PONTIAC, IL — Curie doesn’t have a Player of the Year candidate, but they have a dozen very good players. The No. 2 Condors aren’t about flashy stats and high-major college recruits this season, they plan on winning by wearing teams down with their depth.
That plan worked to perfection in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament quarterfinals on Friday. Curie beat West Aurora 63-54.
“We finally have all our guys back so we can go 12 deep and wear teams down,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “We were able to be aggressive and turn up the defense in the second quarter because we had fresh bodies.”
Junior guard Marquise Walker had 19 points and five rebounds, he’s been one of Curie’s dependable threats so far this season. Dajuan Gordon, a long, athletic wing player, played the best game of his career. The junior finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
“It was great to do this on such a big stage,” Gordon said. “So many people want to talk to me now.”
West Aurora led 18-13 after one quarter, the Blackhawks started the game hot from three-point range. But Curie (9-1) took control in the second quarter and led the rest of the game.
Senior Jared Crutcher is one of the West Aurora’s biggest weapons. The 6-5 forward is a great shot blocker and rebounder. He was neutralized by Curie’s 6-8 Martin brothers, Tyree and Treavon.
“Our key was to make sure [Crutcher] didn’t dominate the offensive glass,” Oliver siad. “He gets 90 percent of his points in the paint. I told our guys to keep a body on him and when he’s got it keep your arms straight up. We did an excellent job of that and then kept attacking him when he picked up his second foul.”
Treavon Martin had 13 rebounds and Crutcher finished with four points and five rebounds. Junior Treavon Brown led the Blackhawks (8-3) with 18 points and Damian Virgen added 10.
Curie will face Oak Park in the first semifinal game on Saturday afternoon.