GLEN ELLYN – When news broke in November that leading scorer Keith Hayes was moving back to Arkansas, Glenbard West’s boys basketball season could have gone one of two ways.
Rather than feel sorry for themselves, the Hilltoppers chose to compete and finished the campaign with a very respectable mark of 14-14 despite featuring a younger roster.
“All the kids thought in terms of the point-production loss,” Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder said. “But there was also some opportunities for themselves as individuals. And they had confidence in themselves as group. We played all summer without Keith so it wasn’t like, ‘What do we do now?’
“Overall, the season was good in terms of we had some seniors step up and we had some underclassmen get a lot of experience. The only real negative was Reid Colliander didn’t get to have much of a senior year [due to injury and sickness].”
A large share of credit must be heaped on senior Corey Davis, who was in his third year on the varsity.
“He contributed in every aspect of the game,” Hoder said. “He’s not just a point guard who get assists, he scored, he defended and he rebounded. Most importantly, he got the ball to other kids and created shots for them.”
Will Reedy, Max Montgomery and Abdulla Alzamli (along with Colliander) rounded out the senior class.
“They brought a great attitude,” the coach said, “and they made a commitment to basketball. It’s really important to have a core group of guys who are committed to your program. They kept showing up and they kept battling. They stuck with it.”
The Hilltoppers will return a nice core next year in juniors Kalen Starkey and Aidan Gould and sophomores Brian Cochrane, Justin Pierce and Alex Passi.
“The three sophomores were able to get a lot of playing time this year,” Hoder said, “and we also had some junior kids who got a lot of experience. They got a lot of opportunities to get in games and improve and that’s a real positive.
“The biggest thing, our younger kids have to get stronger. I know they will play a lot of basketball and I know their skills will improve. We have to get in the weight room and [also] hope they fill out a little bit. They also have to step up and take leadership roles because Corey has been that leader the last two years.”