Oswego East handles West Aurora
Sam Schultz's first action of the season certainly gave Oswego East some added energy and enthusiasm during Friday's Southwest Prairie Conference game at West Aurora.
But it was balanced scoring and a terrific overall performance from Grayson Goetz that keyed the Wolves 61-47 win.
Grayson was one four Oswego East players to score in double figures. The 6-foot-2 senior was also huge on the glass with 10 rebounds and in ballhandling against the pressure defense of the Blackhawks.
"He always works hard in the gym and he just wants to be that guy," Schultz said of Goetz. "That's what he does. He gets rebounds and points and even just getting the ball up the court for us. He gets it all done."
Goetz scored 11 points, but it almost felt like double that. Both of his baskets in the first half came on putbacks and his pullup jumper in the third quarter was part of an 11-0 run that broke the game wide open.
"He's one of the leaders of the team who leads in so many ways," Wolves coach Ryan Velasquez said. "He was the quarterback out there today, per se, and that's what we expect out of him. A cool, calm, collected kid who gets us where we need to be and we look for his leadership day in and day out."
West Aurora (3-7, 1-4) was able to hang with the Wolves in the first half thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Christian Nieves and one apiece from Kelvin Balfour and Kenneth Dyson. But many of the Blackhawks' long-range shots clanked off target.
Through three quarters, the Blackhawks had just four two-point baskets while Oswego East had 18.
"I thought (we) did a pretty good job of executing our defensive game plan, especially in the first half," Velasquez said. "We gave up a few to many there in the fourth quarter so we've got to clean up our closeouts a little better, but overall I'm pleased with the effort on the defensive end. But we're far from being perfect."
Oswego East (7-3, 4-1) welcomed Schultz onto the hardwood in the opening minute of the second quarter. The 6-foot-8 senior had been out with a meniscus injury sustained over the summer. His presence alone made an impact. He also knocked down a couple of buckets and grabbed a couple of rebounds, playing almost six minutes total spaced out among three entries.
"Having been on varsity for three years, it felt good just to be back out there," Schultz said. "It's been so long so it's more humbling because you never know when it can be taken from you."
Schultz received clearance from his doctor to play limited minutes until early January.
"And then I can do what I want," Schultz said. "By Jan. 10 I'm going to go with no restrictions."
Will Wolfe led the Wolves with 13 points. Rithik Ganesan and Jalen Tucker each added 10 points apiece while AJ Johnson drilled a pair of three-pointers off the bench.
"Everyone has faith in each other and has worked so hard to get to this point," Goetz said. "We all can be that guy so other teams can't game plan for one guy. It has to be everybody."
The Blackhawks, who trailed by as many as 22, received a game-high 14 points from Balfour while Dyson added 11 points off the bench.
"(Oswego East is) a very good team," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said. "They played within their system. Oswego East is talented, physical and skilled. They forced us into taking contested looks and did a great job of keeping us out of the paint."