Waubonsie Valley routs DeKalb

Waubonsie Valley's girls basketball team improved to 8-2 overall and 2-1 in the DuPage Valley with a 79-39 win at DeKalb on Thursday.

The Warriors took a 27-10 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.

Senior Taylor Curry led Waubonsie Valley with 30 points, Khaliah Reid scored 18 and Danyella Mporokoso 17.

Triumphant returns

Returning St. Francis starters junior Dolly Smith and senior Katherine Lilly continue making big contributions and inspiring others. Without Lilly Dec. 5, younger Spartans excelled for an important 43-32 Metro Suburban Blue victory over Timothy Christian.

"(They) really pulled their weight and rose to the challenge," Smith said. "(Lilly and I are) just always bringing the energy and encouraging them to take their shots. Even if they miss a couple, it's OK."

Several stats for Lilly (6.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Smith (5.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) mirror last season. Point guard Smith's team bests are one more steal (2.7) and 1.5 more assists (3.5) per game.

"Dolly is our floor general," St. Francis coach Jeff Gerdeman said. "She's one of our most intense defensively, lots of steals and deflections. Offensively, she's the one distributing the ball."

"I think I'm a facilitator for trying to get teammates open a lot. Our defense really helps that because it kind of centers around steals, transitions," Smith said. "I've been trying to (score) more but it's been a little hard."

Junior Natalie Doyle (4.8 rpg) returns from an ACL injury for the Spartans (8-3, 3-0). Sophomores Riley Austin (team-high 12.5 ppg) and Tea Rubino (team-high 17 threes) are new starters.

"The crowds are much bigger, the hype and energy much stronger (on varsity). It's a really fun experience overall," Austin said. "I've improved driving to the basket a lot from last year. I think I've gotten more aggressive, at least trying to be."

Playing in tune

Wheaton Warrenville South junior Hannah Struebing continues juggling her third varsity season with first alto for the mixed show choir, even though their competitive seasons overlap.

"(WW South coach Rob Kroehnke and choir director Chris Miller) are just the best. I wouldn't be able to do it if they weren't letting me skip some practices back and forth," Struebing said. "It's stressful, but it's really worth it. I get to connect with so many people."

Struebing helps to conduct the Tigers' young lineup that also starts sophomores Emily Troia and Brooke Ittersagen and freshmen Marley Carbonaro and Abby Keighron. Seniors Jojo Hughes and Ella Crawford also are regulars.

"I love being a leader and setting the ways for the younger girls," Struebing said. "My freshman (varsity) year was obviously a little bit different with the COVID protocols. I know it's going to be even crazier for them with an audience. Obviously, I'm there for them and to calm them down. That's my No. 1 goal."

Struebing hopes the Tigers' second win, 59-48 over Metea Valley Dec. 3, will instill confidence.

"They're coming along," Kroehnke said. "It's a lot of the little things we just have to keep improving on and just to be consistent with what we're doing."

- Bill Stone, Shaw Local

York on a roll:

Already known for defense, York junior Stella Kohl unveiled another strength in the Dukes' season opener.

"I took it to the basket a lot more so I was trying to kind of set a standard for myself," Kohl said.

Four returning starters - seniors Mariann Blass and Lizzie Baldridge, junior Hannah Meyers and Kohl - have the Dukes (9-1) off to a 4-0 start in the West Suburban Conference Silver that shares first with Lyons Township (10-1). They meet Friday in Elmhurst.

Quincy University recruit Blass has improved from 14 to a team-best 19 points per game. Kohl (11 ppg), improved by about four points, and Baldridge also average double figures.

"I'm very fortunate to have a lot of great coaches. And definitely the experience (helps), especially taking a lot of extra reps at practice. My teammates also have been so supportive," Blass said. "I believe when I'm in a good mentality and my shots are going in (that helps me). It's something I've worked on a lot. I've also wanted to improve my finishing and to score well at all three levels (of shots)."

Kohl believes that soccer enhances her defense and team-leading rebounding skills.

"It helps my vision on the court and passing and playing in triangles," said Kohl, who plays club for Sockers FC.

"She's like our rock," York coach Brandon Collings said. "She's shooting the ball better and better but defensively she just locks people up."

Waubonsie Valley's Taylor Curry blocks a shot by DeKalb's Cayla Evans Thursday in DeKalb. Mark Busch/
DeKalb's Kailey Porter drives between two Waubonsie Valley defenders during their game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at DeKalb High School. Mark Busch/
Waubonsie Valley's Khaliah Reid pushes the ball ahead of DeKalb's Ella Medina during their game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at DeKalb High School. Mark Busch/
Waubonsie Valley's Danyella Mporokoso throws a pass over DeKalb's Ari Smith Thursday night. Mark Busch/
Waubonsie Valley's Taylor Curry grabs a rebound between two DeKalb defenders during their game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at DeKalb High School. Mark Busch/
Waubonsie Valley's Taylor Curry shoots over DeKalb's Ella Medina during their game Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at DeKalb High School. Mark Busch/
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