A second-half surge helped the Willowbrook girls basketball team to a 64-49 senior night victory over Leyden on Thursday night in Villa Park. The Warriors, who honored their six seniors before the game, trailed the visiting Eagles 26-25 at halftime of the West Suburban Gold Conference battle. Willowbrook senior Alyssa Ressinger scored during the opening seconds of the second half to gain a 27-26 lead. The Warriors never gave up the lead after that basket. Willowbrook outscored Leyden 16-5 in the third quarter to build a 41-31 lead with eight minutes to play. The Warriors scored six straight points during the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 47-31. Willowbrook improved to 9-11 overall and 5-3 in conference play with Thursday’s win. The Warriors also completed a season sweep of Leyden. Willowbrook crushed the Eagles 58-24 in the first meeting of the season on Dec. 6 in Northlake. The Warriors held a 20-11 lead in the second quarter of Thursday’s rematch, but the Eagles unleashed a 15-5 run at the end of the first half. Ressinger and senior Sydney Planz each scored six points during the third quarter. Ressinger made three baskets, while Planz drained a pair of 3-point shots. Her first 3-pointer gave the Warriors a 34-28 lead midway through the period. Her next successful shot from 3-point land pushed the lead to 39-31 with about one minute left in the quarter. The lead swelled to 47-31 following a flurry of three straight baskets at the start of the fourth quarter. Moments after Ressinger scored an inside basket, senior Cheyenne Brunig provided a steal and basket. Seconds later, another Leyden turnover led to a basket by Planz. A 3-point shot from Brunig gave Willowbrook a 50-33 lead with less than seven minutes to play. Junior Josie Zabran scored a team-leading 15 points for the Warriors. Zabran, who scored eight points in the first half and seven more in the second, connected on all seven of her shots from the field. All of those attempts came from close range. Ressinger added 12 points, while Planz and Brunig provided 10 and nine points, respectively. Senior Sam Schmidt and junior Alyssa Spada each scored six points. Schmidt grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Willowbrook’s overall record dropped to 9-12 after Monday morning’s 68-45 loss to Providence Catholic at the McDonald’s Shootout, an annual event played on the Warriors’ home court. This year’s tournament included 18 games—nine apiece on Saturday and Monday.
The Rams couldn’t quite pull off a come-from-behind victory in last week’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference game against Metea Valley. The visiting Mustangs held a 23-13 lead over the Rams with less than six minutes to play in the third period. Glenbard East then scored 13 straight points to take a 26-23 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Mustangs responded with six straight points of their own on the way to a 31-28 victory on Jan. 13 in Lombard. Junior Brittany Paganucci, who scored 15 of the Rams’ 28 points, fueled the comeback with five points in the third period, including a 3-point that cut Metea Valley’s lead to 23-21 with less than one minute left in the quarter. Paganucci, who scored all seven of her team’s fourth-quarter points, gave the Rams a 24-23 lead by sinking a 3-point shot during the first minute of the final quarter. She completed Glenbard East’s 13-0 run by making a pair of free throws with about six minutes to play. Junior Ashley Brown began the Rams’ 13-0 rally by making a free throw. Junior Brasia Solid then made a steal and basket. Senior Allison Hansen added an offensive rebound and basket that dropped Metea Valley’s lead to 23-18. Paganucci closed out Glenbard East’s scoring by making two free throws that reduced the Mustangs’ lead to 29-28 with 1:12 remaining. Metea Valley made two free throws with about 30 seconds to play to close out the scoring. Paganucci attempted a 3-point shot in hopes of tying the game in the closing seconds, but the shot was off the mark. The loss dropped Glenbard East to 9-9 overall and 2-6 in the conference.
Warriors’ win streak continues; Broncos pick up their first win
Willowbrook’s boys basketball team won four straight games at Sterling High School’s inaugural Martin Luther King Holiday Tournament. The Warriors won two games on Saturday and picked up another two victories at the six-team event on Monday. The four wins in Sterling gave Willowbrook a six-game winning streak (the Warriors are 6-0 in January) and an overall season record of 12-6. The only one of the six tournament teams the Warriors did not face—Dixon—also went 4-0 in the event. Willowbrook opened the event with Saturday’s 64-49 victory over Sterling. Senior Chris Roycroft and sophomore Alonzo Verge scored 16 points apiece. Senior Jake Bruns contributed 10 points. Willowbrook’s second win on Saturday was a 55-52 triumph over Burlington Central. The Warriors rallied from a 31-24 halftime deficit to earn the victory. Verge provided 16 points, while Roycroft scored nine points. Bruns, junior Kevin Miller and senior Micah Williams each scored eight points. The Warriors’ third game of the tournament was Monday’s 57-49 victory over Kankakee. Bruns, Miller and Verge all scored 10 points, while senior Kyle Rushing added eight points. Verge poured in a season-high 45 points in the Warriors’ final game of the event in Sterling—Monday’s 71-62 win over Montini. Verge made 13 of 30 shots from the floor against the Broncos, who led Willowbrook 30-28 at halftime. Verge connected on eight of 15 attempts from 3-point range and made 11 of 17 free throws. Senior Mike Mooney scored 24 points for the Broncos in Monday’s game against Willowbrook, which marked the first boys basketball meeting between the two teams. Junior Kevin Brachmann added 12 points. The Broncos earned their first win of the season earlier on Monday, beating Sterling 49-46. Mooney scored 17 points for the Broncos, who outscored Sterling 18-8 in the fourth quarter. Senior Sam Thomas, who made eight of 10 free-throw attempts, added 15 points. Brachmann scored 12 points. The Broncos made 18 of 24 attempts from the foul line during the game. Montini began the tournament with Saturday’s 57-46 loss to Dixon. The Broncos’ second game on Saturday was a 52-24 loss to Kankakee.
The Rams won two of four games at Wheaton Warrenville South’s Martin Luther King tournament. Glenbard East lost two games on Saturday (to the host Tigers and to Plainfield South) before picking up wins over Schaumburg and Downers Grove South on Monday to square their overall season record at 10-10.