Put aside any notion that No. 25 Aurora Christian, the area’s only undefeated team, is a Class 1A shrinking violet just happy to be in the rankings.
“A lot of people disregard us because we are Class 1A but I think we can play with a lot of 4A schools,” Aurora Christian senior Jake Wolfe said. “Honestly I think a lot of 4A schools are scared to play against us.”
The Eagles knocked off Oswego East, an above-average Class 4A team, 62-54 on Saturday in the Ernie Kivisto Hoopfest at East Aurora.
Wolfe, a Lipscomb recruit, scored nine points in a 13-2 fourth-quarter run that turned Oswego East’s four-point lead into a 59-52 deficit.
“We buckled down on our defense and put in our hearts that we were going to stop them and they weren’t going to score on us,” Wolfe said. “I took it personally, to score the buckets. I was dishing it in the first half but I knew down the stretch I was going to finish it and help my team win.”
Wolfe finished with 22 points and six rebounds. He shot 9-for-14 from the field.
“He’s been doing that his whole career,” Aurora Christian coach Dan Beebe said. “You expect the four year starter to step up and do the things he does. As a coach it is nice to have that in your back pocket, no doubt.”
Wolfe’s younger brother Will, a 6-6 sophomore, drained a three-pointer the started the run with 4:54 to play and finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.
“[Beating a Class 4A team] matters a lot,” Jake Wolfe said. “We marked this game at the beginning of the year. We live close to them and obviously we like to prove ourselves.”
Junior Raymond Dennis led Oswego East (15-7) with 16 points and Kamron Battle added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Aurora Christian (21-0) won the small school title at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington over the holidays. The Eagles have three regular season games remaining, Thursday at Winnebago, Feb. 10 against Wheaton Academy and Feb. 15 against South Beloit, Wis.
“All of us know it is cool that we are undefeated but we are looking for the endgame,” Jake Wolfe said. “We like the record but we are more focused on the state championship in March.”
“It’s an old cliche but we are looking at game number 22,” Beebe said. “We might look back a long time down the road at what our record is. But if we get ahead of ourselves we are missing what the grind of the basketball season is.”
Winnebago (19-1) is a Class 2A power. Its only loss this season was to Aurora Christian in Bloomington, 49-44.
Wolfe wasn’t at all worried about giving the Indians bulletin board material when a reporter asked if Oswego East was the best team he had faced this season.
“I think Winnebago is talented but [Oswego East] plays harder,” Wolfe said.