HINSDALE – The final chapter will show a 61-50 loss against Benet in a sectional semifinal game, but the story of the 2013-14 season for Hinsdale Central’s boys basketball team is much more complex.
When taken as a whole, the Red Devils’ story was more satisfying than the ending to it.
“It was a wonderful season,” Central head coach Nick Latorre said. “It was a phenomenal year. Great groups of kids.”
The biggest highlight of the season was winning the title at the Class 4A Naperville Central regional. Chase Hamilton rebounded Thomas Ives’ missed 3-pointer and put in a layup that lifted the Red Devils (23-7) to a 53-51 victory against the host Redhawks.
Central also defended its West Suburban Silver title, the first time since 1996 and 1997 it won back-to-back conference crowns. A 50-47 win over WSS-leading York on Feb. 18 secured at least a share of the title, and a 56-48 win against Glenbard West on Feb. 21 clinched the outright title. The Red Devils won their final 10 Silver games and went 11-1 in conference.
Though Hamilton, Ian Bunting, Jacob White, Ryan Scales (the 2014 recipient of the Carson Peele Most Valuable Teammate Award) and Grant Lillard are among the key seniors who won’t return next season, Hamilton sees the Red Devils remaining competitive.
“It was a good two years and I only see it getting better next year with the guys coming back and some guys coming up,” Hamilton said. “Even though I’ll be gone, I’ll still be checking in on how these guys are doing.”
There were other highlights in addition to the regional and conference titles.
Central enjoyed a 10-game winning streak from Jan. 31 to March 7 and it went 4-1 at the prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament. The Red Devils’ only loss at Proviso West was a 45-44 contest against St. Joseph, a team that went on to win a Class 3A regional title. In fact, six of the seven losses came against teams that advanced past the regionals: York, St. Joe’s, St. Viator, Glenbard North, Fenwick and Benet.
The graduation of the seniors will sting, but there will be a solid foundation with juniors Jordan Bradshaw, Thomas Ives, George Kiernan and Matt Rafferty expected to return. Bradshaw and Rafferty were starters and Ives and Kiernan were key reserves in a season that was nothing but successful.
“There is nothing negative about this group at all. It was all very positive,” Latorre said. “Every day in practice they worked hard and had super attitudes. I thought because of the way they are and they way they went about their business, it really elevated the school pride in the team. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the team. It was a lot of fun. It was a great group of kids.”
Senior roll call
• Ian Bunting
• Chase Hamilton
• Max Hartzman
• Grant Lillard
• Marco Milojevic
• Kevin Nelson
• Ryan Scales
• Drew Wallace
• Jacob White