West Aurora blows out rival East in 216th meeting
The iconic gym at East Aurora, with its trademark dangling scoreboard at half-court and seats on all four sides, was packed to the rafters Saturday when West Aurora came for its biennial visit.
But it was all West Aurora as the Blackhawks built an early lead and extended over the last three-plus quarters to win the 216th edition of the classic boys basketball rivalry.
With its convincing 78-45 victory West Aurora holds the all-time advantage at 129-86.
The series is most notable for illuminating a spotlight on little-known players.
Matt Williams was the centerpiece as the West Aurora senior reserve saw his first significant playing time as a varsity player in an East-West game.
But the forward entered the game late in the first quarter and made an immediate impact.
Williams' first shot attempt was a 3-pointer from the wing, then he assisted Spencer Thomas' inside score on the following possession and followed with an offensive rebound.
Williams fed Jontrel Walker, whose 3-pointer gave West Aurora an 18-8 first-quarter lead.
East Aurora (3-16) would come within single-figures only once the rest of the way as the Blackhawks (14-3) hit the Tomcats with a 23-point second quarter en route to a 43-22 lead at the break.
"The coaches gave me the confidence to get into the game," Williams said. "The put me in to play defense. I'm just glad I was able to contribute to the win."
"I one thing I did notice about (Williams) was his defense on (East Aurora leading scorer Tajon) Talbert," West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman said. "He did a heck of a job on Talbert."
Walker and Thomas were the offensive heroes for West Aurora.
The duo combined for 37 points as Walker scored a game-high 20 points, while Thomas was as efficient as ever with 17 points on 8-for-9 field-goal shooting.
"The biggest difference (since starting as a freshman) is my maturity," said Walker.
West Aurora once again used its disciplined offensive assault to create separation from its archrival.
Josh McAuley scored 6 points, but the senior post was a destructive force in the defensive paint with 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
Jayquan Lee had all 8 of his 10 points in the third quarter for West Aurora.
"I take the blame," East Aurora coach Wendell Jeffries said of the one-sided defeat at home. "The game plan was to slow the game down and have a low-scoring game in the first half. Once (West Aurora) got the lead to 10, that was it for us."
Talbert had 14 points to lead the equally-storied Tomcats.
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