Six games into the 2013-14 season West Aurora has almost matched its victory total from all of last year.
With a 59-32 win over visiting Rosary Tuesday night, the Blackhawks improved to 5-1. A win Thursday over Glenbard East would enable West Aurora to equal last year's 6-win season -- and set up an early season showdown in the DuPage Valley Conference against Naperville Central on Saturday.
"We feel like this season is really our season with the players we have coming in and the players that have been here forever," said Abryia Zeitz, one of four seniors in West Aurora's starting lineup who was on the varsity as freshmen. "We are ready to stick it to the rest of the teams and say we are finally here."
The Blackhawks sure made believers out of Rosary coach Jessie Wilcox whose team scored just 10 points in the second half and didn't make a field goal in the fourth quarter.
"They are playing great basketball," Wilcox said. "One thing I'll give them lots and lots of credit for is they make adjustments as the game goes on and the kids pick it up. Whatever she (West Aurora coach Connie Siljendahl) tells them to do they buy in wholeheartedly. The adjustments we made our kids didn't catch on fast enough." Rosary (4-2) started strong, especially junior Quincy Kellett who scored her team's first 7 points. Rosary took its biggest lead at 5-1, but West Aurora quickly settled down and went ahead 13-10 after a quarter on back-to-back putback baskets by Zeitz and Natalee DeJohnette.
The Royals stayed close for most of the second quarter. Rachel Choice's layup pulled Rosary within 23-22.
West Aurora closed the first half with a 3-pointer from Alexis Wiggins and a pair of free throws from Zeitz, and those were the first 5 points in the Blackhawks' 36-10 close to the game.
Zeitz opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer. She finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
"Abriya stepped up very well today," Siljendahl said. "We talked to her about where her shot is and she's tough in that area."
Fellow seniors Taylor Jacobsen (10 points, 5 assists), Erin Jacobsen (9 points) and Liz Skaggs (6 points, 11 rebounds) followed Zeitz.
Kellett led Rosary with 14 points and Taylor Drozdowski came off the bench with 8 points and 9 rebounds, but no other Royal scored more than 3. The Royals made just 11 of 43 field goals and 8 of 17 free throws.
"It doesn't help when you shoot like 10 percent from the field," Wilcox said. "Our defense wasn't horrible, it's just when you don't score it's hard for the defense to hang on that long.
"We were looking to see what we had. Very pleased with the first half. As long as we learn from it that's all we can ask."