Damian Virgen scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter of West Aurora's 65-53 win at St. Charles North on Saturday, but the senior guard took more pride in the way his team played defense.
West Aurora (7-1) limited St. Charles North (5-3) to 8 fourth-quarter points on 3-of-13 shooting, allowing the Blackhawks to turn what had been a back-and-forth game through three quarters into a comfortable win, their sixth straight victory since a Nov. 21 setback against Naperville North.
"It was a matter of defense because they're all shooters," Virgen said of the North Stars, who had won 4 straight. "Rotation was key for us. If we didn't rotate as well, they probably would have been hitting more shots and it would have been a closer game, or they might have won the game."
The lead changed hands 13 times in the first three quarters with West Aurora clinging to a 46-45 edge, but an 11-4 run at the outset of the fourth quarter bulged that advantage.
West Aurora senior Jared Crutcher, a 6-foot-5 forward who committed to Loras College nine days earlier, scored 4 of his 13 points during the surge. Virgen contributed a 3-pointer and his drive to the basket with 3:45 left staked the Blackhawks to a 57-49 lead.
The North Stars sank 8 of 18 shots from 3-point range in the first three quarters but missed all 4 long-range attempts in the fourth.
"That moment of truth is always the first four minutes of the fourth quarter in a close game," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said.
"It's either going to be close down the stretch or they're going to pull away. Then they started to run clock, and they started to get back cuts and attack the lane and our defensive shell kind of broke down. When it goes from a back-and-forth-type game to 8 to 10, that's a tough spot to be in against West Aurora."
Senior Camron Donatlan, who recently committed to Wyoming for football and track, tied Virgen for team honors with 17 points, all in the first three quarters.
The Blackhawks won the rebounding battle 31-25 and shot well from the field (26 of 55).
It was their second road win in as many nights following Friday's 68-61 overtime victory at Glenbard East.
"We had a good walk through (Saturday) morning," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said. "I was pretty confident Camron would come in and have a big game and the guys would continue to play off (Friday's) victory. Damian struggled (against Glenbard East) and hit a couple of big threes but tonight he stepped up."
West Aurora will try to extend its winning streak to seven next Friday in its third straight road game.
"We've got St. Charles East next week," Crutcher said. "We're feeling really good. We have to come out strong."