Simeon trumps West Aurora in Pontiac semi
PONTIAC -- With three Big Ten recruits on its frontline, Simeon presents an insuperable challenge to any team in the state.
West Aurora has a long history -- dating back to the 1984 Class AA state semifinals -- with the Wolverines.
The programs met once again at the famed Pontiac Holiday Tournament on Wednesday afternoon in the second semifinal.
Top-seeded Simeon was operating on all cylinders in the opening half in building a 17-point lead.
The Blackhawks never quit, though, hitting the Wolverines with a 15-2 run over parts of the final two quarters.
But the West Aurora run was too late to impact the outcome of the Wolverines' 59-43 victory.
"They are really good athletes and they jump really high," West Aurora guard Marquis Howard said of the Wolverines' trio of D.J. Williams (Illinois), Ed Morrow (Nebraska) and Isaiah Moss (Iowa). "We didn't keep our heads down. We kept playing hard."
Trailing 44-19 late in the third quarter, the Blackhawks' 10-0 run featured fields goals by Matt Dunn and Luis Motola as well as 3-point possessions by Roland Griffin and Motola.
Griffin and Dunn collaborated to open the fourth quarter with the first 5 points to narrow the West Aurora deficit to 46-34.
"The guys thought the game was over," Simeon coach Rob Smith said of the West Aurora run. "That's not acceptable."
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks (8-5), though, Williams' dunk capped a 12-2 Simeon run that pushed the Wolverines' cushion back to 20 points.
"They're an awfully good defensive team," West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman said of Simeon.
Morrow had game highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds to power the Simeon victory.
Howard, Motola and Dunn had respective totals of 13, 9 and 8 points to lead the Blackhawks.