When an opponent’s big gun can’t seem to miss a shot and your big gun can’t seem to make one, a basketball coach figures to be in for a long evening.
Such was the case Monday night for Aurora Central’s Nate Drye, who has had his share of long nights this season. The Chargers got burned by Wheaton Academy junior guard Josh Ruggles, who scored a career high 33 points, and dropped a 63-42 Suburban Christian Conference makeup game.
“I just didn’t think about it, just stepped up and shot it when it was there,” said Ruggles, last year’s IHSA King of the Hill three-point shooting contest winner. “I can’t shoot like that unless my teammates are finding me and they did a great job of finding me tonight.”
Ruggles created a buzz last summer by making 135 3-pointers in five minutes, a world record documented on video that became a YouTube sensation. It got him an invitation to Spain where he defeated eight Spanish professional players, including former Chicago Bull Andres Nocioni, in a 3-point contest.
“We helped him a lot by leaving him wide open,” Drye said after his team fell to 3-16 overall and 1-7 in the league.
“If you’re a shooter and get left open you can do that. I’m disappointed because we had a great defensive effort tonight other than the job on (Ruggles).”
Ruggles opened the game by hitting his first nine shots from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers and a layup after making a steal at midcout in the first quarter.
He had 18 points at half, hitting all six shots from the floor, including four treys and also went 2-for-2 from the free throw line as the Warriors (14-7, 7-0) built a 37-22 advantage and cruised in the second half.
“(Ruggles) is a special kid and if he gets it going he’s gonna make it,” said Wheaton Academy coach Pete Froedden. “He’s a special player and has a special talent.”
Ruggles finished 9-10 on treys, his only miss coming on a twisting last-second heave that barely beat the third-quarter buzzer. He was 11-14 from the floor for the game.
Meanwhile, ACC sharpshooter Sean Harreld, who had a 44-point game a couple weeks ago against Walther Christian, made just 2-of-13 shots
(2-11 on 3s) and was limited to just six points.
The Chargers’ 6-7 Sean Anger, battling a Warrior frontline that goes 6-10, 6-8 and 6-3, also struggled. He was just 2-of-11 from the floor and finished with five points.
“Our offensive execution was good we just couldn’t throw it in the water tonight,” said Drye. “We did a good job of taking care of the ball and got great looks. It just wasn’t falling.”
ACC made just 26 percent (7-27) from the floor in the first half.
The Chargers were led by 6-3 Andy Czerak, who had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Chandler Fuzak added nine points for Wheaton Academy, but 6-8 Gordon Behr was held scoreless.