It’s easy to imagine the pride and satisfaction that Waubonsie Valley senior Eric Cannon must have felt on Saturday when the fans rushed the court to celebrate the Warriors’ 67-61 win against Oswego East.
Cannon, a varsity player since his freshman year, has worked hard for that moment and at times it must have felt extremely unlikely.
“My freshman year we won five games, my sophomore year it was eight games, last year 13,” Cannon said. “We are coming close to totaling that in one season alone. It has definitely been a big jump and I’m just enjoying the ride. This is a great group of guys and just a fun experience.”
Cannon scored 19 points. He made three three-pointers in the third quarter to help the Warriors (22-3) build a ten-point lead.
“I’m super proud of Eric,” Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead said. “He was through all the lean times. He stuck with it. He didn’t think about transferring. He fought through it and is a really good leader for us.”
Cannon guarded Oswego East point guard Demari Grant, an assignment he probably wouldn’t have received two years ago.
“[Cannon] has gone from someone I have tried to hide on defense to someone I don’t have to hide anymore,” Mead said. “That’s a big win for him in terms of development and being a tough kid.”
Junior Marcus Skeete also scored 19, including a crucial eight points in the fourth quarter when Oswego East star RayJ Dennis was trying to lead his team back into the game.
“We’ve had games early in the season that helped us,” Skeete said. “We’ve lost by 22 this season. But each game we lost helped build our mentality.”
Dennis finished with 26 points, he scored 14 in the fourth quarter.
“RayJ can really, really score,” Mead said. “He had 26 and a couple were deep threes with a 6-5 guy in his face.”
Sam Schultz scored 14 for the Wolves (19-7) and Grant finished with 11 points.
“We have a pretty nice record but it was good for us to get a win against a team that is pretty highly looked upon in the media,” Cannon said. “They are a really talented team, it was nice to see that we were able to handle that situation, being [on television] and things like that.”
The Warriors were patient on offense throughout the game, regularly waiting to get a good shot.
“That is who we are, it is what the coaches preach,” Skeete said. “We had patience, we didn’t rush things on offense and we played really good defense on a really good team.”
Nikhil Khanna added 14 points for Waubonsie Valley and Derrien Porter scored nine and grabbed eight rebounds while guarding Dennis.
The playoff seeding process begins this week. Bolingbrook, West Aurora, Waubonsie Valley and Oswego East were all in the mix for the top few seeds, so this major win came just in time for the Warriors. All of those other teams were highly-regarded in the preseason. Waubonsie Valley has crashed the party.
“This game has been circled all season,” Skeete said. “We prepared really hard and to see this outcome is really cool. We haven’t seen [fans rush the court after a win] in about ten years. This has been a fun season and we just want to keep building on it.”
The final minute of Oswego East at Waubonsie Valley https://t.co/mg44gJX8Ot
— Michael O'Brien (@michaelsobrien) February 10, 2019