East Aurora 68 Streamwood 65
It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for East Aurora, but the Tomcats were able to finish the regular season with a 68-65 overtime victory over Streamwood in an Upstate Eight Conference Crossover game in Streamwood Thursday night.
“We haven’t been in a lot of close ballgames this year, that was just our third win tonight,” said East Aurora (3-22) head coach Wendell Jeffries. “We lost a very close ballgame Saturday against Batavia where we had a 14 point lead and let it get away, and lost by one point. I think that experience on Saturday, the kids learned from it and they were able to prevail down the stretch. It’s a great thing going into the playoffs Monday at Oswego.”
The game went into overtime after East Aurora sophomore Jonathan Villezcas (8 points, 5 rebounds) made a lay-up as the fourth quarter buzzer sounded.
After DaJon Talbert (19 points, 6 rebounds) missed a three-point attempt, Villezcas grabbed the rebound and put in the lay-up to tie the game at 59-59.
“I knew we were down two, so I just grabbed it and put it up there,” said Villezcas
Talbert made a three-pointer on the Tomcats’ first possession of overtime. East Aurora then did the rest of their scoring from the free throw line, making six of their seven attempts in the extra frame. Streamwood’s Brent Kiesel missed a three-pointer as time ran out, clinching the Tomcats’ third victory of the season.
The Tomcats trailed 27-20 at halftime, but came out of the locker room on fire. East Aurora went on a 16-2 run to take a 42-35 lead midway through the third quarter.
However, Streamwood (4-21) fought back. Brandon Larkin-Guilfoyle (24 points, 6 rebounds) knocked down two free throws to tie the game at 48-48 with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter.
The Tomcats immediately responded with a 6-0 run to take a 54-48 lead, matching their largest advantage of the contest.
The Sabres came right back with a 7-0 run, capped off by a jumper by Jacob Siewert that gave Streamwood a 55-54 lead with two minutes remaining.
After East Aurora recaptured the lead, Siewert hit another go-ahead basket, this time a three-pointer that put the Sabres back on top, 58-57, with just 30 seconds left in the fourth. Ace Agdagdag later split a pair of free throws to extend the Sabres’ lead to 59-57 with 10 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing Tomcat possession, Talbert missed a three-pointer before Villezcas made the game-tying lay-up.
The Tomcats frustrated the Sabres with a pressure defense all night, forcing 21 Streamwood turnovers.
“We’ve got to execute better on offense, that’s our big thing,” said Streamwood coach Tim Jones. “I know we did some decent things, but we need to rebound better and be aggressive. We can’t turn the ball over like we did, it’s not acceptable”
Zach Harris (18 points, 12 rebounds) was able to notch a double-double for the Sabres, who face South Elgin on Monday in the St. Charles North regional.