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Boys Basketball: West Aurora blasts past Tilden

Jontrell Walker (left) West Aurordrives basket while guarded by Michael Winfield (22) Tilden. | JCunningham~For Sun-Times Media

Jontrell Walker (left) of West Aurora drives to the basket while guarded by Michael Winfield (22) of Tilden. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 12, 2012 10:41PM

After a sluggish first half, West Aurora broke out the good hands team Wednesday and broke open a close game.

Visiting Tilden turned the ball over 11 times in the third quarter, six on Blackhawk steals, and was outscored 23-2 on the way to a 72-31 defeat in the opening round of the Rock Island Tournament.

Both teams will continue the tourney at Rock Island on Friday.

“It wasn’t that we didn’t play hard in the first half, it was that we weren’t playing smart,” said West coach Gordie Kerkman.

“Defensively, we were allowing too much penetration (early). And offensively, we’d start our offense but didn’t stay in it. We had open threes and settled for too many of them and weren’t shooting them that well.”

Junior guard Jontrel Walker, who is expected to lead the Blackhawks on offense this season, came out of the gate slow. He made just 2 of 10 first-half shots but warmed up with 10 of his game-high 17 points in the third quarter.

“First game jitters, I guess,” said Walker. “After that, I couldn’t get it going.”

Still, West held a 31-24 advantage at the break, then turned up the pressure in their man-to-man defense.

“Our guys were just not running the offense,” said Tilden coach Cyrus McGinnis. “And (West Aurora) played very well. We’re a 2A team but that’s no excuse. We’ve got to run our offense.”

The Blackhawks were without starting 6-7 center Josh McAuley, who had to sit out because he had been ejected from the team’s last game last season at the Hinsdale Supersectional.

West still claimed a 32-24 advantage on the boards with Chandler Thomas pulling down six and Spencer Thomas and Matt Williams five each.

Williams came off the bench and scored 11 points, Jayquan Lee added nine, Spencer Thomas eight and sophomore Roland Griffin seven, all in the first half.

Matt Dunn, a 5-8 sophomore, sparked the Blackhawks with three steals in the third quarter.

“He’s a tough player. People don’t think of him that way because he’s not very big, but he does everything, plays defense,” said Kerkman. “He’d be a starter on a lot of the teams we’ve had. It seemed like he was very disruptive.”

Korey Myers led the Blue Devils with eight points and Carl Jackson added seven, but the visitors managed just three field goals in the second half. Tilden had a total of 23 turnovers in the game, while the Blackhawks had seven.

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