Class 4A East Aurora sectional semifinal
7 p.m. Wednesday
No. 6 Geneva (24-5) vs. No. 2 West Aurora (23-5) vs.
Outlook: Here is a rematch of last season's Wheaton Warrenville South regional final, won by West Aurora 45-37 after the teams traded leads 12 times with seven tie scores. "The sting of last year's loss, knowing we were only five minutes from a regional (title), I think is motivation for our team," said Geneva coach Phil Ralston, who coached the Vikings' first regional championship since 1986. Key principals return from that game headed by Geneva 6-foot-7 junior forward Nate Navigato, who became the Vikings' fifth 1,000-point scorer in last week's 66-63 regional final win over Bolingbrook; and West Aurora senior guard Jontrell Walker, the Daily Herald All-Area captain who owns program records for points, 3-point baskets and, according to West Aurora historian Neal Ormond, is 4 made free throws away from Bill Farrar's 1967 record of 147. In a testament to the defense played last year, which should resume Tuesday, West Aurora held Navigato to 5 points and the Vikings limited Walker to 7. The player who held Navigato down last year, however, 6-8 Josh McAuley, since graduated, and that's of concern. West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman -- who favors a man defense while Geneva will go man, 2-3 zone and last year sprung a box-and-1 against Walker -- said 6-5 junior Roland Griffin will guard the savvy Navigato. Foul concerns will be an issue there as well as with West Aurora's 6-8 sophomore Carleton Williams, who has to contend with the likes of Geneva's 260-pound Loudon Vollbrecht and also 6-7 Mike Landi. When the fouls pile up Geneva can make hay, 42 of 48 from the line in regional play. Fifteen-point scorer Griffin and Walker -- who scored 31 points in West Aurora's 40th regional title, 73-59 over Plainfield North, and has played in two supersectionals -- have been the Blackhawks' go-to scorers all season, point guard Matt Dunn and forward Tommy Koth each near 8 points a game and Myles Wisely impacting off the bench. Geneva is bolstered by seven players scoring at least 4.7 points apiece, including Chris Parrilli and Pace Temple, who exploded for 24 points against Bolingbrook. Tempo doesn't initially look to be a factor. Both teams will run when opportunities arise, but prefer more patient half-court sets. When the game was on the line last week for Geneva they got more physical and attacked the basket to rally from a 43-32 deficit after three quarters. "It's a sectional game and only three wins away from going to Peoria," Kerkman said. "So obviously everybody's going to be hyped up and will play with a lot of intensity."
Advancement: The winner advances to play the winner of Tuesday's East Aurora semifinal between Benet and Hinsdale Central in Friday's East Aurora sectional final.
-- Compiled by Dave Oberhelman