RURAL STREATOR — With so many postponements around the area due to Friday's wintry conditions, there was some surprise when Seneca and Woodland's Tri-County Conference meeting began right on schedule here at the Warriors Dome.
The surprises didn't end there.
While the Fighting Irish made multiple runs, the host Warriors led from a minute and a half in until the final buzzer, never trailing in a 47-33, upset victory.
"This was a nice homecoming after not being home for a long time (since a Dec. 20 game vs. Midland), and this is a big win for us," said Warriors coach Connor Kaminke. "We competed really well last Friday against Marquette, and we were just hoping for that same amount of intensity, same amount of focus, and we locked in and played really hard.
"We defended really well, and this is one of the biggest wins we've had in this program in a long time."
Woodland improves to 5-12 overall (3-2 TCC). Seneca — the third-seed in the upcoming Tri-County Conference Tournament compared to Woodland's No. 8 seed of the league's 10 teams — drops to 12-7 (2-3).
"I got outcoached today," Seneca coach Russ Witte said. "I credit Connor. He did a much better job, and I told the kids this one's on me. ... We just didn't do what we needed to do, and that's on us as coaches. ...
"(Woodland) played help-side defense, and they just played hard. This game's real simple, and we know first-hand: When you don't have as much skill as other players, and we're in that boat, you just have to play harder, and we did not play hard."
A lot of the credit for the Warriors' victory has to be given to a man-to-man defense which held Seneca to 23.2% shooting (13 of 56) from the field including 12.5% (3 of 24) from 3-point range and held the Fighting Irish to just one double-digit quarter in scoring, the third, with no double-digit scorers.
Some timely, tide-turning offense while shooting 41.4% (12 of 29) from the field, however, preserved the work that defense put in, turning back the Irish when they drew as close as four points (28-24) in the third quarter and two points (32-30) early in the fourth.
Trevor Derossett with 15 points, nine rebounds and three steals, Sean Bundy with 11 points and three assists, Phoenix Cooper with six points and four steals, and Brad Simpson with five points and as many rebounds provided a lot of those momentum-shifters.
But it was a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers out of the corner from senior center Christian Miller — those and his 3 to open the night's scoring accounting for all nine of his points — that proved to be the deal-breakers, coming with 5:09 and 2:33 to play, the latter pushing the Warriors' advantage back to double digits, 42-31.
"It's a big win," said Miller. "We haven't played a home game in almost a month, and having the crowd on our side — especially with the youth (cheer and dance) clinic tonight and the bigger crowd, it just means a lot having all those people here supporting us and Chase Pavlick, our bench leader, getting us going.
"That means a lot."
Cole Underhill (eight points), Tommy Cahill (six points before fouling out in a game during which Seneca committed 25 fouls), Trey Hauch (five points, six rebounds), T.J. VanNess (five points), Cody Carey (four steals), Chase Hauch (three points, eight rebounds) and Noah Quigley (two steals, three assists) led a Seneca team which played from behind all night.
"It becomes difficult to believe in the whole 'trust the process' if you're not seeing the results," Kaminke said. "I have to give a lot of credit to my guys for buying in and continuing to believe in what we do and that what we do is going to work."
Woodland is scheduled to travel to Chicago to face Route 17 rival Dwight in the United Center on Saturday, while Seneca is off until hosting Lowpoint-Washburn in another Tri-County contest next Friday.
At Warrior Dome, rural Streator
Woodland 47, Seneca 33
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
SENECA (33) — Krause 1-9 0-0 2, VanNess 1-4 2-2 5, T. Hauch 2-4 1-4 5, C. Hauch 1-4 1-2 3, Carey 0-8 0-0 0, Cahill 3-7 0-1 6, O'Boyle 1-4 0-0 2, Thorsen 0-0 0-0 0, Underhill 3-7 0-4 8, Quigley 1-8 0-0 2, Stiegler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-56 4-13 33.
WOODLAND (47) — Bundy 3-10 4-5 11, Derossett 4-7 7-14 15, Simpson 0-2 5-8 5, M. Ewing 0-1 1-2 1, Miller 3-4 0-0 9, Cooper 2-5 2-2 6, Stasko 0-0 0-0 0, Pitte 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-29 19-31 47.
Seneca (12-7, 2-3) 9 6 13 5 — 33
Woodland (5-12, 3-2) 12 11 9 15 — 47
3-point goals - Seneca 3-24 (Underhill 2-6, VanNess 1-2, Stiegler 0-1, O'Boyle 0-2, Krause 0-4, Quigley 0-4, Carey 0-5); Woodland 4-7 (Miller 3-4, Bundy 1-2, Cooper 0-1). Rebounds - Seneca 34 (C. Hauch 8, T. Hauch 6); Woodland 33 (Derossett 9, Simpson 5, Cooper 5). Assists - Seneca 8 (Thorsen 3, Quigley 3); Woodland 7 (Bundy 3). Steals - Seneca 9 (Carey 4); Woodland 9 (Cooper 4, Derossett 3). Turnovers - Seneca 15; Woodland 20. Total fouls (fouled out) - Seneca 25 (Cahill); Woodland 13.