Only a freshman, Will Wolfe is just getting started making memories with the Aurora Christian boys basketball program.
He's going to have a tough act to top after his performance with the Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock regional championship on the line Friday night.
With the Eagles trailing Serena 49-47 heading to the fourth quarter, Wolfe proceeded to outscore the Huskers by himself, 14-12. That highlighted a 26-12 fourth for the Eagles giving them a 73-61 come-from-behind win.
"For a freshman to take over a regional final in the fourth quarter, he's going to be a whale of a player," Eagles coach Dan Beebe said.
Wolfe's 14-point fourth quarter gave him 27 points for the game, matching his brother Jake, a junior. Will Wolfe made five 3-point baskets and scored 20 second-half points.
"Will is a great player," Jake Wolfe said. "He's really stepped up this year. He's maturing his game. He's a huge part of our team and it showed throughout the fourth quarter, throughout the whole game."
Aurora Christian (20-8), who won its 14th regional championship and second straight, will play Annawan Wednesday in the Somonauk sectional semifinals. Annawan beat the Eagles 58-45 in December at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington.
Serena (22-8) didn't make it easy Friday with sophomore Jakob Setchell draining 3s from the volleyball line, point guard Dawson Fuller scoring 16 points and Brad Byrnes notching a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double.
Will Wolfe opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point basket, putting the Eagles ahead 50-49, the seventh and final lead change in the game.
Moments later, Wolfe connected again from 3, then hit a long jumper just inside the top of the key for a 57-51 lead.
The Eagles continued to pull away, and Wolfe helped seal the win with 4 free throws and a fastbreak layup on a pass from his brother.
"We had to win, it was the regional championship, we have to go all the way to state," Will Wolfe said. "We knew what we had to do. We had to lock down on defense and play as a team. We didn't have to worry about the officiating."
The officials were in the middle of a wild first half. After the Eagles took a 23-14 lead early in the second quarter on Tanner Dissell's 3 and back-to-back pullup jumpers by Jake Wolfe, the Huskers rattled off a 21-4 flurry that brought its half of an almost packed Hinckley gym to its feet.
Serena made all 11 of its free throws during that run including 4 on a pair of technical fouls on Eagle players. Serena took its biggest lead at 35-27 before the Eagles scored the final 8 points of the half to tie the game at 35 at halftime.
Jake Wolfe made a long 3 and a conventional 3-point play on a scoop shot in the lane during the 8-0 run. Earlier in the half, Setchell fell down trying to guard Wolfe on one of his crossover dribbles, and the Eagles students changed "ank-les" at Setchell when he went to the line -- though it didn't affect him much as he went 8 for 8.
Serena in fact hit 19 of 21 in the first half -- then didn't attempt a free throw in the second half.
"That's on me a little," Serena coach Dain Twait said. "We were trying to set too many ball screens and didn't get to the basket as much as we were. You have to credit them. They stepped up defensively.
"It was back and forth, guys making big shots. I'm proud of our guys. That's a heck of a team we just got beat by."