Oswego East's strong 2nd half sinks West Aurora
Mekhi Lowery had spent enough time on the pines.
"I got into foul trouble early in the game," Oswego East's 6-foot-5 said. "I had to come back early in the second half and get my rhythm back."
Lowery more than found his bearing in the final quarter of the Wolves' Southwest Prairie West boys basketball game with West Aurora Friday night in Oswego.
Lowery scored three times in transition during a fundamental recording of the game in the fourth quarter as the Wolves' dominant defensive effort was rewarded with a 53-40 victory.
In capturing a 10th consecutive win, Oswego East seemingly sent a message for a program on the ascendant.
The Wolves are 24-1 overall and are seeking to run the table in the league with its impeccable 12-0 start.
There was an unmistakable element of irony that the latest win would come against the Blackhawks, a program whose legacy of regional, sectional, supersectional and state hardware ranks at elite levels in Illinois boys basketball history.
"We're definitely happy with how we're doing, but we don't want to get complacent," said Oswego East senior forward Patrick Robinson, who came off the bench due to a minor disciplinary infraction to score 10 points. "Everybody is good in the playoffs. We don't want to go into the playoffs overconfident."
West Aurora (11-12, 7-5) was knocked below .500, suffering a nightmarish stretch after taking a 31-26 lead with five minutes and 31 seconds to play in the third quarter.
The Blackhawks would not score again for the remainder of the period.
Kenny Weekley hit a pair of free throws early in the fourth quarter for West Aurora.
But Oswego East, which employed two combination zones, did not allow a field goal for more than 11 minutes.
All the usual suspects of a scoring drought were evident -- particularly turnovers and suspect shot selection -- but Oswego East was not offering many respites in the process.
"When you're not hitting the three, the results are going to be what they are -- one shot and done," West Aurora coach Brian Johnson said. "We settled for a lot of jumpers. We have to finish at the rim instead of settling for jump shots."
Robinson hit two 3-pointers as Oswego East gradually assumed command as the third quarter came into focus.
Darren Oregon hit another jumper from beyond the arc to give the Wolves a lead never to be relinquished.
DeVon Oregon, who led all players with 15 points, gave the Wolves a 36-31 lead after three quarters.
"We got a run and kept it going," said Lowery, who had a symbolic throw down along the right baseline to cement the Wolverines' latest triumph.
Oswego East had more than overcome the Blackhawks' game plan to control the tempo as the dunk gave the Wolves a 50-33 lead.
Ty Rogers' early second-half explosion -- eight of his team-high 10 points -- was the offensive highlight for West Aurora.