Waubonsie Valley keeps the ride going, beats Oswego East
Eric Cannon never lost his cool. His four-year odyssey as a starting guard at Waubonsie Valley has taught him the importance of perspective.
"My freshman year we won five games, my sophomore year eight games and last year 13," Cannon said. "Now we are coming up close to totaling that number in one season. It has been a great jump, and I am just enjoying the ride."
A 10-point swing in the first half in the Warriors' marquee showdown with Oswego East did not undo him or the other Waubonsie Valley players.
"We knew they really thrive on going on big runs," Cannon said.
Cannon optimized his all-around game by drilling three 3-pointers and scoring 12 of his 19 points in the decisive third quarter in powering the Warriors' impressive 67-61 boys basketball victory over the Wolves on Saturday night in Aurora.
In a spellbinding year for the Warriors (22-3), Waubonsie Valley showed what how capable and dangerous the team truly is.
"I had confidence in my shot," Cannon said. "I know my teammates have confidence in me to get open and hit those shots."
Junior guard Marcus Skeete matched Cannon's output with 19 points. He followed Cannon's lead in converting a 3-pointer early in the third quarter as Waubonsie Valley opened the second half with a 9-0 run that negated a 27-24 Oswego East halftime lead.
"Obviously, we have a pretty nice record, but it was nice to get a win against a team that is very highly looked upon," Cannon said. "It was good to see our players handle that kind of test."
Oswego East senior forward Ray J. Dennis scored 26 points. Waubonsie Valley shut out the Boise State recruit in the crucial third quarter, a valuable touch in the team's 23-10 scoring differential.
Waubonsie Valley made five 3-pointers in the quarter, the last by guard Derrien Porter that ignited a 7-0 closing run. Cannon added a layup. Ever-improving senior forward Nikhil Khanna added 14 points.
He closed the nearly perfect third quarter tipping home his own miss for the Warriors' 47-37 lead to start the fourth quarter. Khanna contributed 14 points and Porter added 9 points. Caymen Woods added 6 points as Waubonsie Valley's starters accounted for all of their points.
Dennis heated up in the fourth quarter by scoring 14 points for the Wolves (19-7). Waubonsie Valley maintained its cool in swelling its lead to as many as 13 points. Sam Schultz contributed 14 points.
No other Wolves player reached double figures.
Waubonsie Valley converted its first 12 free throws of the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"We were in a good place at the start of the third quarter," Skeete said. "They hit some tough shots in that second quarter, but we just wanted to come out and attack. Our defense really changed the game.
"This was an important game for us. We wanted to showcase how good of a team we have. We have had some good wins recently, but that is a very good team with some very good players."