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Waubonsie stifles East Aurora

02/01/2013, 11:43pm CST
By Tom Strong

Waubonsie Valley allowed only two points in the first quarter and only 13 by the half as the Warriors pulled away in the second half for a 56-30 victory.

Waubonsie's Gary Sutton draws a foul from East Aurora's Ray Velazquez (10) in Aurora on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media

Waubonsie Valley came close to doubling the score on East Aurora on its home court, but defense was the name of the game for the Warriors.

Allowing the Tomcats only two points in the first quarter and only 13 by the intermission, the Warriors pulled away in the second half for a 56-30 victory.

Using a hybrid zone and man-to-man defense with 6-7 junior Jack Cordes usually near the top, Waubonsie (17-7, 6-4 Upstate Eight Valley) thwarted any lane penetration by East. But the defense also didn’t allow the Cats’ best outside shooter, DeJon Talbert, any opportunities from the perimeter.

“Our shots weren’t falling early, but you can control your defense every night,” said Cordes. “I’m at the top and try to keep the ball on one side.”

East (3-19, 1-8) had a burst early in the second as Tyree Willis dropped in a jump shot and a three, and Ray Velazquez had a layup following a turnover.

But the Tomcats missed six of six free throws in the second while Jared Brownridge (game-high 23 points) made a long jumper and an old-fashioned three-point play. Bryan Jefferson drove the baseline to score as the Warriors led 23-13 at the half.

“We’re long and try to be active on defense, and tried to get them on their heels a little bit,” said Waubonsie coach Steve Weemer. “They play hard just like any other team, and if they get confidence, it’s the ballgame. So we tried to get them on their heels and have the defense create some offense for us.”

That offense began more in earnest after intermission as the 6-7 Jefferson (13 points) put back an offensive rebound and Gary Sutton dropped in a three. Brownridge nailed jumpers from the lane and the side, and Jefferson scored from close twice, one coming on a feed from Sutton.

“Our offense started better in the third quarter,” said Brownridge. “We knew we had to pick it up and we rallied around together. We kind of picked up the energy, and that’s what helped us.”

Jonathan Villezcas (team-high eight points) worked hard in the paint and scored five of the seven Tomcats points in the third, and opened the fourth by making a long three.

But the Warriors continued to pull away with crisp passing and ball movement. Jay Dehaan scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as his teammates continually found him open cutting to the basket.

“Being around the ball and knowing when to cut into the lane, it’s just from being around basketball for so long,” said Dehaan. “Know where the ball is and finding out when to cut.”

“Jared was a little bit sluggish tonight as he has been a little banged up. He’s not at full strength,” Weemer said in praise of his team’s leader. “He’ll get there again. He’s our leader — other teams know it and we know it. We’re proud of him, he’s playing well, and going to continue to play well.”

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