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West Aurora's Matt Dunn scores on a fast break defended by Wheaton Warrenville South's Keishawn Watson Friday in Aurora. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
In over a half century of coaching high school basketball, you would think West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman had seen it all.
But there is a first time for everything.
To the best of Kerkman’s knowledge, he had never recalled a team accomplishing what his Blackhawks did in the first half Friday against WW South, as West held the Tigers to zero field goals on 0-for-17 shooting while forcing 11 turnovers. That led to a 34-4 lead at the break and a 56-29 win in the DuPage Valley opener for both teams.
West (4-1 overall, 1-0 DVC) filled the half court with defense and worked well both on the ball and away from it.
“(Help-side defense) has been one area where we had been a little weak but it was something we addressed and the kids responded pretty well,” Kerkman said. “Overall this may have been our best ballgame (of the season).”
Senior center Josh McAuley, who had 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, credited a little extra “film” work for West’s improvement on defense. The Blackhawks pitched a 21-0 shutout in the second quarter, and the Tigers (0-1, 0-1) didn’t get their first bucket until Michael Kramer knocked down a jumper 39 seconds into the second half.
“We watched a lot of the Ohio State-Duke game and coach told us to watch Ohio State’s defense, we went off of that and it worked,” McAuley said. “(The Buckeyes) get on you and if someone gets past there is help side to recover and it makes life easier defensively, which eventually leads to transition (offense).”
West posted three players in double figures, with Jontrel Walker scoring a game-high 17 points, while Chandler Thomas joined McAuley with 10 points.
Aiden Hernandez scored 10 points for South, while Keishawn Watson and Brett Streubing had seven apiece.