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Elmhurst

Boys basketball previews: IC, Timothy look to replace leading scorers

VanderBrug leads new-look Trojans

IC Catholic guard Sean Sutton looks to pass during a game at Lisle last year. Sutton is a returning starter for the Knights this winter.
IC Catholic guard Sean Sutton looks to pass during a game at Lisle last year. Sutton is a returning starter for the Knights this winter.

The Thanksgiving holiday brings with it a slew of boys basketball tournaments to start the season. Monday was the first day boys basketball teams were able to play games, but most start the season at Thanksgiving tournaments, and as IC Catholic and Timothy Christian get going on the season they both hope to contend for conference and postseason success.

IC Catholic Knights

Coach: T.J. Tyrrell

Conference: Suburban Christian Gold

2012-13 record: 22-6 (9-1 SCC Gold)

Next game: 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29 vs. Indian Creek at Westminster Christian tournament

Top returners:

Clark Brinkman sr. G/F

Rhashaun Epting so. F

Ross Fleming sr. G

Sean Sutton sr. G

Anthony Taylor sr. G

Promising newcomers:

Troy Burrows so. G

Will Lyles so. C/F

Jordan Rowell fr. F

Outlook: The Knights return five of their top seven players from last year’s Suburban Christian Gold champion team.

However, one of the two players gone, Demetrius Carr, was the Player of the Year in the conference. Replacing Carr’s production will be difficult, but the Knights have quality players in place.

Leading the way are two all-conference returners, Clark Brinkman and Rhashaun Epting. Epting, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, showed just how much potential he had last season and will be looking to take the next step this season.

Three senior guards will run the offense. Anthony Taylor is a lockdown defender that will head up the Knights’ full-court press when they choose to use it. Sean Sutton started last year and Ross Fleming was a regular off the bench.

As for younger players on the roster, 6-foot-3 sophomore Will Lyles will play inside. Freshman Jordan Rowell, who played on the varsity football team as a running back, is a 6-foot-2 forward with good athleticism. Sophomore Troy Burrows also figures to be in the mix at guard.

In addition to aiming for a third straight conference title, in the final year before the Knights join the Metro Suburban Conference, IC also has a couple new teams on the schedule. Most notably, York will host IC on Jan. 11 in a rare battle between the two Elmhurst schools.

Timothy Christian Trojans

Coach: Jack LeGrand

Conference: Metro Suburban

2012-13 record: 13-15 (5-7 MSC)

Next game: Friday, Nov. 29 at Lisle Invitational

Top returners:

Wes Ditchfield sr. F

Khali Valrie sr. G

Connor VanderBrug sr. F

Promising newcomers:

Joe Bishop jr. G

Riley Chapman jr. G

Ben Lodewyk so. G

Robert McGivney jr. F

Outlook: The Trojans will again be led by returning top scorer Connor VanderBrug, but the players around him are different from last year.

VanderBrug, a 6-foot-6 senior who averaged 17.7 points and 7.8 rebounds as a junior, is the only returning starter on the team. Timothy graduated seven seniors last year, including 1,000-point scorer Danny Leach, and will need to refill its supporting cast.

Seniors Wes Ditchfield, Khali Valrie and Justin Rhiner saw time last year and will be called upon for more action this season. Sophomore guard Ben Lodewyk and juniors Joe Bishop, Robert McGivney and Riley Chapman will be among the newcomers pushing for playing time.

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