Boys basketball: Andrew Wiggins, Oswego East get back on track, beat Yorkville

Wiggins scores 14, Wolves hold Foxes without field goal for nearly seven minutes in 54-40 win

Oswego East's Andrew Wiggins (1) plays the ball in the post against Yorkville's Michael Dunn (left) and Taelor Clements (21) during a basketball game at Oswego East High School on Friday, Dec 8, 2023.

OSWEGO – Andrew Wiggins was determined to rewrite Friday what he perceived to be a creeping narrative about Oswego East in his team’s 54-40 win over Yorkville.

Wiggins, a 6-foot-3 senior forward and Army football commit, played sparingly last season for a Wolves’ team that won the program’s first sectional title. Oswego East graduated four of five starters from that group and has a completely new look this year.

Back-to-back losses in the last week, the second to West Aurora snapping the Wolves’ 34-game conference winning streak, left Wiggins with a chip on his shoulder.

“The story was our seniors were gone from last year, and we were riding on their coattails, then West Aurora went out there and did what they did to us Tuesday. That made everybody think we are weak,” Wiggins said. “We had to get this one, get that statement win to remind people who we are.”

Consider the statement made.

Wiggins was one of three Wolves scoring in double figures with 14 points, and Oswego East held visiting Yorkville without a field for nearly seven minutes bridging the second and third quarters for the Southwest Prairie Conference win.

Wyoming recruit Jehvion Starwood scored 15 points and Noah Mason 10 for Oswego East (6-3, 3-1). Starwood’s spinning drive in the lane capped off a 16-2 run that gave the Wolves a commanding 38-23 lead with 3:32 left in the third quarter.

“Good bounce back win for us,” Oswego East coach Ryan Velasquez said. “I like the way we came into practice on Wednesday and Thursday. I thought our guys got better the last few days and it showed.”

Oswego East's Jehvion Starwood (22) dunks the basket ball during a basketball game against Yorkville at Oswego East High School on Friday, Dec 8, 2023.

Wiggins, whose 3-pointer started the 16-2 run, gave up seven inches facing off in the post against 6-foot-10 Yorkville senior Jason Jakstys, an Illinois recruit.

Jakstys did get 17 points and 13 rebounds, most of the action off six offensive rebounds, but Velasquez liked the performance Wiggins gave him.

“The effort out of Andrew was phenomenal tonight,” Velasquez said. “We knew Jakstys was going to be able to get some points, but we wanted to make sure whatever they got we challenged. Andrew played with a high motor, a lot of confidence, what we expect out of a senior leader.”

Wiggins scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half. Drawing the assignment of guarding someone taller is nothing new. Oswego East’s tallest starter is Mason, a 6-foot-5 guard.

“He [Jakstys] is about eight inches taller, got to play harder, box out, got to get lower than him, try to push him out and use your body,” Wiggins said. “I try to bring the toughness that we need. We all have to play tough and I have to be the example to that. I always get those bigger assignments.”

Jakstys had 12 of his 17 points in the first half and Mike Dunn added 10 points for Yorkville (3-4, 1-3).

The Foxes, with nine seniors led by Jakstys back off a 26-win team, were playing at full strength for the first time all season Friday. Bryce Salek, who Yorkville coach John Holakovsky called his team’s second-best player over the summer, played for the first time. Jory Boley was out last week with asthma and Jakstys barely practiced last week after tweaking a back first hurt in fall league.

Yorkville's Jory Boley (23) drives to the hoop against Oswego East's Noah Mason (10) during a basketball game at Oswego East High School on Friday, Dec 8, 2023.

Yorkville closed a 17-point third-quarter deficit to eight on Salek’s lone basket of the night, but looked like a collection of individuals still getting reacquainted with each other.

“We have a lot of talent, but we’ve been battling some stuff,” Holakovsky said. “I think the injuries are a big part of it. We were a pretty confident group this summer. I think that confidence has waned a little bit because we’re always searching. I think we’ve been searching for answers being down guys. Hopefully we settle in and get things going. It’s a long year.”

The Foxes struggled mightily against Oswego East’s 1-3-1 zone, going 0-for-12 from beyond the 3-point line. Yorkville’s players other than Jakstys missed 15 of their first 19 shots.

“We have a lot of guys who can make shots; we just couldn’t hit any threes tonight,” Holakovsky said. “Their zone packed it in, long and athletic, made it difficult on us.”

It also forced 14 Yorkville turnovers over the middle two quarters.

Michael Rembert’s 3-pointer gave Oswego East its biggest lead, 43-26. Salek’s basket closed Yorkville within 43-35, but Starwood answered with a beauty of a drive and shot over Jakstys.

“I thought collectively as a team we played more disciplined on the defensive end,” Velasquez said. “We were communicating very well and we were connected.”