Waubonsie Valley’s pressure gets to Schaumburg in Neibch title game

Capturing tournament titles is becoming a common theme this season for Waubonsie Valley’s girls basketball team.

A little more than a month after the Warriors cruised to the War-Hawk Thanksgiving Tournament crown, they doubled their pleasure by winning the Bill Neibch Holiday Tournament title Friday night with a convincing 69-44 triumph over Schaumburg in the championship game at Wheaton North.

Sophomore guard Danyella Mporokoso, who earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award, led the Warriors (17-1) with a game-high 21 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals, while all-tournament senior forward Hannah Laub added 19 points.

“We watched film, and we knew some things were giving them (the Saxons) a little trouble,” said Waubonsie coach Brett Love. “We came out with our original game plan – man-to-man (defense) with full court pressure, and then saw some opportunities to go to a zone press.

“Watching their game against Hersey’s 1-2-2 zone press, they turned the ball over four straight times, so we thought that would give us a chance.”

Leading 10-6 after 1 quarter, the Warriors scored 13 unanswered points in the first 4 ½ minutes of the second quarter to build a 23-6 advantage.

“We love to play fast,” said Laub, whose team forced 8 second-quarter turnovers during its 27-7 surge. “They play five or six girls, so we kind of knew we had to run them out of the gym.”

Laub played an instrumental role, scoring 11 of her 17 first-half points in the second quarter.

She drew an early foul on a Euro-step move to the basket, drained a step-back 3-pointer, made a cross-court pass to set up Lily Newton’s 3-pointer, blocked a shot at the defensive end, and deflected an inbounds pass that led to a steal.

“The girls came out ready to play,” said Love, whose team has won 12 consecutive games. “They were focused and brought the energy. They just took care of business.”

Mporokoso took over in the second half, scoring 13 third-quarter points as the Warriors extended their lead to as many as 29 points on a couple occasions. She also finished with a team-high 11 rebounds.

Waubonsie led 56-28 after 3 quarters.

“We put a lot of work into our shooting,” said Mporokoso, whose team connected on 13 of 32 shots from beyond the arc and outscored the Saxons by 27 points from long range.

Sophomore guard Maya Cobb came off the bench to score 13 points, while Maya Pereda and Arianna Garcia chipped in with 7 and 5 points, respectively.

Newton joined Mporokoso and Laub on the all-tournament team.

“We haven’t won this tournament since 2011, so it has been a while,” said Love. “Now, we want to continue to find ways to challenge ourselves.”

All-tournament team selections Madi Dolecki and Symone Harrell finished with 16 and 7 points, respectively, for the Saxons (15-3) while Harrell grabbed 14 rebounds.

Jadaya Branch added 11 points for Schaumburg, which had its 7-game winning streak snapped.

In the third-place game, Kaitlyn Parker scored 13 points as Downers Grove North (15-3) edged Glenbrook South, 40-37.

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