Pontiac beats West Aurora to win first-round game for first time since 2006: ‘I could not stop screaming’

For the first time since 2006, Pontiac is moving on in the championship bracket. The Indians knocked off West Aurora, a preseason Super 25 team, 60-55 on Wednesday.

SHARE Pontiac beats West Aurora to win first-round game for first time since 2006: ‘I could not stop screaming’
Pontiac celebrates after beating West Aurora.

Pontiac celebrates after beating West Aurora.

Michael O’Brien/Sun-Times

PONTIAC–The Pontiac Holiday Tournament is a state treasure.

For 91 years, the small central Illinois town has pulled together and showered high school basketball teams and fans with hospitality and love for three days in December.

Every year the gym is packed for the home team’s first-round game. The Indians generally keep things close for a few minutes, the crowd cheers and then one of the best teams in the state blows them out in spectacular fashion. Then Pontiac heads to the consolation bracket.

Not this year.

For the first time since 2006, Pontiac is moving on in the championship bracket. The Indians knocked off West Aurora, a preseason Super 25 team, 60-55 on Wednesday.

“We have all been coming to these games since we were small and we’ve always had the dream of winning a game so it is crazy,” Pontiac’s Riley Weber said.

Weber scored 11 points, as did Henry Brummel. Kerr Bauman and Logan Barnett led the way with 18 points.

“I could not stop screaming,” Bauman said. “When we were up by four in the last few seconds I knew we were winning.”

Pontiac (8-3) led by one after three quarters. The Indians built a five-point lead with 5:16 to play but West Aurora (8-4) stormed back and led 52-51 after a rebound and basket by Billy Samp with 1:24 to play.

Bauman responded with a bucket for Pontiac and the Indians never trailed again. They shot 5 for 6 from the free-throw line in the final 18 seconds to seal the win.

“I’m so proud of these kids and I’m so happy for them,” Pontiac coach Matt Kelley said. “We played in some championship games early in the year and it paid off in the long run. We were used to the crowd noise and the atmosphere. The kids just played their tails off.”

Barnett is the only senior starter for the Indians, so they could pull off another upset next season. They will face top-ranked, undefeated Simeon in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

“That’s going to be great,” Weber said. “They are one of the top teams in the country and we are just going to have to battle with them.”

Jordan Brooks led the Blackhawks with 17 points.

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