Rick Armstrong: West Aurora off to fast startHEATHER EIDSON/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Mug of Rick Armstrong, Beacon News staff reporter. 7/22/09
Updated: November 29, 2011 8:35PM
Longtime fans of West Aurora basketball and coach Gordie Kerkman won’t be surprised.
Looking at the scores his Blackhawks put up last week in their 3-1 start to the season at the Rock Island Tournament, I noted they had been pretty consistent at the offensive end. West beat Rock Island 67-49, Peoria Richwoods 69-57 and United Township 66-60 before falling to the No. 7 team in the Sun-Times Super 25, Bogan, by a score of 70-66.
“Our defense needs some work,” said Kerkman, as I waited to hear the rimshot.
“That’s a lot of points for us (to score), we’re not a pressing team, we don’t push the ball. We’re not supposed to fire up shots right away, but sometimes we do. You’re not gonna see (a lot of) games in the 70s from us.”
The Blackhawks shot 48 percent from the floor against United Township and were above 50 percent in their first two games, but fell to 41 percent against Bogan.
“(Bogan) was a game I felt we could have won,” Kerkman said. “We gave up 39 points in the first half. We’ve really got to pay attention and stay focused (on defense). We shot 41 percent while they shot 54 percent.
“More importantly, they made 18 of 22 free throws while we were 5 of 8. That was the difference and it’s not a comment on the officiating, not at all. When you’ve got bad position, you’re going to draw fouls.”
West was led by tourney MVP and senior forward Juwan Starks, who averaged 23.2 points per game and “probably around 10 rebounds,” Kerkman said. “It’s one of the areas we’ve really been on him. He got on the boards very well and was just very active.”
Even better? Starks played under control.
“Last year, he was often in foul trouble early. This weekend he was never in foul trouble,” Kerkman said.
West guards Jayquan Lee and Jontrell Walker, who each scored in double figures in three of the four games, were also named to the all-tournament team.
Warriors start fast
Waubonsie Valley’s first foray north to the Palatine Tournament couldn’t have gone much better. Junior guard Jared Brownridge was named MVP after leading the Warriors to a 4-0 record and the team title.
In double-digit wins over Deerfield, Lake Zurich, Palatine and Niles North, the Warriors held their opponents to an average of 42.5 points.
“I was happy with our guys’ effort there (on defense),” coach Steve Weemer said. “We have to continue to build on our defense and make it a staple of our team. The kids all know there’s room for improvement.”
After making an hour-long drive each day, Weemer was especially pleased with the effort.
“I thought we played really hard and that’s huge for us because there’s not a lot of margin for error with us,” he said. “Everyone knows what Jared brings, but the other guys need to step up.”
Senior Brandon Malby joined Brownridge on the all-tourney team.
Robert DeMyers, a 6-5 senior forward, sparked Aurora Central at the Joliet West Tournament by turning in a pair of triple doubles in wins over Plainfield North and Plainfield South.
DeMyers had 18 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks (plus 6 assists) against North.
“I can’t remember another triple double since I’ve been here, and he came close to a quadruple double,” coach Nate Drye said. “He was an absolute monster.”
He followed it Saturday with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocks against South.
Coaches’ night out
The Aurora Noon Lions Club will hold its annual Aurora Basketball Coaches Night Thursday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Luigi’s Pizza, 732 Prairie Street, and the public is invited.
The event, which costs $10, will feature an all-you-can eat pizza and pasta dinner and conversation with the city’s seven high school and two college basketball coaches who have been invited to preview their seasons.
Oswego junior guard Jamaal Richardson did not play in last week’s Hoops For Healing Tournament. He is sidelined by a shoulder injury suffered in football. He was scheduled to have an MRI last Friday to see if surgery would be needed.
Guard Dean Danos, who scored about 20 points per game last season to lead Aurora Christian, is playing his senior season this year with Bishop Noll in Hammond, Ind. Danos transferred this summer and joined a team that finished second last year in Indiana’s Class 2A State Tournament.