2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 1/5/2018 10:45 PM

West Aurora pulls away from West Chicago

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Damian Virgen and Traevon Brown realized they had to compensate for the loss of two critical teammates Friday night in Aurora.

West Chicago was in the midst of a game-altering run in the third quarter of its Upstate Eight Valley boys basketball game against West Aurora.

The Wildcats had trimmed their double-digit deficit to a mere 2 points behind the all-around play of Jordan Wilkins, who ultimately pumped in half of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter.

"It came to reality that we could beat this team," Wilkins said.

But West Aurora more than rose to the challenge to remain undefeated in league play.

The Blackhawks ended the dramatic third-quarter by scoring 13 of the last 17 points, and Brown opened the fourth with one of his five 3-pointers.

West Chicago never threatened to come within single figures again in the Blackhawks' 66-52 victory.

"I was just trying to get us going and get the scoring back," said Virgen, who overcome early foul issues to score a team-best 19 points.

The play of second-leading scorer Virgen and Brown, who scored all 15 of his points from beyond the 3-point arc, was necessary as West Aurora post Jared Crutcher was ultimately disqualified on fouls after being held to a lone first-quarter field goal.

West Aurora leading scorer, Camron Donatlan, did not play due to undisclosed reasons.

Virgin nearly matched Wilkins' output in the third quarter with a 3-pointer, conventional field goal and two perfect trips at the free-throw line for 9 points.

Virgen was a consistent thorn for West Chicago (6-7, 0-3) by either pick-pocketing dribblers for breakaway layups, pullup jumpers in the paint or distribution of the ball in the open court.

Virgen, a senior guard, led all players with 6 assists, including a pair to Brown for momentum-changing 3-pointers.

"I was just trying to shoot the ball," said Virgen. "I was looking for (Brown) because I knew he could knock down the open shot."

After noticeably slumping offensively prior to the Blackhawks' annual holiday trip to Pontiac, Brown has caught fire.

Brown has made 19 3-pointers in averaging 19.3 points in his last four games.

"My coaches told me to be more aggressive," Brown said. "I was being too passive. Me being more aggressive helps us out. We never felt like we were going to lose the game and kept our composure."

The Blackhawks (9-4, 3-0) never trailed, and the only tie came after the teams traded buckets to open the game.

"I started listening to my coach (Bill Recchia)," Wilkins said of the Wildcats' second-half turnaround. "He kept telling me to drive to the basket."

Sam Ricci added 14 points for West Chicago.

"We need to make sure we stay mentally focused on the game plan for the entire 32 minutes," Recchia said.

Latrell Slater had 10 points off the bench for West Aurora.

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