There is a new emphasis on calling hand checks this season, and the girls basketball teams at Oswego East and Waubonsie Valley got a lesson in that in Monday’s season opener.
There were a combined 58 fouls called, 32 in the hour-long first half, and 78 total free throws attempted. But Oswego East was able to survive that, and the loss of junior guard Nia Flowers for the majority of the game due to foul trouble, to post a 65-57 win.
“I think that tonight, out of anything, we learned that our bench can keep us in the game,” Oswego East coach Abe Carretto said. “I think we weathered the storm with our bench. Nia had four fouls and came back and helped us finish the game. They have to adjust to the new rules. I think it’s going to be this way for a while, so get ready to bring your sleeping bags and pillows.”
Waubonsie Valley, coming off of a four-win season, stayed in the game early at the line, scoring 15 of its 27 first-half points at the stripe. A three-pointer from Janiece Thomas with 5:30 left in the third quarter gave the Warriors a 39-36 lead and they were back and forth with Oswego East until early in the fourth quarter.
“I told them that I’m not happy that we lost, by any means, but I saw a lot of good things,” Waubonsie coach Dave Owles said. “We played hard. That was fun for me. I said to their coach, that was a fun game. Their girls can play, too. I was really proud. I was really impressed with a lot of things I saw. I think that’s how we’re going to play.”
Oswego East’s Julianna Wadsworth had some key plays to help the Wolves extend the lead late to secure the win. She scored three straight baskets in the third to help the Wolves stick around. Then in the fourth, Wadsworth scored six more points to extend the lead to 54-49 and essentially put the Warriors away. She also had two key steals late in the game.
“To me, that’s what she should be doing, getting a lot of steals,” Carretto said. “Her scoring tonight can hopefully continue.”
Down the stretch, four-year varsity player Venita Parsons and Flowers, a transfer from Metea Valley, helped put the game away for the Wolves. Parsons led all scorers with 18 points. Wadsworth added 17 points and Flowers scored 10 in less than a quarter’s worth of action. Freshman center Sydney Schultz snagged 10 rebounds in the win.
Emma Rigby paced Waubonsie with 14 points. Kendall O’Sullivan added 11.