: 17 6-12 41.
Waubonsie Valley (4-1, 1-0)
Sutton 3 0-0 7; Cordes 1 2-6 4; Brownridge 5 2-2 12; Warden 3 0-0 6; Jefferson 7 1-2 15; Robinson 0 0-0 0; Karkazis 1 0-0 2; Gialamis 5 0-0 10; Stewart 1 0-3 2; DeHaan 1 0-0 3; Cepeda 0 0-0 0; Medrano 1 0-0 2. Total: 28 5-13 63.
SE 13 8 10 10 - 41
WV 23 15 13 12 - 63
Three-point field goals: South Elgin 1 (Wells). Waubonsie 2 (DeHaan, Sutton). Fouled out: None.