A big crowd, a loud gym and a fast-paced game don't make one think of the word patience. But West Aurora focused on being patient on offense in the second half, and a 40-point outburst made the Blackhawks 63-53 winners over host Naperville Central on Friday night.
"In the first half we were impatient on offense and (Naperville Central) showed a lot of patience," said West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman. "We have to learn. We have talked about it quite a bit. If we were as patient as we should be, we would be more effective offensively."
After the Redhawks (3-3, 0-2 DuPage Valley Conference) led 29-23 at halftime, the Blackhawks (5-1, 2-0) started the third quarter with a 10-1 run to take the lead. Naperville Central got it back briefly with about 3:30 left in the period. However, West Aurora never gave it back after that.
Naperville Central trailed just 42-41 going into the third quarter and cut it to 49-48 midway through the final period on a 3-point basket by Austin Pauga. West Aurora padded its lead to double digits in the last 1:15 of the game with an 8-0 run.
During that crucial run, six of the Blackhawks' 10 points came from junior Jontrel Walker, who scored a game-high 24 points.
"We have to play both halves of the game and keep playing that way every day. Coach expressed at halftime to us to play hard and play under control," Walker said.
Spencer Thomas followed on the Blackhawks' scoresheet with 10 points. Josh McAuley and Chandler Thomas each had 8. McAuley pulled down 8 rebounds, but as important was crucial on defense with 5 blocked shots.
"We still have a lot to improve upon. We're a better team than we showed tonight. Our defense wins games and it was off in the first half. In the second half we stepped it up," McAuley said.
Naperville Central was led by Austin Pauga with 22 points, including five 3-point baskets. Nick Czarnowski had 12 points and 9 rebounds.
It's been a challenging start to the DVC season for the Redhawks, going against top teams Glenbard East and the Blackhawks.
"The kids battled a lot more. I was pleased with the way we approached the game, aggressive on both ends of the floor, than we were against Glenbard East," Redhawks coach Pete Kramer said. "We feel we can maybe next time go in and get a win against (Glenbard East and West Aurora). It's a long season, and we're learning along the way what are strengths and weaknesses are."