Traevon Brown emerges to lead West Aurora past Warren

West Aurora's Traevon Brown (11) works around Warren's Davis Catanus (12) for a shot during the Blackhawks' 72-50 victory in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, December 27, 2017. Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times.

PONTIAC, IL—Traevon Brown was one of the highly-touted incoming freshmen three years ago, billed as Aurora’s next superstar.

The junior guard transferred from East Aurora to West Aurora over the summer. He has a smooth, fluid overall game. Brown sparkled on Thursday, scoring 27 points to lead the Blackhawks to a 72-50 win against Warren in the first round of the 87th Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

“I’ve been adapting pretty well,” Brown said. “[West Aurora coach Brian Johnson] has been telling me to play my game and be comfortable. I was hesitating in the beginning but now I’m starting to get a better feel for it.”

Brown was also a major factor on defense with five steals.

“I’ve always been like that, just because I’m a fast player,” Brown said. I just anticipate.

West Aurora (8-2) was without star guard Camron Donatlan, who sat out after missing a game last week for a family vacation.

Donatlan is one of the state’s best athletes, a state track standout and Wyoming football recruit. Johnson said he will play in Friday’s quarterfinal game against Curie.

“[Donatlan] is a big part of our team,” West Aurora senior Jared Crutcher said. “I knew I had to really play today.”

The Blackhawks lost to St. Charles East without Donatlan, but Crutcher helped make sure that didn’t happen again. He finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks and was a dominant force in the first half.

“He does that pretty much every night,” Johnson said. “He had over 100 blocks last year, averages around three blocks a game. That is pretty normal for Jared. It’s nice that it is on a bigger stage. His length is deceiving. He’s 6-5 but he has a seven-foot wingspan. He cleans up a lot of stuff for us.”

Branden Ellis led Warren (6-5) with 16 points despite only playing 18 minutes. He picked up two fouls early and sat most of the first half. Barak Diehl added 13 points.

West Aurora has a major task in front of it on Friday against No. 2 Curie. Crutcher will have 6-8 Treavon Martin and 6-8 Tyree Martin to deal with.

“Those big boys are good,” Crutcher said. “I have to really play my game tomorrow,

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