Salter scores 28 in West Aurora's win over Metea Valley
West Aurora forward Hezzy Salter will play running back at Quincy University next fall.
The multisport athlete can't wave bye-bye to basketball soon enough for teams like Metea Valley, the latest squad victimized by the physical 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior.
Salter resumed his late-season tear of 20-point games by pouring in a career-high 28 points to go with 12 rebounds in West Aurora's 85-66 victory at the Upstate Eight-DuPage Valley Shootout at East Aurora Saturday.
"I was just focusing on being aggressive and giving the best impact to the team because we lack a lot of height," he said. "They depend on me a lot to pick up the slack there and just be aggressive with whoever I play against."
West Aurora (25-5) hit Metea Valley (12-15) with a 15-4 run to open the game. Point guard Traevon Brown fueled the hot start with a pair of 3-pointers.
The Mustangs called timeout after Salter stole a perimeter pass and jammed at the other end to put the Blackhawks ahead 11-4.
"I was disappointed in the way my team came out," Metea Valley coach Matt Walpole said.
"I don't know what led to our mindset, our lack of energy to start the game. I told them if you don't walk on the court expecting to win the game, you're already behind the eight-ball. That's something we're going to work on. I hope it doesn't happen again."
Salter had plenty of help, particularly in the paint. Kelvin Balfour, a 6-3 junior forward, scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Balfour and Salter placed the cherries on top with breakaway fourth-quarter dunks, each fed by Brown, who finished with 21 points and 4 assists.
West Aurora made 5 of 18 tries from 3-point range overall but attempted only 4 shots from that territory in the second half.
"We felt like we were more physical than them," Balfour said, "so we tried to get the ball in the paint and not shoot as many threes."
Instead, the Blackhawks passed the ball inside to Salter and Balfour for up-close looks. The result? They shot 62 percent from the field over the final two quarters (18 of 29).
"We tried to make it a point to get the ball to Hezzy a lot more than we were in the first half," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said. "We moved the ball around well. We weren't just settling."
Junior Myles Leavy led the Mustangs with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting, senior Ethan Helwig finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds and sophomore Tahj Morgan contributed 10 points.
Senior guard Marquise Walker scored 9 points and dished 4 assists for West Aurora.