Angela Bruno and Willowbrook always wanted to be part of the main event at the McDonald's Shootout.
People might not realize it, but the Warriors proved they belonged Monday.
The 14th-ranked Warriors rolled out to a 19-point halftime lead and coasted to a 67-48 win over Plainfield North at the 23rd McDonald's Shootout in Villa Park.
Willowbrook (19-3), the host school, is usually relegated to Friday night less-than-primetime status. The girls relished a chance in the spotlight.
"We haven't played on Monday, ever. Last year we played on a Friday and played well, but, like, two people saw us," said Bruno, one of four senior starters. "This year we played well but tons more people saw us. It was nice to get that exposure."
The game was freewheeling and fast-paced, just the way Willowbrook likes it.
Anita Sterling had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Bruno 13 points and 6 assists and Olivia Domin 10 points for Willowbrook, which eclipsed 60 points for the 10th time this season and shot a blistering 48.3 percent. Willowbrook's ball movement was a thing of beauty, making for numerous open looks and layups. Colleen Krawczykowski, recently back from a stress fracture in her foot, also had 6 assists with 8 rebounds and Erma Udota 9 points.
"Our girls played really well," Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell said. "They were motivated. For some of those older girls, they were saying that they wanted their legacy to be that eventually we'd play later on Monday night."
Bruno spent most of her day dishing off to teammates, but her most memorable moment came on a half-court shot that she swished to put the Warriors up 17-8.
"That's a shot we goof around shooting in practice," Bruno said with a smile, adding, "I didn't think it was going in, though."
Willowbrook would end the first half on a 9-0 run, Bruno's follow shot making it 37-18 at the break.
Harrell is getting used to testifying on behalf of his senior point guard.
"She does it every night," Harrell said. "To all those coaches out there, she does it every night."
Plainfield North's Carlie Corrigan, who scored 43 points earlier in the year against Plainfield East, scored a game-high 25 points, but it wasn't nearly enough. The Tigers trailed by as many as 24 points.
"They're just a very well-rounded team. Everybody on the court can score," said Corrigan, a Southern Illinois commit, of Willowbrook. "We don't see a lot of teams like that. The pace was fine with us, but we didn't play well."
Plainfield North was without two of its players, including freshman starter Jordan Heberg.
"But that's no excuse," Tigers coach Reggie Lemon said. "We were not ready to play today."
Willowbrook continues a busy, and important, week,on Thursday at Hinsdale South. A win would all but clinch the school's first West Suburban Gold title since 2002.
It's also playoff seeding week, and Harrell thinks his group made a strong final argument. Happy with 19 wins, he wants more.
"I want to get greedy now," he said with a laugh. "We're 19-3. I would love to get a No. 1 (sectional) seed, but we probably won't get it because Wheaton (Warrenville South) looked really, really good Saturday. Maybe we'll be a No. 2."
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