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Boys basketball: Winnebago too strong for Aurora Christian

Updated: February 27, 2013 11:23PM

When Aurora Christian tied Wednesday’s Class 2A Byron Sectional semifinal game against unbeaten Winnebago at 19-19 early in the second quarter, it looked like the Eagles were going to give the Indians a game.

As it turned out time and time again, Winnebago showed why it holds a 30-0 record.

The Indians responded with an 18-0 run after ACS tied it and went on to post a 69-51 victory. They will face Sterling Newman in Friday’s sectional title game. Aurora Christian’s season ends with a 19-12 record.

“The second quarter, that was the ballgame right there,” Eagles coach Pat McNamara said. “Our guys gave great effort. They played hard. They’re a good team. They’re 30-0 for a reason. Wish we could have given them a better game. We just didn’t come with our best game tonight.”

A three-pointer from Ryan McQuade and a driving layup from Ryan Suttle tied the game at 19-19 with 6:23 left in the second quarter. Over the next 5:58, however, it was all Winnebago. Two jumpers from Jacob Posley started the 18-0 spurt, while three-pointers from Dalton Menke and Ryan Swigart and a three-point play from Matt Reinke fueled the run.

All told, ACS turned the ball over 11 times in the second quarter and found itself down 37-21 at the half.

“When a team gets hot, it’s hard to stop them, especially a team like that,” McQuade said. “They’re just a great ballclub. When they get hot, it’s really hard to stop them, especially when they’re hitting threes. It’s very tough.”

McQuade’s hot shooting from the outside kept the Eagles within shouting distance in the second half. He scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the third quarter, helping the Eagles cut the lead to 48-39 with 2:30 left in the period on a fadeaway jumper.

“He played a great game,” McNamara said. “He gives what he’s got. He’s a smart player. Guys were looking for him when he got hot. He is a great leader for us. He’s a big-game player. It’s like the (regional final win over Immaculate Conception) last week, we went to him for the three-point shot and he drilled it. He gave a great effort this season.”

In less than 45 seconds, however, the Indians pushed the lead back out to 53-39 and never looked back. A three-pointer from Taylor Shumate, a steal of the inbounds pass by Derek Polkowski and a layup from Posley immediately put Winnebago back in control.

“As I started hitting, we got it down to nine in the second half,” McQuade said. “Obviously they pulled away again, but we gave it everything we had, and that’s all we can ask for.”

Posley led Winnebago with 19 points, while Polkowski and Reinke each scored 12 points. Johnathan Harrell scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Aurora Christian.

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