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Waubonsie Valley's Jared Brownridge scans the Bartlett defense Thursday in Aurora. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Team defense did the trick.
Waubonsie Valley held Bartlett standout Lance Whitaker to four second-half points Thursday, got 32 points from its leader, Jared Brownridge, and was able to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 67-49 decision.
The Upstate Eight Valley Division win avenged a triple-overtime loss to the visiting Hawks earlier in the season. Waubonsie climbs to 15-7 overall and 5-4 in the league, while Bartlett falls to 17-6 and 6-2.
“He’s the most college-ready player we’ve played against. He’s really good,” Warriors coach Steve Weemer said of the 6-foot-4 Whitaker.
“Howard Moore at UIC is getting one heckuva player. He had 14 the first half and, of course, was our focal point at halftime. We said, ‘Let’s hold him to six points or less. Let’s guard him as a team because we can’t guard him alone.’ I thought we did a great job.”
Brownridge, who is headed to Santa Clara on scholarship, matched his Illinois Wolves AAU teammate with 14 points in the first half, but the Warriors were able to take a 33-23 lead at the break.
Center Bryan Jefferson opened the third quarter with a three-point play and another basket on a drive to boost the margin to 40-25, but Bartlett stormed back with an 11-0 run capped by a Jon Moss 3-pointer and two Whitaker free throws to cut the deficit to 40-36.
“We played well early and were up 19-14 but let them get a little bit of a run,” said Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith. “We knew Jared (Brownridge) was gonna get his points, but we didn’t do a very good job of defending what they were doing to get him to the basket, and they kept going back to him.”
Brownridge tied the career high he set earlier this season against Naperville Central.
“We remembered that three-overtime game so we wanted to come out with high energy,” said Brownridge. “We should be able to come out like that every game.”
Brownridge, who has scored 31 on three occasions in his career, made 13 of 16 shots from the floor, including three of five from beyond the 3-point arc.
“In the second half we wanted to hold them to a single-digit quarter and we had ’em there with that run in the third quarter to get it to 40-36, but then we stopped playing good defense and we gave them easy baskets on uncontested shots and they got it back out to 10 points to start the fourth quarter,” said Wolfsmith.
He credited Weemer’s move to a zone in the fourth quarter for keeping his team at bay.
“Good move,” said Wolfsmith. “We just didn’t play with tempo. At that point, you’ve gotta start gambling and you leave yourself open to easy shots. Plus we did a lot of standing around and wasted time attacking the zone and ended up running some clock for them. You can attack a zone like that quickly by taking it inside.”
Jefferson finished with 12 points for the Warriors, who shot a blistering 69 percent (24-for-35) from the floor. Jefferson and Javares Stewart had a game-high five rebounds each.
Moss and Marcus Aluquin added nine points each for the Hawks.