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Oswego's Elliott McGaughy (20) became the Panthers' all-time leading scorer Friday. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Four years ago Elliott McGaughy was an eighth grader watching Oswego’s improbable run that ended in a near upset of Champaign Centennial in the Class 3A state championship game.
McGaughy recognized the importance of a program coming off its greatest finish ever.
“It was very exciting,” the Panthers senior said. “I got moved up, with Miles [Simelton] to varsity on the first day [of high school basketball], and my coach [Kevin Schnable] gave me a huge opportunity to make something right away.’’
McGaughy has made his own history. The athletic 6-2 guard scored 31 points and grabbed nine rebounds to power No. 6 Oswego past rival Oswego East 73-60 on Friday. In doing so he became the leading scorer in school history. The following night, he scored a game-high 19 points in Oswego’s rout of Yorkville.
McGaughy has now amassed 1,458 points in his career. He surpassed previous record holder Chris Silagi, a 1999 graduate who scored 1,430. He is averaging 17.5 points a game to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
For his accomplishments, McGaughy is the Chicago Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.
“He is the most versatile offensive player I’ve ever coached,” Schnable said. “Putting him on the varsity as a freshman was a matter of us predicting his upside. You weigh the risk versus the reward. He didn’t play much as a freshman. He got to practice and play against better players on a daily basis, and he helped continue the success of our program, part of a group that got back to the supersectional.
“He learned what it takes to win.”
McGaughy believes his hard work and patience have paid off.
“When I was a freshman, I didn’t have the skills and ability that I have now,” he said. “I used to stay after practice, and coach got me on extra dribbling skills. As a freshman I was really a point guard. As time developed, I became a slasher and scorer.
“I just think my coach has pushed me to make me a better player.’’
Along with Simelton, McGaughy forms one of the state’s best and most electrifying backcourts.
In a second-round game of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament against New Trier, Simelton was forced to the bench with early foul trouble. McGaughy responded by scoring 28 points and adding five steals and three assists as the Panthers eventually finished third.
“I’ve known Miles since I was three years old,’’ McGaughy said. ‘‘We have a strong chemistry. We played YMCA, AAU and junior high together. If Miles is hot, I have to let him keep rolling and make sure I’m still involved.’’
The Panthers are currently 22-2, and seeking the top seed in the loaded Class 4A East Aurora Sectional. McGaughy’s focus is on a larger objective.
“I want to make sure we go from good to great,” he said.