Cold shooting gave way to heated defensive play and launched Waubonsie Valley into Saturday’s semifinals of York’s Jack Tosh Holiday Classic. The Warriors (10-4) trailed 20-19 at halftime but held Lane Tech to eight second-half points en route to a 47-28 victory.
“Our shots weren’t falling in the first half and we let that affect our defense. We were getting lazy on ‘D’,” Waubonsie junior Jack Cordes said. “In the second half we picked it up and let our defense propel us offensively.”
Lane Tech got 10 first-half points from junior Admir Sujic, who finished with 14, as the Indians earned a 15-10 scoring edge on the Warriors in the second quarter.
“We were a little sluggish to start the game and let our offense dictate our defense, and that has to be the other way around,” Waubonsie coach Steve Weemer said. “That’s what I told them at halftime.”
Waubonsie went on a 12-0 offensive run in the third quarter, and getting after it defensively in holding the Indians to three points in the quarter.
Offensively, there was a Jared Brownridge layup in transition followed by a Bryan Jefferson put-back. Next came a Jefferson three-point play on a Brownridge assist, a three-pointer from Brownridge, and finally a steal by Nick Karkazis and a feed to Jefferson for a dunk that put Waubonsie up 31-21.
The Warriors never looked back from there, as Weemer’s 10-to-12-man rotation won the day.
“We’re a deep team,” Cordes said. “We don’t rely only on our starting five and we all trust each other.”
Weemer applauded the all-around efforts given by Cordes (eight points) and Dylan Warden, while Brownridge and Jefferson put in solid performances.
Brownridge had 18 points and 10 rebounds while Jefferson finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Friday’s win also marked Waubonsie’s fourth consecutive victory and its third in tournament play.
“We weathered the storm and had a really good second half,” Weemer said. “Karkazis did a great job and we need different guys like that to step up. Everyone is settling into their roles and doing what’s needed for the team to be successful.”
The Warriors will take on host York in Saturday’s semifinals, with the winner moving on to the title game Saturday night vs. the winner between Conant and Riverside-Brookfield.
York beat Waubonsie Valley 67-49 on Nov. 24.
“We didn’t play well in that game and I think our guys are looking forward to playing them again,” Weemer said. “But they’re a very good team and we’ll have to play really well to beat them on their home court.”