It was the battle of the last unbeaten teams in conference play in the DuPage Valley.
Junior guard Roland Griffin stepped up in the crucial contest for West Aurora (8-3, 3-0), scoring 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter for a narrow 62-56 victory over Glenbard North (9-3, 3-1).
“It felt great to contribute after being quiet for nearly the entire game. Someone had to step up in the fourth quarter, and I knew I could become that guy,” said Griffin.
“For him to come up big, it shows the type of player he really is,” said coach Gordon Kerkman.
It was the tale of two halves for the Blackhawks. The combination of poor shot selection and sloppy defense allowed the Panthers to stay in the game, trailing 26-23 at the half despite senior guard Jontrell Walker’s fantastic start to the game. He scored 12 points in the first two quarters, and finished with a total of 18 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
It was a tight game through the end of the third quarter. Sophomore forward Carleton Williams (8 points) successfully made a layup to give the Panthers a slim 46-40 lead and momentum.
Griffin then scored six straight points in the fourth to give the Blackhawks a 52-45 edge.
“He did not look like the same Roland I know,” quipped Kerkman.
The win ended a two-game skid for the Blackhawks.
“The victory was not as smooth it could have been , but we will take a win any way we can,” Kerkman said.