VILLA PARK – The Willowbrook girls basketball team has raced out to a 10-0 start, but that undefeated record will be tested before the end of the year.
The Warriors extended their season-opening winning streak with a 63-37 win over Morton on Tuesday.
Next up is a non-conference game against Sycamore tonight before the Warriors head to the Bill Neibch Holiday Classic at Wheaton North. The holiday tournament should provide multiple games against quality opposition, something the Warriors haven’t seen a lot of outside of games against St. Joseph and Proviso East.
“We have a pretty tough Christmas season,” coach Terry Harrell said. “My personal goal is to try to get to the final of the Christmas tournament.
“I’m looking forward to that. Let’s see how we respond to that [competition] and how our bench responds to that because our bench hasn’t had a lot of pressure.”
Eight of Willowbrook’s 10 wins so far have been by 20 points or more, so the bench has seen plenty of playing time. Against Morton, 10 different players scored and just one player reached double figures.
That one player, junior Sam Schmidt, scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The forward is a softball player who has committed to Northern Illinois. Schmidt and fellow softball star Alyssa Ressinger have been key players inside as rebounders on a guard-heavy team. As soon as Willowbrook grabs a rebound, players like Molly Krawczykowski and Olivia Domin are quick to look for a transition basket.
“We’re not really a big team so we run a lot,” Schmidt said. “We all like each other. It’s a fun team to play with. We like playing together.”
Harrell complimented the play of Ressinger and sophomore guard Danielle Velasquez off the bench.
“Velasquez has been really good coming off the bench,” Harrell said. “She gives us a change of pace because typically we have pretty good size guards. Dani is a smaller guard, she gets up under people. She gets pushed around a lot. She’ll learn not to get in those positions as she gets older, but she’s a good guard. She’s really good for us for a sophomore. We haven’t had a sophomore in a while.”