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Oswego's Elliott McGaughy steals the ball from Bolingbrook's Prentiss Nixon during the 4A regional championship in Batavia on Friday, Mar. 1, 2013. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
A partnership that began 14 years ago at the Aurora YMCA came to full fruition Friday in Batavia. Oswego’s Miles Simelton and Elliott McGaughy, two talented senior guards basically unknown outside the far Western suburbs before the season began, teamed up to knock off Bolingbrook 72-59 and win a Class 4A regional.
Midway through the third quarter, McGaughy stole the ball and streaked down court. While the Raiders and the crowd were still trying to figure out what had happened, McGaughy had already thrown the pass and Simelton was already in the air. Simelton slammed down the alley-oop dunk to put the Panthers ahead by 15.
Bolingbrook star Ben Moore did his best to help the Raiders get back in the game, but it was hopeless. The seamless connection between McGaughy and Simelton wasn’t about to allow that large of a lead to be squandered.
“We know each other well, really really well,” McGaughy said. “We’ve been playing together since we were 3 years old at the Y. I know pretty much where he is and what he’s going to do without thinking about it.”
McGaughy (17 points) and Simelton (25 points) are well known to area coaches now, and the defensive game-plans reflect that, which makes the emergence of senior Darion Reddick (18 points) so important.
“Everyone has figured out that we have two big-time scorers so they draw a lot of attention,” Oswego coach Kevin Schnable said. “[Reddick’s] confidence has just grown through the season. He’s had a lot of open shots and now he’s getting more aggressive.”
The Panthers (28-2), faced some heavy competition early in the season, but dominated a down Southwest Prairie for the last month.
“I’m not going to lie I was a little concerned about that coming into the playoffs,” Schnable said. “We ran the table in the SPC, but our guys are gutsy. They are seniors and just fun to watch. Coaches have to worry about something.”
Sophomore Zach West came off the bench and added 10 points for Oswego.
“That’s just huge for a sophomore in a regional final game,” Schnable said.
Moore, a 6-7 SMU recruit, scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Raiders (20-8). He scored 13 in the third quarter, a valiant attempt to keep his high school career alive.
“We just turned the ball over too much in the beginning,” Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said. “They had four guys in double figures. That’s a really good team. You have to pick your poison with them.”