Boys Basketball: West Aurora falls to Proviso East in supersectional
By Rick Armstrong email@example.com March 12, 2013 10:10PM
West Aurora's Spencer Thomas fights for possession during Tuesday's sectional game against Proviso East. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Class 4A State Finals
Proviso East vs.
Simeon, 6:30 p.m.
Edwardsville, 8:15 p.m.
Third place, 6:30 p.m.
Championship, 8:15 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:39AM
Medical professionals advise using pressure to stop the bleeding, but that wasn’t an answer Tuesday for the West Aurora basketball team against Proviso East. In fact, it was the problem.
The Blackhawks withstood the Pirates’ high-pressure defense in the first half but had no answer in the third quarter of Tuesday’s 62-52 loss in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central Supersectional.
That period featured a 22-2 run by the winners, who advance to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. state semifinal in Peoria against three-time defending champ Simeon.
“Speed kills, even in basketball,” said Blackhawks coach Gordie Kerkman, whose team closes 24-7. “I think they turned it up a notch in the second half and we sort of got out of our game plan.”
That plan was to throw five passes and force the Pirates to play defense, but time and again, even when they broke the pressure and crossed the timeline, the Blackhawks seemed to pick up speed like they were running downhill and forced their attack.
“I think we got caught up in their game,” admitted West center Josh McAuley, who led his team with 22 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Team scoring leader Jontrel Walker, who averages 17.8 points per game, was held without a point until the 7:03 mark of the fourth quarter and finished with just six.
“I’ve said it all along, Paris Lee is the best on-ball defender in the state and I think he’s the best point guard in the state,” said Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce.
Proviso East got a three-pointer from Jevon Carter to close the first half and pull within 24-23 after West had led by as many as seven (16-9) in the first quarter. It featured West’s unsung Spencer Thomas outscoring Proviso East’s Southern Methodist recruit Sterling Brown 9-2.
“I was surprised at that myself,” Thomas said. “I just took it upon myself to hit the board hard and shoot when I was open.”
What happened at the break?
“Coach Donnie chewed us out,” said Lee.
“I told them if we want to continue to play we’ve got to pick up our intensity,” Boyce said. “In the first half we didn’t match their intensity. The seniors decided they wanted to keep playing.”
Jayquan Lee opened the third quarter with a three-pointer for the Blackhawks but then the Pirates went on that run, sparked by a pair of steals from senior Braden Jenkins.
A McAuley dunk off the press break closed the third quarter but West still trailed 45-31 entering the final eight minutes.
Proviso East managed just 7 of 18 from the free-throw line and the Blackhawks actually cut the deficit to five (57-52) in the final minute, but there was no denying Boyce’s club its 19th straight win.
The Pirates are 29-3 overall and get a rematch with Simeon, which beat them by two points in last year’s title game.
Paris Lee led the winners with 18 points and Brown added 14.