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Neuqua Valley's Zach Incaudo throws a no-look pass defended by East Aurora's Ray Velazquez Friday in Aurora. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Neuqua Valley was looking to keep its perfect record intact while also spoiling winless East Aurora’s home opener during Friday’s Upstate Eight Valley contest at Kivisto Gymnasium in Aurora.
Thanks to a 15-0 run in the second quarter, the Wildcats breezed to a 66-38 victory.
“We held them to one basket and that was a very good defensive effort, we were really proud of that,” Neuqua Valley coach Todd Sutton said. “We know from day one all of them shoot and everyone makes shots at East Aurora, so you guard them and they don’t make them, you don’t guard them and they make them.”
East Aurora (0-7, 0-3) fell behind 7-0 but was able to fight back thanks to a pair of three-pointers from both DeJon Talbert (9 points) and Ray Velazquez. The Tomcats pulled to within 20-15 when Fred Reynolds split a pair of free throws in the opening minute of the second quarter, but the Wildcats answered with 15 straight points — including 10 from Pat Kenny (17 points), who East Aurora didn’t have an answer for in the post.
“I think we had a big advantage size-wise inside and tried to work it in, and we have good shooters so that opened it for me and I got some good looks,” Kenny said. “I thought we did a nice job on second-chance points too, crashing the boards hard, and that’s something we work on in practice.”
Neuqua Valley (7-0, 3-0) committed eight turnovers in the third quarter, after giving it way just twice in the opening half. Such miscues allowed East Aurora to bite into its deficit, but it still found itself trailing 49-33 heading into the final quarter.
“We finally played better defense and took better shots,” East Aurora’s Jonathan Villezcas said.
The undersized Tomcats also ran into trouble when Villezcas picked up his second foul just five minutes into the contest. He was limited to six points and a pair of rebounds.
Jabari Sandifer scored 15 points and Connor Raridon chipped in with 10 points for the Wildcats who enjoyed a 33-24 rebounding edge.
East Aurora’s Fred Reynolds went 2-of-4 from the free throw line. The rest of his teammates combined to go 0-for-9.