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Experience a strength for Red Devils

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(Staff photo by Bill Ackerman)
Sam Jones (left) guards Ian McKee at Hinsdale Central boys basketball practice on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.

At a glanceCOACH Nick Latorre2011-12 RECORD 17-10 (8-4 in West Suburban Silver)FIRST GAME TBA Nov. 20 vs. Hinsdale South at Hinsdale South Thanksgiving tourneyTOP PLAYERS Brian Owens    sr.    G Matt Rafferty    so.    F Chase Hamilton    jr.    G Alec Hutcherson    sr.    G Ian Bunting    jr.    F

13.4 Average points per game last season for Tom Garvin, tops on the team. Garvin graduated in the offseason.

WHAT TO WATCH Never one to get ahead of himself, Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre is cautiously optimistic about his 2012-13 Red Devils squad.

The pieces appear to be in place, now it’s about getting everybody healthy and on the same page.

“We are banged up,” said Latorre about his roster, which includes a core of guys coming over from the football team. “I hate saying that. I don’t know if we will be playing our best ball until later in the season. Hopefully everybody gets healthy and we start gelling. The quicker that comes about, the better.”

The Red Devils do return two key cogs in senior point guard Brian Owens and sophomore forward Matt Rafferty, the latter of which is generating plenty of Division I interest after an outstanding AAU summer campaign. Senior Alec Hutcherson and juniors Chase Hamilton and Ian Bunting should also be major contributors.

“I like the fact we are pretty balanced offensively,” the coach said. “We are capable of going inside and we also have shooters. That is a definite plus for us. We have a lot of weapons. When you have a lot of options, the opposing team will have to guard more than one guy.

“And I like our experience. We have a good core of guys that have legitimate varsity experience. They know what to expect and that bodes well for this group.”

After placing second in the West Suburban Silver conference a year ago with an 8-4 mark, the obvious goal would be to move up a spot this time around. But that won’t be easy in the very competitive league. “It’s a great league,” Latorre said. “I think Oak Park is the clear favorite. And I think it’s wide open after that. I think everybody is good.”

The Red Devils will also once again be challenged at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament which has expanded to 32 teams.

“There are no games off in any part of our schedule,” Latorre added. “It’s a great challenge for our guys.”

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