For all the flash -- behind-the-back passes, 3-point shots, spin moves, reverse layups -- Aurora Christian defeated Harvest Christian for a regional championship Friday with old fashion, hard-nosed defense.
The Eagles didn't allow a point for the first seven minutes, held Harvest to 29.7 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers on their way to a 67-42 win in the Class 1A Aurora Christian regional championship game.
"Just relentless," Eagles coach Dan Beebe said of his team's defense. "That's where we hang our hats all year. We believe that's where you win basketball games. We dug in and played pretty good defense."
Aurora Christian (24-1), the No. 1 ranked Class 1A team in the state by the AP, will play Kewanee Wethersfield Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Ottawa Marquette sectional.
"This is just the start," sophomore Will Wolfe said. "We have a pretty hard sectional. We just have to take it one game at a time."
Harvest Christian (18-9) lost twice to Aurora Christian during the regular season, the second time just 58-56.
The Eagles made sure the third meeting was settled much sooner. Lions coach Bryan Bradshaw called his first timeout down 8-0 with 4:31 left in the first quarter, then immediately after Jake Wolfe grabbed a rebound and took it the other way for a layup while being fouled to make it 11-0.
Jake Wolfe and Will Wolfe both scored 11 points in the first half, which ended with the Eagles up 33-13.
"I feel like they had their best game and we had our worst game," Will Wolfe said of the last meeting. "Last game at their home I feel we overlooked them a little. And we weren't playing as well as we are now."
Jake Wolfe brought the crowd to their feet early in the third quarter with a behind-the-back pass that hit Michael Cruger in stride for a layup. Will Wolfe nailed back-to-back 3s later in the quarter to make it 50-21. The Eagles' biggest lead came with three minutes left when Jake Wolfe drove baseline to make it 65-32.
"He's very athletic," Will Wolfe said of his older brother. "It's great to see him make those moves, play with that intensity. His IQ is very good. Especially in the playoffs we need it."
Jake Wolfe finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. Will Wolfe scored 19 points, Danniel Stevens chipped in 8 points and 2 blocked shots, and Taaj Davis added 6 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.
"Jake does a lot of different things," Beebe said. "He scores, rebounds, defends. But I think the great thing about this team now is they are really playing to their roles."
Jack Nohava led Harvest Christian with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Grant Young scored 11 points and Logan Jones 8.
"I was worried early if they got up on us, I knew it would be difficult for us to climb out of a hole and that's what happened," Bradshaw said. "Last time we played them we scratched and clawed our way back, and this time they closed the door like good teams do. They made it tough and played well."
The Lions graduate three seniors -- Mark Davila, Dylan Lockwood and Jones.
"After last year we had a bunch of guys come in and leave and people were like what's Harvest Christian going to be?" Bradshaw said. "I don't think people expected much. Our guys really grew and did a nice job. I'm proud of our seniors and the way they led us. Mark was the energy guy, Logan was the glue and Dylan was the toughness. They all brought those pieces to the team."