The Hot Read: The story of Neuqua Valley's 48-27 girls basketball victory over East Aurora was defense. The Wildcats limited the Tomcats to single-digit scoring outputs in all four quarters on Wednesday night in semifinal play at the Class 4A East Aurora Regional. The Wildcats’ suffocated the Tomcats with an aggressive 1-3-1 zone. The Tomcats were harassed into a 9-for-49 shooting performance. Neuqua extended its perimeter defense so effectively that the Tomcats were 1-of-15 from beyond the arc. East Aurora turned the ball over 24 times, and its woes were further exaggerated with nine missed free throws. Neuqua Valley led 25-16 at halftime. The Tomcats never came closer than nine points in the second half, and the Wildcats gradually created separation. The Wildcats’ lead was 15 after three quarters, and Neuqua scored the final six points of the game to account for the final score.
Patch's MVP: Neuqua Valley senior forward Alexa Wilde. The Wildcats’ leader was the only player on either team in double figures, scoring 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting. Wilde was whistled for her fourth foul with 5:28 to play in the third quarter yet still played the final 10 minutes without fouling out.
Key Stats: Neuqua Valley held the Tomcats’ explosive backcourt duo of Jasmine Plummer and Jazmin Villa to a combined 4-of-25 shooting performance. East Aurora could never solve the Wildcats’ 1-3-1 zone, and the Wildcats, who had their own issues creating an offensive rhythm, used second-chance points to further their cause. The teams had an identical number of rebounds, finishing with 37 each. East Aurora, after three field goals in the opening quarter, was held to two each the remaining three quarters.
Neuqua Valley Leaders: Wilde (14 points, 5 rebounds), Allison Hedrick (9 points, 5 rebounds), Najee Smith (6 points), Malia Smith (6 points), Megan Doody (6 points).
East Aurora Leaders: Jazmin Villa (7 points, 2 steals), Jasmine Plummer (6 points, 2 steals), Virginia Handley (4 points, 5 rebounds).
Quotable I: Neuqua Valley guard Megan Doody on the nature of the play: “It was such a physical game. My goodness, it was like a football game out there. There were bodies flying all over the place.”
Quotable II: Neuqua Valley forward Alexa Wilde on picking up three fouls, her fourth overall, two and half minutes into the third quarter: “I haven’t played with four fouls the whole season. I chose not to be timid or hesitant.”
Quotable III: East Aurora coach William Anderson on his girls’ play: “The girls played hard; we just didn’t play smart.”
Team Records: Neuqua Valley, the fifth seed in the Class 4A Romeoville sectional complex, is 20-7 and meets fourth-seeded Naperville Central for the regional championship on Friday night. East Aurora, the No. 12 seed, closed out its year at 14-14.