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Ryan Suttle of Aurora Christian is fouled by Daniel Reiss (50) of Somonauk as he goes for a layup. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times
Things may have been up-and-down at times this season for Aurora Christian, but the Eagles appear to be playing like the team they hoped to be before the season started — and at just the right time.
The Eagles dominated Somonauk in Monday’s Class 2A Westmont Regional quarterfinal, 80-44, to move on to Wednesday’s semifinal against St. Edward.
Christian has scored 80 or more points in three of the last four games, including an 83-44 drubbing of the Green Wave — their next opponent — earlier this month.
“I like the teamwork,” ACS junior Johnathan Harrell said. “We’re all working well together. We’re finally clicking at the right time and peaking at the right moment.”
Somonauk (12-16) jumped out to an 8-7 lead in the first quarter, but from then on, it was all Christian (17-11). A 16-2 run followed to give the Eagles a 23-10 lead. Then the Eagles closed the half on a 17-1 run to push the advantage to 45-17.
In the first half, Christian had assists on 13 of its 19 made baskets, led by 14 points from Harrell. The Eagles also dominated the boards (23-12) and forced 13 turnovers.
“We did a good job of moving the ball tonight,” ACS coach Pat McNamara said. “Everybody got some touches early on. We got wide open shots, that’s what I like to see.”
Harrell was the recipient of that great ball movement time and time again. He scored a game-high 20 points despite sitting much of the second half with the game already in hand. He hit 6-of-9 from three-point range.
“After every single screen, they’d just kick it to me in the corner,” Harrell said. “I liked the ball movement from the team. Our team is doing a good job of making the extra pass. I hope I can do that for them and let them get their shots off.”
John Wathen led Somonauk with 13 points and Reece Bode added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Somonauk coach Ron Hunt said. “We had a decent season. They fought and competed all year. Aurora Christian was just a better team.”
The Eagles saw 13 different players score in the rout. Ryan McQuade scored 14 points off the bench and Paxton Singer added 10 for ACS.
Now the Eagles face a St. Edward team they dominated on Feb. 9 for a chance to play for a regional title.
“We told them on the bench halfway through the third quarter, let’s forget about this one and move on to St. Ed’s,” McNamara said. “They didn’t give them their best shot last time. (P.J. White) is a good coach. He’s going to have his kids ready. We have to be ready and come out strong. Everybody’s good the rest of the way, so we have to be ready to play. We can’t turn it on and turn it off.”