Alexis Wiggins is the smallest starter among the 16 teams at Wheaton North’s Neibch Holiday Classic, but the junior guard made the biggest impact in West Aurora’s tournament-opening victory Monday.
Wiggins scored a game-high 16 points and made the game’s biggest basket when her three-pointer with 2:33 remaining in the game gave the fourth-seeded Blackhawks a six-point cushion. Wiggins added two more free throws nearly 30 seconds later to start a 12-point run that ended the game’s scoring for West Aurora.
The Blackhawks won 53-38 to defeat Waubonsie Valley for the second time this season in a holiday tournament. West Aurora won 55-51 at the West Aurora Thanksgiving tournament Nov. 30.
The Blackhawks won their eighth consecutive game and advanced to play fifth-seeded Lyons (7-3) at 6 p.m. on Dec. 26 in the quarterfinals while Waubonsie will play St. Charles East at noon the same day in the consolation bracket.
Before Wiggins’ three-pointer, her last of three in the game, Waubonsie (2-10) scored six consecutive points to nearly make a comeback by coming within 40-36 of West Aurora (10-1). Abby Phillips (team-high nine points) scored the last four points of that run, but the Warriors would add only one more basket for the rest of the game.
“It was big. I was feeling it,” Wiggins said of her three-pointer. “We had to play hard every game; be hard and hustle. We had to do everything we can for the win.”
The rematch between the two Aurora teams was much closer in the first half.
Waubonsie led 21-19 at halftime, but West went to the three-point shot to pull away in the third quarter. Taylor Jacobsen (10 points) ended the first half with a three-pointer for the Blackhawks and then the first three baskets of the second half came on 3-pointers by Taylor Jacobsen, Erin Jacobsen and Wiggins.
“I think they decided that we were going to play [hard],” Blackhawks coach Connie Siljendahl said. “We did not come out aggressive [early], but we were more aggressive in the second half.”
Waubonsie scored 17 points in the second half, but it was not enough to outscore West’s third-quarter total of 19 points.
Andrea Colin and Kendall O’Sullivan had seven points each for the Warriors. All of O’Sullivan’s points were in the third quarter.
“We made the mistake of allowing certain people to do their job on the floor,” Waubonsie coach David Owles said. “They hit the open threes. At least I thought they were open threes.”