One day after torching the nets for 92 points in a blowout victory, Aurora Christian's basketball team struggled to reach the 50-point mark Saturday night.
Shooting just 19 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (8-of-41) while failing to muster much of an inside game, the Eagles (3-1) suffered a 64-50 loss at the hands of tournament champion Joliet Catholic (3-3) in the inaugural Burney Wilkie Classic held in Aurora.
"We did not shoot very well," said Eagles coach Steve Hanson, who this week welcomed a handful of players from the recently crowned Class 3A state championship football squad. "It's frustrating but it is what it is. Some of these kids only had two practices and it really showed tonight.
"After we subbed, we had absolutely no idea what was going on out there. We just kind of muddled our way through it."
Actually, the Eagles appeared to be in pretty good shape at the outset, limiting the Hillmen to just 1 first-quarter basket while jumping out to a 13-5 lead.
Joliet Catholic coach Joe Gura was admittedly concerned after watching his team's first-quarter showing.
"When you're looking at 13-5 and you're looking at kids shooting threes from everywhere, plus they're bigger than you and pretty athletic, you're a little worried," said Gura.
Junior forward Ryan Peter helped solve a lot of his coach's worries when he drained four 3-pointers in the second quarter, as Joliet Catholic went on a 21-8 tear to open a 26-21 halftime lead.
Peter, who finished with a game-high 22 points, and Shakar Washington (21 points) combined to hit all 5 of Joliet Catholic's 3-point attempts in the second period.
"Shakar hit one and Peter hit two those nine points were absolutely critical to us coming back," said Gura.
Joliet Catholic connected on 9-of-16 shots from beyond the arc (56 percent), led by Peter's five 3-pointers.
"He hit some shots in the second quarter," Hanson said of Peter. "They really shot the ball well. It wasn't horrible defense. But you've got to give them credit. They were patient on offense and they got good shots. At times, we weren't patient and they made us pay."
CJ Schutt had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles, while Jake Hanson added 11 points. Sophomore forward Johnathan Harrell picked up 2 fouls in the first 50 seconds and could never get into the flow of the game. Harrell finished with 5 points before fouling out with 1:32 remaining.
"He's got to learn not to get the fouls early," said Hanson said of Harrell. "That hurt."
Aurora Christian trailed 45-31 after 3 quarters and never got closer than 9 points the rest of the way, as Joliet Catholic hit 17-of-24 fourth-quarter free throws.
"We settled for threes early but we've also got to work inside to want it," said Hanson. "We definitely need to get something in the paint way more than we did tonight.
"We've got a lot to work on this week but there were some positives. We played hard and fought hard at the end. We just didn't have anything offensively continuity-wise. That hopefully will come this week."