Wheaton Warrenville South scored 24 points in each half Tuesday night West Aurora. The host Blackhawks weren't nearly as consistent.
After a sluggish first half that sent them to their locker room trailing the DuPage Valley Conference matchup 24-21, the Blackhawks exploded for 47 points in the second half on their way to their eighth straight win, 68-48.
West Aurora (16-3, 9-0) stayed perfect in the DVC ahead of Friday's visit from second-place Naperville Central, 7-2 in the DVC.
"We're playing good basketball right now," West Aurora junior guard Marquis Howard said. "We can play a little better. We can play four quarters like coach (Gordie) Kerkman says. But the season is going good so far."
Kerkman made a lineup change to start the second half, inserting the 5-foot-9 Howard and removing 6-8 Carleton Williams. Howard scored the first basket on a backdoor cut and pass from Jontrell Walker, then made 2 free throws to put West Aurora back ahead 25-24.
By the time the third quarter ended, WW South (4-16, 1-8) had turned the ball over 8 times against West Aurora's quicker lineup. The Blackhawks turned most of those steals into transition points, a 29-point third quarter and a 50-38 lead going to the fourth.
The Tigers didn't get closer than 11 points in the final quarter.
"Coach just wanted us to go small to get some more transition going," Howard said. "We turned up the pressure a little bit. We went to a new press to got some more steals and it worked out good for us."
Walker scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. He added 6 assists and 6 steals.
Juniors Roland Griffin and Matt Dunn also had big second halves. Griffin scored 12 of his 18 points and Dunn 8 of his 14 after halftime, while Howard chipped in 8 points.
"It was a good win," Kerkman said. "Maybe something like that opens your kids' eyes that you have to play four quarters."
After shooting 33 percent in the first half (9 for 27), the Blackhawks upped it to 57 percent in the second half (17 for 30). West Aurora also made all 11 of its free throws in the second half after not getting to the line in the opening half.
"It (the smaller lineup) gave us a little more quickness out there," Kerkman said. "I don't know if it was the main reason it turned around. It could have been. But we were a lot more intense and a lot more focused in the second half."
The Tigers actually shot over 50 percent for the game at 19 for 37 but turned the ball over 20 times to the Blackhawks' 4.
"I think they upped the pressure in the third quarter," WW South coach Robert Szorc said. "When we broke it we got layups but they got a few more turnovers than our layups."
The Tigers started strong, holding West Aurora scoreless for the first three-plus minutes of the game. Griffin forced Szorc into a quick timeout when he slammed home an alley-oop pass from Myles Wisley, and Brian Summers responded with a 3-pointer to keep the Tigers within 8-7 after a quarter.
Griffin brought the Blackhawks fans to their feet again early in the second with a steal and his second jam for a 12-7 lead. Keishawn Watson answered with a basket, the start of a 14-3 WW South run to take the halftime lead.
Szorc called up a couple sophomores for their varsity debut Tuesday, Eric Rasch and Matthew Dacy-Siejo. Rasch led WW South with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Aaron Hernandez added 10 points.
"Lot of good things," Szorc said of Rasch. "Throw him into the fire at West Aurora. But I think as a group more, there were a lot of good things as a group. I'm proud of our kids' effort. We battled on the road and there's a lot of good things to take away from it from our standpoint."