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Boys Basketball: West Aurora advances to Pontiac tourney semifinals

West Aurora's Spencer Thomas scores from underneath against  St. Charles North's Kyle Swansduring play Pontiac tournament last December. The

West Aurora's Spencer Thomas scores from underneath against St. Charles North's Kyle Swanson during play at the Pontiac tournament last December. The teams could meet in the future with West poised to rejoin the Upstate Eight Conference as early as 2014-

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Updated: December 28, 2012 5:17PM

PONTIAC — Spencer Thomas did his job on Friday, and that made everything a lot easier for the rest of West Aurora, as the Blackhawks rolled to a 76-52 win over St. Charles North in the quarterfinals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Thomas guarded St. Charles North star Quinten Payne, holding him to 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting.

“Spencer is a very tough defender,” West Aurora coach Gordon Kerkman said. Thomas generally guards the opponent’s top player.

No other player on the North Stars reached double figures in scoring, a stark contrast to the Blackhawks, who moved the ball well with Jontrel Walker (18 points), Thomas (12 points) and Josh McAuley (12 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks) all finding the basket with regularity.

“Their defensive pressure got to us,” St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. “We just didn’t do enough to get [Payne] the ball.”

McAuley continued to be one of the tournament’s breakout players.

“He gets better all the time,” Kerkman said. “I don’t think he had this much confidence last year. I don’t think he’s shown all he can do. He’s a great passer and he can shoot it too.”

St. Charles North shot 20-for-56 from the floor and 7-for-25 from three-point range.

“We’re sharing the ball really well,” Walker said. “We were running the floor and moving the ball.”

West Aurora will face Warren in the semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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