AJ Vukovich is one of the top prep baseball players in the state.
The East Troy High junior is a standout pitcher who has already committed to the University of Louisville.
He might want to think about Louisville basketball coach Chris Mack and check into playing multiple sports.
On Thursday night in a key Rock Valley Conference game, Vukovich erupted for 35 points to lead the Trojans to an 81-60 win over Evansville.
Defending Rock champion and eighth-ranked East Troy ran its winning streak to eight in improving to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in the conference.
The 6-foot-4 Vukovich was the Rock’s player of the year last season and is well on his way to repeating. He came into Thursday night’s game leading the conference in scoring at 25.9 points per game and proceeded to put up 24 on the Blue Devils in the first half.
“You can only contain a guy like Vukovich so much,” Evansville co-head coach Kendall Butchen said. “He’s going to get his points.
“I thought we did a better job on him the second half, but then they had some other guys that stepped up.”
Evansville (6-5, 5-2) trailed by nine at half but cut the deficit to one at 46-45 on Davonte McAlister’s layup with 13:04 to play. East Troy answered on Quinten Lottig’s 3 that started an 11-1 run.
Vukovich had plenty of offensive support in the second half. Lottig had 15 of his 17 points in the second half, while freshman Chase Cummings added nine points.
East Troy coach Daryl Rayfield said team responded well to Evansville’s second-half surge.
“When it came time in the second half to make plays, we had some guys do that,” Rayfield said. “And as good as AJ was for us the first half, he trusted his guys the second half, and that’s why he’s such a special player.
“We play a tough nonconference, and that pays off in games like this. For a young team, I thought we responded well on the road.”
Evansville had four players score in double figures. Sulley Geske had 19 points and McAlister added 17.
The night, however, belonged to Vukovich.
The two teams meet again Feb. 14.
EAST TROY 81, EVANSVILLE 60
East Troy (81)—Lottig 6-2-17; Polakoski 2-1-6; Vukovich 12-11-35; Cummings 4-3-12; Nixon 1-0-2; Rosin 3-0-8; Hart 0-1-1. Totals: 28-18-81
Evansville (60)—Maag 4-1-10; McAlister 6-5-17; Geske 8-2-19; Anderson 1-0-2; Hill 4-3-11; Heinzelman 0-1-1. Totals: 23-12-60
East Troy 40 41—81
Evansville 31 29—60
3-point goals—East Troy 7 (Lottig 3, Polakoski 1, Rosin 2, Cummings), Evansville 2 (Geske, Maag). Free throws missed—East Troy 8, Evansville 9. Total fouls—East Troy 17, Evansville 19. Fouled out—Polakoski
Katie WTERFORD 52, DELAVAN-DARIEN 38