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As a part of last year’s disappointing six-win campaign, the West Aurora girls basketball team dropped its annual showdown with crosstown rival East Aurora.
This time around on Tuesday, however, the Blackhawks used the game to once again show that they are a different team this season.
West cruised to an 84-26 win over the Tomcats in nonconference play to improve to 9-1 on the season.
East Aurora fell to 0-9.
“Last year, we expected to win,” West senior Abriya Zeitz said. “This year, not only did we expect to win, we knew that we had to actually show up and do it.”
Zeitz and the rest of West’s starters wasted little time setting the tone Tuesday, roaring to a 22-4 lead out of the gates and never looking back. Zeitz led with 15 points, Liz Skaggs scored 10 and Taylor Jacobsen and Alexis Wiggins each had eight.
“Everyone showed up,” Zeitz said. “It’s games like this when it gets the younger girls to realize what they can do and get their confidence up.”
The bench scored 39 points for West in the win, led by Carly Frauenhoff’s nine points and eight apiece from Natalee DeJohnette and Kyler Robinson.
“We have so much depth, as you could see,” West Aurora coach Connie Siljendahl said. “Our younger kids are strong. We’ve never had that problem before, and that’s a good problem to have.”
West outrebounded East 56-25 and shot 36-of-60 from the field. East Aurora’s young squad struggled to keep up with the Blackhawks. Freshman Arie White paced the Tomcats with nine points.
“I just try to tell them to keep their composure the whole game, play hard for four quarters, not worry about the score,” East Aurora coach Lee Clayborn said. “Our freshman led us in scoring, which is a bright spot for the future.”
West turns its attention to next week’s Bill Neibch Holiday Classic at Wheaton North. The Blackhawks earned the fourth seed in the 16-team field, despite having a better record than Hersey, Downers Grove North and Willowbrook, all seeded ahead of them. West opens against Waubonsie Valley Monday at 3 p.m.
“I don’t think people believe in us yet,” Siljendahl said. “That’s what we try to tell the kids. They have to put it out there that we are real and we are here to play. We proved it tonight. They are here to play.”