A game that started with bad omens turned into an utter nightmare for Wheaton Warrenville South Friday night in Aurora.
Playing for the first time this basketball season, the WW South boys squad had a head-on collision with West Aurora in a disastrous first half.
The Blackhawks' famed man-to-man defense was so punishing and effective WW South was unable to convert a single one of its 19 first-half field goals.
West Aurora scored all 21 points in the second quarter en route to a 56-29 victory after securing a 30-point lead at halftime.
"I don't think I've ever seen it before," West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman said of a team going an entire half without scoring from the field. "I didn't think (the Tigers) played that bad. We just made them look a lot worse than what they actually are."
West Aurora (4-1, 1-0) was the aggressor from the get-go, using offensive rebounding as its springboard to a 10-1 opening-game run.
Chandler Thomas' back-to-back putbacks framed the schools' encounter in the opening minutes, and it became far worse as WW South (0-1, 0-1) could manage only a pair of rebounds and 4 combined free throws in the first quarter.
The Tigers had to consider themselves fortunate to still be within single figures after the first.
"We knew coming in that we needed some shots to go in early," WW South coach Robert Szorc said.
The Tigers coach was encouraged with the shot selection after eight minutes, but the second quarter turned into a house of horrors.
With the Blackhawks' battle-seasoned four starters -- Jontrel Walker, Jayquan Lee, Josh McAuley and Thomas -- from a reigning Class 4A Elite Eight squad operating with fluidity the entire second quarter, WW South was simply overmatched.
"We're young," Szorc said. "We knew it was going to be a battle coming in."
Walker scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the opening half; WA went 7-for-10 from the floor during the second quarter while the Tigers misfired on all 10 of their attempts.
The result was a 34-4 West Aurora lead at the intermission.
Kerkman substituted liberally throughout the second half, enabling such seniors as Reynaldo Acevedo and Matt Williams to get rare playing time in a conference game.
"We were going to the boards really strong the whole game," said Acevado, who scored 4 points in the second half. "We played great defense the whole first half."
"We just came out and played hard," added Williams, who also scored 4 points after halftime. "We had good help from off the bench."
Thomas, with twin brother Spencer making far more contributions than his 2 points suggested, added 12 points.
WW South finished 8-for-40 (20 percent from the field), with -- it was bound to happen -- Michael Kramer draining the Tigers' first attempt from the floor in the third quarter.
Aidan Hernandez hit the Tigers' only 3-pointers in 16 attempts to finish with a team-high 9 points.
"The great thing is, it's only Game 1 for us," Szorc said.