VILLA PARK – It’s early in the conference season, but the Willowbrook girls have emerged as the favorite in the West Suburban Gold.
The Warriors picked up a crucial 60-54 win at Proviso East on Saturday and are now 3-0 in the league and 8-0 overall.
The latest victory was a 69-24 thrashing of Leyden on Tuesday with 12 different players scoring.
The Pirates were the only Gold team to win a regional last year and are expected to be stronger this season. Winning in Maywood was an early statement win for the Warriors.
“The Proviso win was a big win,” Willowbrook coach Terry Harrell said. “Proviso is rejuvenated this year. They’re back with a vengeance.”
East led 29-21 at halftime, but Willowbrook used a 24-point third quarter to take the lead for good. Olivia Domin had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Sam Schmidt had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
This is the same Proviso East team that beat Downers Grove South by 39 just four days earlier. Defending Gold champ Hinsdale South is off to a 2-0 start in the league, but without star guard Toni Romiti the Hornets may not have as much firepower this season.
“If we’re not the favorite, we’re one of the favorites,” Harrell said. “I could see us being a co-favorite with Proviso. We’ll see them again when they come here.”
Leading the way for the Warriors’ hot start has been senior guard Molly Krawczykowski.
The track star is a lockdown defender and, thanks to the rebounding of players like Schmidt inside, she can run out on breaks to get easy points.
Krawczykowski scored 12 points in the first quarter against Leyden, most of which came on easy transition layups.
“She can really run,” Harrell said. “If it looks like a clean rebound, you can leave if you’re on the perimeter. We were getting clean rebounds so she was leaving. She got out and got some early layups. We were able to get out on the break, so we broke down their defense.”
Krawczykowski has noticed the Warriors’ improvement on the defensive end, which has led to those fast break opportunities.
“We’ve been working a lot in practice on our defense and it seems to be working,” Krawczykowski said. “Just playing as a team. We’re getting a lot better at that, too, so that’s helping us play better together.”
The Warriors return to action Tuesday against Morton.
Willowbrook 60, Proviso East 54 Warrior leaders • Olivia Domin: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists • Sam Schmidt: 10 points, 11 rebounds • Molly Krawczykowski: 14 points, 3 assists
Willowbrook 69, Leyden 24 Warrior leaders • Krawczykowski: 13 points • Melissa Rader: 9 points • Michala Giammarrino: 8 points