The highflying West Aurora boys basketball team threw down 10 dunks in Friday's conference-clinching 65-47 home win over South Elgin.
"That's like a normal night," Blackhawks coach Brian Johnson said of six slams by 6-foot-3 senior guard Camron Donatlan and four by 6-5 senior forward Jared Crutcher. "It's crazy. It's crazy."
Piling up double-digit dunks is one thing. Four players cracking double-digit scoring is another.
West Aurora (19-4, 8-0) clinched its second straight Upstate Eight Valley title, thanks to balanced contributions from Donatlan -- who finished with a game-high 24 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals -- Crutcher (13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks), senior Ben Young (13 points) and senior Damian Virgen (11 points, 3 steals, 2 assists).
"Since I've been here I think this is the best team basketball we've ever played," said Young, who has played three varsity seasons alongside Virgen and Donatlan. "Everybody's getting touches ... that's how we're supposed to play. That's what we're supposed to do."
West Aurora jumped to a 21-10 lead, powered by Donatlan. Half the 12 first-quarter points scored by the reigning Class 3A state high jump champion came via dunks.
"It was fun with the atmosphere with all the Rowdies here," Donatlan said of the West Aurora student section. "It was just turning me up, them being here."
Undaunted, South Elgin (15-11, 4-5) got back in the game in the second quarter as the Storm outscored the Blackhawks 16-8. Juniors Drake Montgomery and Vince Miszkiewicz each scored twice and seniors Kyle Sy and Noah Rohr each drained 3-pointers to draw within 29-26 at halftime.
After the break, however, the Blackhawks reasserted themselves defensively. They held the Storm to 9 third-quarter points on 4-of-16 shooting and forced 6 of South Elgin's 22 turnovers.
"We were able to settle down on defense," Donatlan said. "We were letting them drive and kick too much so we just had to stop them."
"It was about toughness tonight," South Elgin coach Brett Johnson said. "We had it, but we couldn't put the ball in the basket when we had wide open looks in the third quarter. You can't win a game when you score only 9 points. I give them credit for making sure they found ways to stop us and make us feel uncomfortable with the ball and force us into tough situations."
West Aurora, ranked atop the Daily Herald's Top 20, took a 43-35 lead to the fourth quarter and outscored the Storm 22-12 over the final eight minutes to win its 11th straight.
"We're in a very good place right now," Donatlan said. "We have this thing rolling right now. I think we're in a pretty good position for state."
Montgomery led the Storm with 15 points, Miszkiewicz finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds and Rohr sank a pair of 3-pointers in an 11-point performance.