The South Elgin boys basketball team was treading water against visiting West Aurora for most of three quarters until the going got rougher.
The Storm led the Upstate Eight Valley matchup by a point at the half and were still within 2 points of the lead late in the third quarter until West Aurora's guards harassed, bedeviled and otherwise distressed the Storm into turnover after turnover during a 19-3 run that bridged the final period of the Blackhawks' eventual 73-55 win.
Those turnovers by second-place South Elgin turned into easy transition buckets for the first-place Blackhawks, who took a 49-43 lead after three quarters on fast-break points from point guards Traevon Brown and Damian Virgen.
"We just pressed up and they couldn't handle our pressure," said Virgen, who finished with a team-high 15 points.
West Aurora's guards caused 5 of South Elgin's 20 turnovers during the run and capitalized on multiple fast-break chances.
"That was the one key to the game," South Elgin coach Brett Johnson said. "We said if we don't let them get runouts, we will be in it at the end of the game. But we gave up so many open runouts, which led to open shots. That ultimately put us in a position where we had to battle back."
Junior guard Moshe Rogers came off the bench to sink three 3-pointers in a five-minute span to fuel the surge for West Aurora (11-4, 4-0). He finished with 13 points. His third 3-pointer with 4:14 left staked the Blackhawks to a 64-46 lead over South Elgin (10-4, 2-2).
"I just have to shoot it and not think about it too much," Rogers said. "If I think about it too much, I'll miss. Just fire it. Let it go."
South Elgin's Vince Miszkiewicz (6-foot-6) and West Aurora's Jared Crutcher (6-5) fought to a near draw in the paint. Miszkiewicz finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds while the Loras College-bound Crutcher had 13 points and 9 rebounds. He also blocked 9 shots, including 3 of Miszkiewicz's.
"I had a few blocks on him," Crutcher said. "Just playing my game, doing me."
West Aurora enjoyed a decided advantage on the perimeter. Virgen's 15-points and Rogers' 13 were supported by 12 points and 3 steals from senior guard Cam Donatlan -- highlighted by right-handed and left-handed breakaway dunks off consecutive South Elgin third-quarter turnovers -- and junior point guard Traevon Brown's 10 points and 5 assists.
"When we roll we have so many guys that can score," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said. "We don't neccesarily need somebody to throw in 30 for us to be successful. The guys really complement each other and it showed."
David Binion finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds and junior guard Drake Montgomery had 10 points for South Elgin.