Two years ago, the Pekin girls basketball team crushed a young Normal West squad 57-32 at Hawkins Gym.
The Wildcats started a freshman and two sophomores that night. There were five freshmen and three sophomores on their roster.
There was a role reversal Tuesday night at Hawkins Gym. This time it was a more experienced Normal West team facing a Pekin squad that started two freshmen and was missing two of its key players with injuries.
The result? Normal West won the non-conference game 63-30.
"We're doing the exact same things we were doing two years ago, except our girls no longer have to think about and analyze them," said third-year Wildcats coach Corey Ostling. "They're doing things they've been taught and done hundreds of times, which gives them a lot of confidence."
Normal West improved to 4-2 with Tuesday's win, matching its victory total from two seasons ago. The Wildcats won 12 games last season.
It wasn't a good home opener for the Dragons (4-2). They committed 26 turnovers and shot only 23 percent from the field (9-for-39).
"Normal West took their hits the last couple of seasons, and now their experience is paying off," said Pekin coach Becky Fulkerson. "We didn't make good decisions with the ball (Tuesday) and we were forcing shots because we were frustrated. But our girls can learn from that.
"We can fix what caused some of our turnovers. Some you have to give credit to Normal West's defense."
Normal West plays tough defense. The Wildcats are causing an average of 24 turnovers per game, so Tuesday's effort was an average night for them.
"Our defense dictates how our offense performs," Ostling said. "What's impressive is we're causing all these turnovers playing primarily a half-court defense."
Maddy Cash scored half of Pekin's points against Normal West. She had 15, including a trio of 3-pointers. Molly Flannigan had five points, all at the free throw line (5-for-6).
The Dragons were missing Natalie Johnson (knee surgery) and Jenna Taphorn (concussion).
Johnson was injured a few months ago playing club soccer and isn't expected to return until January. Fulkerson isn't sure when Taphorn, who was hurt Nov. 17 at the Macomb Thanksgiving Tournament, will be cleared to practice and play again.
All 10 Normal West players scored against Pekin, led by Ayanna Gibbs with a dozen points. Olivia Demosthenes had 11 and Tresoir Newson had nine. The Wildcats shot 57 percent from the field (27-for-47).
Pekin trailed only 12-8 late in the first quarter. Normal West went on a 17-point run from there that didn't end until Cash tossed in a triple with 1:00 left in the first half and made a free throw with 3.2 seconds to go.
Normal West's flurry included a stretch where four Pekin turnovers were converted into four uncontested fast-break baskets by Gibbs.
The Dragons had 12 turnovers and scored four points in the second quarter.
Normal West led 29-12 at halftime and 48-21 after three quarters.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.