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Aurora Christian did everything it could to overcome an early deficit. The Eagles even came out of the halftime intermission with no time for warm-up shooting.
There’s not much that could have stopped Wheaton Academy center Gordon Behr, who poured in 25 points to lead the visiting Warriors past Aurora Christian 69-54 in the Suburban Christian Conference opener for both teams.
Aurora Christian won’t be the only team in the SCC that will have trouble handling the 6-foot-8 Behr. The junior, who gave a prelude to his performance with a lefty hook on the opening possession, added six rebounds and four blocked shots to his stellar statistical night.
It was the second half that Behr did most of his damage, simply taking over the game by hitting 9 of his 14 shots. For the game, he was 12-for-21 from the field, mostly from post position.
“We didn’t play well defensively at all,” Aurora Christian coach Pat McNamara, who had praise for the play of the Warriors. “We didn’t play (Behr) well, and our perimeter guys need to do a better job of pressuring and making the entry pass difficult.”
The cold-shooting Eagles (3-2, 0-1) found themselves in a hole early and could never mount a challenge. A three-pointer by Josh Ruggles widened the Warrior lead to 19-7 and forced McNamara to call his second timeout of the quarter.
“I liked our patience, the way we moved the ball around and waited for a good shot,” said Wheaton Academy coach Paul Ferguson. “We moved the ball inside-out, which was our game plan. And we were able to challenge their shooters on defense.”
Senior guard Jake Cousins helped Wheaton Academy expand the lead to 33-19 at halftime. Cousins had 10 of his 14 points in the first half, and he also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Meanwhile, the Eagles struggled to 6-of-26 shooting from the floor and couldn’t keep the Warriors off the offensive glass.
Aurora Christian could never get the lead under the halftime margin, although Ryan McQuade did get hot with 12 of his 14 points in the final two periods. Wes Wolfe supported McQuade with 12 points, and Grant Schweisthal added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles.
“I told the guys before the season we had to accomplish three goals,” McNamara said. “We had to play unselfishly, and tonight we did not. We had to be a good defensive team, and so far we’re not. And we have to integrate the football players, and we have one game in the next 12 days to get after it in practice.”
For the balanced Warriors (6-1, 1-0), Gabe Partain and Ruggles also reached double figures with 10 points apiece.