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Aurora Christian is on a roll, and a lot of its success comes from having everyone on the floor healthy.
The Eagles followed up a 39-point victory against St. Edward with an 84-41 rout of visiting Wilmington Tuesday night. It was the sixth victory in eight games for the Eagles, who improved to 15-12 on the season.
“We’re rolling downhill a bit now, trying to get ready for the playoffs,” Aurora Christian coach Pat McNamara said.
Eight players scored at least six points for the balanced ACS squad. The leading scorer was Wes Wolfe, who came off the bench to drop in 18 points.
The nonconference tilt looked to be an even matchup through the first 12 minutes, with Dan O’Leary keeping the Wildcats close with seven early points.
But when Wolfe hit the second of his four three-pointers with 3:24 left in the first half, Aurora Christian’s defense sparked its offense to a 15-3 run that closed out the first half with the Eagles up 35-22.
Wolfe got things going with a steal. He pushed the ball down the court and found Cory Windle open for a dunk. Moments later, Windle returned the favor by creating a fastbreak after a theft and assisting on Wolfe’s layup.
During the surge, Paxton Singer scored on a beautiful feed from Zach Singer. And Wolfe, who had 12 of his points by the intermission, scored after another Wilmington turnover.
The Eagles’ resurgence has had a lot to to with their shooting. They hit 15 of 26 shots in the first half and improved to 10-for-15 in the third quarter before the starters exited the game.
“We’ve got shooters — Aurora Christian’s had good shooters as long as I’ve been around,” McNamara said. “With our guys, we have to tone them down sometimes, get them to be patient and take a good shot.”
Aurora Christian drained 11 shots from behind the arc. In the first three quarters, Wolfe led a barrage of 10-of-15 shooting from long range. Ryan McQuade, who recently returned from a knee injury, made 3 of 5 from beyond the arc and finished with 11 points.
“When you’ve got five starters who can shoot, it makes it tough to defend,” McNamara said. “We’ve been moving the ball and playing very unselfishly lately and hustling. It’s good to have Ryan back in the lineup. You get a lot of leadership with him, and he’s always in the right spot at the right time.”
Wolfe and Zach Singer hit three-pointers at the end of the third quarter to widen the lead to 59-37 after three quarters. From that point, the reserves got a lot of action and Haydn McNelis and Grant Schweisthal played particularly well.
As for Windle, he hit a three-pointer and had three other field goals for nine points. All of his two-pointers were dunks, including the conversion of a perfect lob pass from Ryan Suttle.
The highlight for Wilmington came early in the third quarter when O’Leary (13 points) became the first Wildcat in over 20 years to reach 1,000 points.