Neuqua heats up in 2nd half to top West Aurora

By Bob Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/17/2021 9:06 PM

Neuqua Valley's Connor Davis can't deny the simple fact.

There's something about West Aurora that brings out the best in him.


The 6-foot-5 senior forward always plays at a high level against West Aurora.

For the second season in a row, Davis torched the Blackhawks with a combination of long 3-pointers and drives to the basket. On Wednesday, Davis canned four 3-pointers for a game-high 19 points in a 66-39 victory in Naperville.

"I pretty much did the similar thing last year against them," Davis said. "I got a lot of points on backdoor cuts and open layups, just cutting hard. I've been pretty consistent against them, just the way our offense works against them. It works well for me against them."

As a junior, Davis scorched the Blackhawks (0-5) for a career-high 28 points in a thrilling double overtime victory to put his name on the map in the Chicagoland hoops scene.

Davis sparked a second-half surge that turned a 20-20 halftime score into a 55-27 lead early in the fourth. He drilled a deep 3 from the wing at the third-quarter buzzer, slyly signifying his fadeaway swish by putting down his left hand with three fingers pointed to the ground. Just 19 seconds later, in the fourth quarter, Davis swished a top-of-the-key 3-pointer. Earlier in the game, Davis hit a step-back 3-pointer.

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Davis said his third-quarter buzzer 3 was his favorite, which ended a 23-point quarter for the Wildcats (4-1).

"We just started playing offense well and flowing," Davis said.

Davis did his work in an efficient manner, exiting the game with his team up by nearly 30 points with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Senior forward John Poulakidas, who missed Friday's loss to Naperville Central with a deep bone bruise, had 13 points in limited minutes. The Yale recruit is within six points of becoming the all-time leading scorer in Neuqua Valley program history.

"I've known about the record, but it hasn't crossed my mind while playing," Poulakidas said in his second game back. "I didn't really think about it until last year when I hit 1,000 points and people started telling me I could creep up on the record."

The first half was a struggle for both teams, with officials calling seven offensive fouls -- no charges -- that slowed down the pace and rhythm. Poulakidas scored on a layup to give the Wildcats a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, but finished with just four first-half points.


The Blackhawks' stormed back to tie the game at 20-20 at halftime on Isaiah Siler's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said he saw some glimmers of hope in the first half. Siler, a junior guard, tallied 7 points for West Aurora.

"I was pleased with the first half," Johnson said. "I thought we executed on offense and were patient and were good on defense by getting out on the shooters. The third quarter the wheels just fell off."

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