PONTIAC — Over the course of the last four decades West Aurora and Lockport have met in every conceivable boys basketball venue: from the Class AA state tournament in Champaign to a memorable supersectional at the All-State Arena six years ago.
But the two longtime nonconference rivals and traditional state powers have never had a game like their encounter on the opening day of the prestigious Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
The top-ranked Blackhawks annihilated Lockport in every conceivable fashion Thursday morning, crushing the Porters 69-22 to win their six straight game with ease.
“I certainly didn’t see it coming,” West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman said.
In the process of their total dismantling of the Porters, Josh McAuley continued to state his case as a major revelation this boys basketball season.
The 6-foot-7 senior post terrorized Lockport in the opening half.
McAuley blocked 7 shots during the first half, despite sitting out four minutes, as West Aurora limited Lockport to two 4-point first-half quarters.
With lead guard Jontrel Walker also continuing his sterling play with 13 of his game-high 21 points in the first half, West Aurora (8-1) held a team to single figures in first-half play for the second time this season with a 33-8 advantage at the half.
“Coach tells me that I’m a defensive player,” said McAuley, who also continued his impressive offensive play with 15 points in 17 minutes. “I just try to go after the ball. We take it game by game.”
“I tried to tell my kids that (McAuley) was a shot-blocker,” Lockport coach Larry Thompson said. “They didn’t listen to me. (McAuley) has an uncanny knack with timing.”
The Blackhawks’ historic mantra — withering man-to-man defense — was once again in full display.
Not only did West Aurora force more turnovers than points, 24-22, but Lockport could muster only 10-for-44 field goals (23 percent) in the morning contest.
After Walker and McAuley dominated the offensive play in the opening half with 22 combined points, the rest of the squad took over in the third quarter.
Chandler Thomas’ consecutive 3-point field goals launched another Blackhawk avalanche: West Aurora outscored Lockport 26-4 in the third quarter to take a hard-to-fathom 59-12 cushion after three quarters.
Yet another bright spot for West Aurora was the inspired play of sophomore Roland Griffin.
The forward hit 5 of 7 shots for a career-high 11 points.
“It was my best game,” Griffin said.
“I thought (Griffin) played extremely well today,” Kerkman said. “He is going to be a good player.”
Nine players scored in all for West Aurora, which outrebounded Lockport 44-28.
“You have to have patience when you’re overmatched (offensively), and we didn’t do that,” Thompson said.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.