Waubonsie Valley avenges regional loss to West Aurora
It was as if Ben Schwieger had decided to personally script the conclusion of the second quarter for Waubonsie Valley.
Bound for Loyola, the Warriors' standout senior closed out the first half with 7 consecutive points against visiting West Aurora on Saturday afternoon.
Waubonsie Valley would only extend its comfortable advantage after the intermission before settling for a 58-46 nonconference boys basketball victory.
"We got easy looks and were running the offense," said Schwieger, who led two other teammates in double figures with a game-high 17 points. "We were really executing."
Schwieger and fellow returning starters Isaiah Smith, Tyler Helbing and Carter Langendorf had their season last year come to a stunning close to West Aurora at the Blackhawks' Class 4A regional last year.
"It's not exactly the same players," Schwieger said of the Blackhawks' heavy graduation losses. "It's still the name 'West Aurora.'"
Helbing (14 points) and Smith (13) would ably complement Schwieger; Langendorf exerted a noticeable defensive presence in the paint.
With West Aurora still missing its 6-foot-9 senior post Jon Dowd due to a broken finger, the Warriors' athleticism in the open court and their base offense proved decisive.
"We had a lot of great back cuts (for layups)," Schwieger said.
"We were focusing on shooting our best shots," Smith said.
The Warriors opened the third quarter in strong fashion in extending the spread to 20-point territory.
The Blackhawks would suffer their third consecutive loss to open the long-delayed season but played to the final whistle as Savion Little, Charlie Williams and Aidan Shire scored the final 8 points of the contest.
But the difference in varsity playing experience could not be dismissed.
Isaiah Siler, who scored all 6 of his points in the first quarter, was the lone West Aurora player who saw any playing time in the teams' playoff game last season.
"We saw it on film," Smith said of the Blackhawks' noticeable turnover. "They had a lot of seniors on the team last year."
The Blackhawks' greenness was particularly evident in transition defense.
Showing little sympathy, the Warriors illuminated the long-standing basketball adage that quality teams frequently score easy buckets.
"Our kids played pretty disciplined today," Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead said. "I was very pleased with our effort."
"We're working on stuff to try and get better," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said. "I didn't think about (the regional game) much. The circumstances are so much different now. (The Warriors) are a very, very talented team that can score in all five positions."
The Blackhawks' Kenyon Weekly and Ty Rogers, a pair of 6-6 junior forwards, led West Aurora with 10 and 8 points, respectively.
Little finished with 5 points for West Aurora.