CRETE | Asked how the south suburban basketball cognoscenti likely viewed Hillcrest's basketball program vs. her own before Saturday, Crete-Monee guard Alexia DeBose smiled.
"I think they thought it was a much higher level," she said. "They've been more successful in the past, they've accomplished more things than us."
And now that Times No. 3 Warriors knocked off Hillcrest 62-46 in the opener of Saturday's CrossTown Shootout.
"I think they have a whole new outlook on us," she said. "We've put in the work."
The Warriors (6-1) certainly did that in rallying from a 19-11 deficit early in the second quarter. They outscored the Hawks 36-8 over an 11-minute span of the second and third quarters, pushing to a 47-27 advantage at the 2:29 mark of the third.
DeBose led the charge, scoring 12 of her game-high 23 points over those two periods, then held the Hawks off with nine of her team's 14 points in the fourth. Lindzy Cox chipped in 13 points and Marsha Hampton 10, while DeSiree Jackson yanked down 14 rebounds for the Warriors.
Hillcrest (4-3) has been a state semifinalist three of the last four seasons and seven times a sectional champ over the last 18 seasons. Tanzania Sherill led them with 13 points. No other Hawk scored more than seven, a fact owing partly to their abysmal, 47-percent free-throw shooting (22-of-47).
But, the Warriors also harried Hillcrest into 19 turnovers and 26-percent shooting (11-42) from the field.
"We knew we could shake them up a little with our press," DeBose said. "One stop, one basket at a time, that's how we think."
To that end, the Warriors may be taking a page from Hillcrest's book.
"(Hillcrest coach) John Maniatis has a good grip on his girls," Crete coach Christina Cobbins said. "With this team, we're still young. We're starting two sophomores.
'We needed to come out with energy, to play with a sense of urgency on the defensive end and patience on offense.
"We were able to do that (Saturday)."
The Warriors did a nice job of keeping their composure over a ragged contest. While four Hawks starters fouled out and the team was whistled for two technical fouls, Crete lost one player to fouls. At the stripe, the Warriors drained 28-of-43 attempts (65 percent).
"With the new foul calls, you're going to go to the free-throw line," Cobbins said. "You need to make your free throws."