AURORA – With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the Wheaton Academy boys basketball team practiced a virtue that is so important this time of year – patience.
The Warriors took their time on offense and made good decisions that led to a key, 69-54 Suburban Christian Conference Blue win against Aurora Christian on Tuesday night.
“In the first half especially, our emphasis was to stay very patient and play inside out,” Warriors coach Paul Ferguson said. “Our guys executed that very well and finished the job.”
Warriors senior forward Gordon Behr finished with a career-high 25 points, scoring 18 in the second half.
“He was just a sparkplug for us and he’s been like that all year,” Ferguson said. “He worked hard and really played unselfish basketball.”
Wheaton Academy (6-1, 1-0 SCC Blue) wasted little time getting its offense started as the Warriors jumped out to a 14-5 advantage on a steal and a basket from Jake Cousins, who finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Aurora Christian fought back to close within 25-15 on a basket from Ryan McQuade at the 3:07 mark of the second quarter, but Wheaton Academy kept its composure and finished the half scoring six of the last 10 points to take a 33-19 edge at the break.
“We had great team chemistry and our guys played hard,” Ferguson said. “Our offensive patience and our unselfishness was great. I would’ve liked to see us play a little better defensively, but I thought we moved the ball extremely well.”
The Warriors extended their lead to as much as 20 in the second half at 62-42 on a basket from Behr with 6:10 left in the contest. Both Brandon Ruggles and Gabe Partain finished with 10 points each in a contest that took less than an hour and a half to complete.
McQuade led shorthanded Aurora Christian (3-2, 0-1) with 13 points. The Eagles were without starting wing Johnathan Harrell (concussion).
“We needed to play much better defense because we played an awful game against a really good team,” Aurora Christian coach Pat McNamara said. “We didn’t get good pressure on their perimeter guys, and that hurt us.”