Davis' career night sparks Aurora Christian
Taaj Davis' career night was an equal opportunity moment.
A senior guard on the Aurora Christian boys basketball team, Davis scored 17 points in each half as the Eagles downed St. Edward 77-49 Friday night at the Burney Wilkey Classic at home.
The Eagles (3-0) will face Indian Creek in the championship game on Saturday night.
The Green Wave (5-2) will play in the third-place game against Aurora Central Catholic; the Chargers defeated Joliet Catholic 62-55 to move .500 on the season (3-3) behind a game-high 18 points from Donovan Grunloh.
"The 34 points were spectacular, but he carries the team on the offensive and defensive ends," Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe said of Davis' performance. "He gets us in spots where we need to be."
Aurora Christian never trailed as Davis' back-to-back 3-point plays in the opening quarter were the centerpiece of the Eagles scoring 19 of the 24 first-quarter points.
"The game was won in the first half on the defensive end," Beebe said.
"I have put in a lot of work in the off-season," Davis said. "I am being confident and aggressive."
To make matters worse for the Green Wave, varsity newcomer Danny New augmented Davis' career-high night with 12 of his 18 points in the first half.
"My teammate, Danny, got pretty hot," Davis said. "(The St. Ed defenders) couldn't really commit to me."
"We didn't guard him very well today," St. Edward coach Andy Zielinski said of Davis.
St. Edward received an undeniable boost from sixth-man Jacob Breier, who connected on three 3-pointers in the first half.
"We have the pieces to be a good team," Zielinski said. "I told (the players) that we could be good, but we have to play for 32 minutes."
Davis repeatedly slashed to the hoop for inside scores; the senior was also polished at drawing falls as his 8 made free throws represented the entire Aurora Christian output in the game.
The Eagles lost a pair of two-year starters in Will Wiolfe and Jaehshon Thomas to transfers.
"As soon as they left, I knew I had to pick up my play," said New, who hit two 3-pointers in the first half as part of his 18-point effort. "Taaj has helped me a lot. I like this team."
St. Edward quadrupled its first-quarter output with 20 points in the second quarter.
But the Green Wave, paced by a team-best 16 points from JP McGuire, never came closer than 13 points the remainder of the game.
Sebastian Oquendo added 11 points for St. Edward.
Daniel Walker was the third Aurora Christian player in double figures with his 10 points off the bench.
"I like the make up of this basketball team," Beebe said.