WHITING | Bishop Noll coach Vanita Gary told her team to stick to its game plan Saturday night.
The Warriors were not to think about last year's epic battles against Whiting, including a sectional final loss. They weren't supposed to think about finishing conference play undefeated. Bishop Noll needed to focus on this one game.
And they did, winning 45-24 in Greater South Shore Conference play.
The Warriors (13-2, 8-0) jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first quarter, slept through the second, then ran away in the second half for a victory over the host Oilers (10-5, 4-1).
"We're trying to shift our focus away from this being a game against Whiting and take it game by game," Gary said. "We want them to perfect this game plan. We're making steps in the right direction."
Bishop Noll's guards used their quickness to force three straight steals and score nine straight points in the first quarter.
"They have young guards but they are experienced and seasoned," said Whiting coach Kevin Moynihan. "We have young guards with no experience yet. These freshmen and sophomores haven't faced this kind of pressure yet."
The Oilers are struggling without senior guard Bri Blackwell, who has missed the past few games with a strained tendon on her foot. She is expected to practice on Monday.
Without Blackwell, the offensive pressure has fallen on senior guard Citlali Lopez. The Warriors held Lopez scoreless in the first half. She finished with five points.
"When she moves off the ball and gets the ball back, she can create offensively," Moynihan said. "It was difficult to do that tonight."
Lopez hit a 3-pointer and runner in the lane in the third quarter to help energize the Oilers, but Bishop Noll had already built a double-digit lead.
The Warriors finished GSSC play undefeated at 8-0 going into next week's conference tourney.
Tori Keilman led the Warriors with 17 points.
"Tori steps up to fill any need we have," Gary said. "I'm not surprised when we were struggling offensively that she filled the void."
Brittany Anderson added eight rebounds and four points for Bishop Noll before leaving the game in the third quarter after hitting her head on the floor.
"(Mercedes Trimble) got a lot of good touches in the post and Brittany's assignment was to keep the ball out of her hands," Gary said. "She was able to do that."
Trimble led the Oilers with 10 points while Alex Danieledes added eight rebounds.