West Aurora rolls past East Aurora
The decibel level would have conjured up memories of the old Chicago Stadium Friday night in Aurora.
"To play in an East-West game?" West Aurora Wyoming football and track recruit Camron Donatlan said. "It's not a lot of pressure but so much intensity. It is always so loud (at East Aurora). You can barely hear the point guard calling out the plays."
In the historic 224th boys basketball meeting between the two schools, it was all West Aurora in the Upstate Eight Valley opener before a sold-out crowd.
The Blackhawks broke free of the only tie of the game at 2-2 in scoring 23 of the first 31 points of the game.
West Aurora had few issues remaining in its 70-48 victory.
"We tell the kids all the time before the game, 'It's the oldest rivalry in the state of Illinois,' " West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said.
There is an indisputable an element of one-upmanship for the schools, who played the first football game in state history in the fall of 1893.
"The behind-the-back pass?" West Aurora point guard Traevon Brown said. "I was setting it up the whole time. I knew (Damian Virgen) was going to finish it."
Brown, who played at East Aurora his first two years, was the only Blackhawk starter who did not finish with double-digit scoring. The junior guard was otherwise masterful with his game-high 10 assists and 7 points.
Two of the passes Brown delivered for buckets Donatlan threw down on alley-oops.
Virgen scored all 15 of his points in the opening half for West Aurora.
Donatlan -- with his customary athleticism repeatedly on display -- had a team-high 18 points for the Blackhawks.
"He just dominated the game," Johnson said of Donatlan."
Jared Crutcher was beyond steady at both ends for the Blackhawks in finishing with 11 points.
Defensively, Crutcher was even more impressive.
"I don't even know how many blocked shots (Crutcher) had," Johnson said. "His arms are so long and he has such great timing."
Crutcher finished with 5 blocks.
The unassuming fifth starter for West Aurora, senior Ben Young, hit two 3-pointers in scoring 10 points.
West Aurora (4-1. 1-0) kept its historic nemesis East Aurora winless on the season at 0-8, 0-1 by taking a 38-23 lead at the intermission.
The Blackhawks scored 18 more points in the third quarter in limiting the Tomcats to a mere 7 to completely unravel the contest.
"We have to get that history back," East Aurora legend and first-year coach Ricky Robinson said. "It may not come this year. But we'll get there. West has a very good team."
Kendred Shepherd-Pegues paced both teams with a game-high 22 points for the Tomcats.