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Aurora Christian's Ryan Suttle goes to the net during their game at Lisle High School on Monday, December 17, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
After dropping its last three games, Aurora Christian went back to the basics against Lisle in nonconference play Monday.
The Eagles played tight perimeter defense, forcing 18 turnovers, and fended off a late Lions charge to post a 62-54 win and get back to .500 (4-4) on the season.
“I feel like we played great defense,” said Aurora Christian junior Johnathan Harrell, who had six steals. “We came off a three-game losing streak and we were just hungry to get out there and play good defense because our defense would bring us good offense, which it did tonight.”
Aurora Christian fell behind 8-2 to Lisle (6-5), but a 9-0 run in which all five starters scored helped the Eagles get back into the game. Then the defensive pressure started to bear fruit on the offensive end before the half. An 11-0 run capped by two free throws and a three-pointer from Harrell pushed the lead to 35-23 with 1:03 left in the half.
“We played really good perimeter defense all night,” ACS coach Pat McNamara said. “We got out and got after people, that was nice to see. On the offensive end, I thought we shared the ball. That’s been one of our areas of concern. In that second quarter, the ball was alive out there coming up and down on the break.”
The Eagles maintained the lead through the third quarter and opened the fourth by scoring the first five points, opening up a game-high 58-42 lead. But Lisle had one more run. The Lions went on a 12-2 spurt to cut the lead to 60-54 in the final minute, but could get no closer.
“We got a little passive,” McNamara said. “We stopped attacking the basket.”
Lamont Ross and Jeremy Glavanovits scored 13 each to lead Lisle. Dawon Burrell added 10 points.
Point guard Ryan Suttle led all scorers for Aurora Christian with 18 points. Harrell scored 13 and Cory Windle added 10.
“Suttle played his best game of the year,” McNamara said. “He played great defense, took the ball to the bucket. He did a nice job out there. I think he was in control out there. He took care of the ball for the most part.”
The Eagles host Newark Tuesday before opening play in the Plano tournament Saturday against Streator. They now have 10 practices and eight games under their belts with their football stars and are starting to get acclimated to McNamara’s new system.
“If we keep the chemistry, we’ll be really good,” Harrell said. “As long as we keep going like this, I think we can make it to state.”