Aurora Christian punches state ticket by handing Indian Creek 1st loss

  • Aurora Christian players celebrates Tuesday as time ticks down in their game against Indian Creek in the IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) supersectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian players celebrates Tuesday as time ticks down in their game against Indian Creek in the IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) supersectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen shoots over Aurora Christian sophomore Jabari Sisco Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen shoots over Aurora Christian sophomore Jabari Sisco Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen tries to work around Aurora Christian senior Josh Cloyd Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen tries to work around Aurora Christian senior Josh Cloyd Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Aurora Christian senior Taaj Davis and Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen fight for a loose ball Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian senior Taaj Davis and Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen fight for a loose ball Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek's Cooper Larsen (left) and Michael Lampson as time ticks away in their loss to Aurora Christian Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek's Cooper Larsen (left) and Michael Lampson as time ticks away in their loss to Aurora Christian Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek junior Drew Gaston shoots between two Aurora Christian defenders Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek junior Drew Gaston shoots between two Aurora Christian defenders Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek's Brennen McNally, (left) Drew Gaston and Cooper Larsen (right) watch as time ticks away in their loss to Aurora Christian Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek's Brennen McNally, (left) Drew Gaston and Cooper Larsen (right) watch as time ticks away in their loss to Aurora Christian Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Aurora Christian senior Taaj Davis drives by Indian Creek junior Michael Lampson Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian senior Taaj Davis drives by Indian Creek junior Michael Lampson Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek junior Brennen McNally grabs a rebound over Aurora Christian senior Karsen Olsen Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek junior Brennen McNally grabs a rebound over Aurora Christian senior Karsen Olsen Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Aurora Christian sophomore Drew Meyers drives between Indian Creek's Tyler Swanson and Cooper Larsen as he goes to the basket Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian sophomore Drew Meyers drives between Indian Creek's Tyler Swanson and Cooper Larsen as he goes to the basket Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Aurora Christian sophomore Drew Meyers is fouled by Indian Creek's Cooper Larsen as he goes to the basket Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian sophomore Drew Meyers is fouled by Indian Creek's Cooper Larsen as he goes to the basket Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Aurora Christian senior Taaj Davis shoots between Indian Creek's Cameron Russell and Cooper Larsen Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian senior Taaj Davis shoots between Indian Creek's Cameron Russell and Cooper Larsen Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Aurora Christian sophomore Danny New gets by Indian Creek senior Cooper Larson Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Aurora Christian sophomore Danny New gets by Indian Creek senior Cooper Larson Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

  • Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen is surrounded by three Aurora Christian defenders Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University.

    Indian Creek senior Cooper Larsen is surrounded by three Aurora Christian defenders Tuesday during their IHSA Class 1A DeKalb (NIU) Super-Sectional in the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University. Mark Bush / Shaw Media Illinois

 
 
Updated 3/11/2020 12:44 AM

DEKALB -- The Aurora Christian boys basketball team slew the giant.

The Eagles made it look surprisingly easy, actually.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Aurora Christian avenged a pair of December losses to previously unbeaten Indian Creek with a 70-43 victory in a Class 1A supersectional at the NIU Convocation Center Tuesday.

The victory advances Aurora Christian (25-6) -- which lost seven of the top nine players from last year's Class 2A sectional semifinalist to graduation or transfer -- to a semifinal at Carver Arena in Peoria on Friday at 11 a.m.

The opponent will be Madison (26-10), which defeated Athens 68-43 in Jacksonville.

"Going into this year I didn't know where we would be, but I knew we were going to fight because that's our brand of basketball," senior guard Taaj Davis said. "We came in with a plan, we executed and the result came out."

Two key differences stood out between Tuesday's game and the Timberwolves' earlier sweep of the Eagles by 8 and 17 points, respectively.

First, when Indian Creek (35-1) paid extra attention to Davis like in both December games, his younger teammates stepped up. The senior guard was limited to 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting, but he delivered 4 assists and more secondary assists to facilitate points.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sophomore Danny New led all scorers with 21 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Sophomore Jabari Sisco finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Danny Walker delivered 9 points and 9 rebounds.

"They thought if they stop Taaj, the game would be over," said Davis, who made 5 steals and grabbed 6 rebounds. "That's what we wanted. They came to me, I gave it to my teammates and we were able to work from there."

Secondly, the Timberwolves did not shoot well. Indian Creek shot 31 percent from the field (16 of 52), 12 percent from 3-point range (3 of 25).

"They were playing some very aggressive defense and getting out on our shooters," IC coach Joe Piekarz said. "We had some open looks too, though. We had open looks and they just kind of rimmed out. I think sometimes when your start to play from a deficit and press a little bit, one miss leads to two misses, which leads to three misses."

Aurora Christian senior guard Karsen Olsen got the Eagles off to a fast start. He scored 5 straight first-quarter points on a 3-pointer and a putback to stake his team to a 13-4 lead. They led 14-8 after a quarter, 34-14 at halftime and 51-31 through three quarters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Getting off to that good start really helped us get a rhythm going on offense," said Olsen, who finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds. "And it really helped us on the defensive end to keep them out of the paint."

Davis defended Indian Creek junior point guard Drew Gaston, who scored 29 points in the first meeting. Davis focused him keeping him out of the paint to limit his scoring and his effectiveness passing out to perimeter shooters. Gaston finished with 7 points, an assist and 5 turnovers.

Indian Creek 6-foot-4 forward Cooper Larsen was limited to 9 points and 3 rebounds before he fouled out. He scored 25 points in the second win over Aurora Christian in December.

None of it surprised fourth-year Aurora Christian coach Dan Beebe, who takes the Eagles to the state finals for the third time in school history and the first time since a runner-up finish in Class A in 1995.

"Would I say (the margin of victory) would be 20-something? Probably not," Beebe said. "But I knew we could beat them by double figures. I really believed that. The guys really locked in defensively."

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.