So much has happened in the world in the past year that it’s almost hard to believe that Waubonsie Valley’s basketball team is still pretty raw about last season’s heartbreaking loss to Neuqua Valley.
But the proof was on the court Friday in Naperville. The visiting Warriors routed the No. 25 Wildcats 70-28. There was a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“That was the fire that pushed us,” Waubonsie Valley senior Ben Schwieger said. “We are still mad about that buzzer-beater last year.”
There was another thing on the Warriors’ minds. Neuqua Valley senior John Poulakidas entered the game only five points away from breaking the school scoring record. It seemed a given that the Yale recruit would break the mark Friday.
It didn’t happen. Poulakidas was held scoreless.
“No matter who it is, if they have a scoring record that they are beating or not, I am always trying to hold my guy to the lowest points possible,” Schwieger said. “He’s a great player, and he’s going to get it soon, so it’s not a big deal.”
Waubonsie Valley (4-2, 2-1 DuPage Valley) was dominant from the start. The Warriors led 40-11 at halftime after making eight of 12 three-pointers and outrebounding Neuqua Valley 21-8.
“We just executed the offense a little bit better,” Schwieger said. “So we got more open looks and hit the shots.”
Schwieger, a Loyola recruit, had seven points and seven rebounds. Seniors Isaiah Smith and Carter Langendorf each scored 13.
“This is an offense that is really fun,” Warriors coach Jason Mead said. “We have five guys that can score, and today we had seven or eight guys that could score. But they definitely remembered what happened against Neuqua last year, and they were extra-motivated. We blew a 14-point lead on Tuesday, and we had a game last week where we blew a 10-point lead. I think they are starting to get ticked off.”
Sophomore Mark Mennecke led Neuqua Valley (4-2, 1-2) with eight points and five rebounds. It’s the first loss of the season for the Wildcats with Poulakidas playing.