2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 11/22/2017 6:57 PM

Virgen, Donatlan power West Aurora past Hinsdale Central

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

The word 'aberration' does not seem adequate enough to describe the numbers the West Aurora boys basketball team surrendered in its first two games of the Hoops for Healing Thanksgiving Tournament this week.

West Aurora Hall of Fame coaches John McDougal and Gordie Kerkman were forever renowned for defense.

But the Blackhawks allowed Oswego East and Naperville North to combine for 169 points this week.

"We were being lazy," West Aurora senior guard Damian Virgen said. "We weren't communicating."

Wednesday afternoon in third-day action at Oswego, West Aurora overcame a 10-point early third-quarter deficit to Hinsdale Central by scoring 38 of the final 49 points in a 60-43 victory over the Red Devils.

Virgen, who led both teams with 20 points, had a 3-point play and 3-pointer as part of an 18-point unanswered West Aurora third-quarter burst that turned a 32-22 deficit into a 40-32 lead.

"We had to take over the game -- and that's what we did," Virgen said. "I was trying to take the right shots for the team."

In a singular moment to characterize the Blackhawks' game-ending dominance, Virgen had a fast-break alley-oop that Camron Donatlan finished with authority.

"Camron is like a brother," Virgen said. "We have a connection."

One school year after DaVion Cross earned the Daily Herald Fox Valley Male Athlete of the Year award, it is almost inconceivable of Donatlan not achieving the same distinction in his senior year.

A two-time reigning state champion in the high jump in track, Donatlan has Division I offers in football and basketball as well.

Limited by early foul trouble, Donatlan, who finished with 8 points, was a force in the second half with his intangibles and frightening athleticism.

"He's the best all-around athlete in the state," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said of Donatlan. "I can't imagine a better three-sport athlete. He just got a Division I offer from Wyoming in football. He could break the state record in the high jump. He could be an Olympian. The greatest athlete I have ever coached, for sure."

"I will know more in about a month," Donatlan said of his future plans.

Hinsdale Central (0-3) closed to within 44-39 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Blackhawks (2-1) had another 14-2 burst to make the final score academic.

"I thought we got a little tight," Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre said. "We had multiple turnovers. The little things were big."

Hinsdale Central scored the first 5 points of the third quarter to extend its 27-22 halftime lead.

But the Red Devils' only double-digit lead soon vanished with the Blackhawks' unanswered 18-point surge.

Jared Crutcher had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks for West Aurora.

Matt Rush paced Hinsdale Central with 13 points.

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