West Aurora extends Upstate Eight lead
West Aurora shooting guard Marquise Walker was not about to let the Glenbard South boys basketball team back into the Upstate Eight Conference race.
"When he gets it going," Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke said of Walker after the senior guard scored a game-high 18 points in the Blackhawks' 57-27 victory Friday night in Aurora, "a couple of those shots, I think, we're just inside the timeline. I was certainly anticipating a much better game, a much closer game."
But it was not to be for the Raiders as the opening quarter was an offensive horror show.
Of its 13 first-quarter possessions, Glenbard South (11-4, 6-2) missed all 6 of its field-goal attempts and turned the ball over the other seven times.
West Aurora (16-3, 9-0) had its own offensive issues, mainly missing easy chances in transition, but still managed to score the only 9 points of the quarter.
Walker, in a precursor of what was to come on his following three field goals, hit a step-back jumper just inside the key at the buzzer.
The following three Walker connections -- bridging the second quarter and beginning of the third -- were NBA-territory 3-pointers.
The Blackhawks have not lost an Upstate Eight game since divisional play two years ago, and the latest triumph was well in hand after Walker scored half of the their 22 first- half points for a 12-point team cushion at the break.
West Aurora erupted for 25 third-quarter points to put any Glenbard South comeback hopes to rest.
"We could do this every night if we play defense like we did tonight," Walker said. "I just let my team do their job. They were hitting me in open spots. I just do what I think my teammates need me to do."
The West Aurora third-quarter outburst included two Traevon Brown 3-pointers as well as another field goal from beyond the arc by Moshe Rogers.
Both seniors finished with 8 points.
West Aurora senior forward Hezzy Salter, the only player other than Walker to finish in double digits, played his ever-reliable game with 12 points.
The Blackhawks' game-long advantage in quickness and overall athleticism was telling.
"Their defensive pressure and intensity had us playing a lot faster than we're capable of or wanted to play," Hardtke said.
The Raiders did not score until almost 10 minutes elapsed in the opening half.
Cole Hardtke and Nick Plaso led Glenbard South with 8 and 6 points, respectively.
Nick Williams made his long-awaited debut for the Blackhawks.
The senior guard, a transfer from Carbondale, scored 2 points in limited minutes.
"I feel like I can be a big impact on the team," Williams said. "When I got on the court, another man popped out."