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Boys basketball: Aurora Central falters in fourth quarter

PeoriCentral's Eriq Baird (24) shoots ball over AurorCentral's Mike O'Donnell. | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media

Peoria Central's Eriq Baird (24) shoots the ball over Aurora Central's Mike O'Donnell. | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media

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East Aurora Holiday Tournament

Wednesday’s results

Neuqua Valley 56,
Geneva 43

Peoria Central 67,
Aurora Central 50

Pleasure Ridge Park (Ky.) 96, Oswego East 59

East Aurora 73,
Belvidere North 56

Today’s games

Geneva vs.
Peoria Central, 3 p.m.

Aurora Central vs. Neuqua Valley, 4:30 p.m.

Belvidere North vs.
Pleasure Ridge Park (Ky.), 6:15 p.m.

East Aurora vs.
Oswego East, 7:45 p.m.

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Updated: January 28, 2013 3:56PM

For three quarters, it looked like Aurora Central Catholic was poised to knock off defending Class 3A state champion Peoria Central in the first round of the 47th annual East Aurora Holiday Tournament.

Unfortunately for the Chargers, they ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.

ACC was only down two going into the final period, but Peoria outscored the Chargers 18-3 in the fourth to pull away for a 67-50 win.

“It just got away from us quick,” ACC coach Nate Drye said. “I thought we played well for three quarters. But we had some turnovers and missed some buckets and dropped some balls in the fourth quarter that were kind of the difference.

“We can’t give them anything. They’re the state champs for a reason. We were never able to get it back once we opened the door for them. They flew threw and we never got it back.”

Peoria (2-6) used a 12-0 run to open a 15-4 lead at the outset, punctuated by an Eriq Baird putback dunk. But ACC (6-4) got right back into it with a pair of Sean Harreld three-pointers and a lay-in from Phil Schuetz, and the game remained nip and tuck through three quarters.

ACC held the lead twice in the third quarter — 39-38 on a Sean Anger layup and 41-40 on a Zach Flint layup — but once the game reached the fourth quarter, it was all Lions.

A 12-0 run keyed by six points from hulking senior Josh Augusta pushed Peoria’s lead to 61-47. Harreld drilled a three-pointer to stop that run, the only points the Chargers would score in the period. The Lions ended the game on a 6-0 run to put it away.

“We were just playing hard and playing fast,” Schuetz said of the first three quarters. “We were making our shots the first three quarters. In the fourth, we just cooled off (1-of-8 from the field as a team). When you can’t make anything, you start to see the score spreading out.”

Schuetz led the way for ACC with 16 points. Flint added 10. Augusta paced the Lions with 18 points, with Baird (15), Myles Boone (12) and Eric Johnson (10) also reaching double figures.

It gets no easier for the Chargers in the second round. They face 11-0 Neuqua Valley at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Neuqua beat Geneva 56-43 on Wednesday.

“The way they guard, I’ll be happy if we get in double digits tomorrow,” Drye joked about Neuqua’s defense. “They really guard. Anytime we don’t have to go against their defense will be a major victory for us. If we can get anything in transition tomorrow, that would be a huge benefit to us.”

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