With the basketball season well underway, boys and girls teams throughout the area are hitting their stride as they jostle for early position in both the conference races and for postseason seeding. Here are five teams that took steps in the right direction in the past week, listed in no particular order.
ELMHURST – Things should get real interesting real soon for York’s boys basketball team. The Dukes started conference play with wins over Proviso West (60-35 on Dec. 6) and defending West Suburban Silver champion Hinsdale Central.
DARIEN – The Hinsdale South boys basketball team is embracing a new motto this season: “Win today.” It’s a phrase Marcel Phillips and his teammates have taken to heart. “This year, I think we are focused, confident and playing with more purpose,” the senior guard said. “We have put in a lot of hard work during practices, and it’s showing early in the season.”
VILLA PARK – It’s early in the conference season, but the Willowbrook girls have emerged as the favorite in the West Suburban Gold. The Warriors picked up a crucial 60-54 win at Proviso East on Saturday and are now 3-0 in the league and 8-0 overall.
After trailing by 11 points early in the first quarter, Timothy Christian’s boys basketball team came back to beat Glenbard South 63-62 in overtime on Dec. 6. Connor VanderBrug had 18 points and Khali Valrie scored 15.
Montini’s girls basketball team had little trouble with Suburban Christian Conference foe Aurora Central Catholic in a 58-21 victory Saturday. Kelly Karlis recorded a triple-double (17 points, 12 blocks, 11 rebounds).
The girls basketball season is already a few weeks old, but there’s plenty to look forward to. Here’s a list of some of the most anticipated girls basketball games still ahead for Lyons Township, Riverside Brookfield and other area teams.
LISLE – Benet’s boys basketball team started the season strong and continued that trend over the weekend. After winning four games by double digits at the Hoops for Healing Tournament during the Thanksgiving weekend, the Redwings took on Redondo Union High School (Calif.) and won 55-46 Saturday.
BOLINGBROOK – In spite of some imperfections, Bolingbrook’s boys basketball team keeps winning. The Raiders eked out a 59-51 victory over Joliet Central on Friday in what was the SouthWest Suburban Blue Conference opener for both teams.
WESTMONT – Things might be different for Westmont’s boys basketball team if it could only move past the foul trouble that has plagued it in the early part of the season. The Sentinels fell to 1-5 after losing a back-and-forth game to Elmwood Park and a high-scoring tilt against Reed-Custer.
LISLE – High-flying first quarters propelled the Lisle girls basketball team to back-to-back conference wins. After the Lions’ second loss of the season – a 53-24 defeat at the hands Wheaton Academy on Dec. 3 – head coach Nick Balaban tested the girls, hoping they would answer the call and overcome the adversity of a busy early season schedule.
PALOS HEIGHTS – Lemont boys basketball coach Rick Runaas thought his inexperienced team was trending in the right direction.
CAROL STREAM – With Pasquale Fiduccia sidelined because of a wrist injury, Glenbard North boys basketball coach Joe Larson talked about other players needing to step up. Senior guard Jeremiah Fleming answered the call in the Panthers’ DuPage Valley Conference opener
DOWNERS GROVE – Confidence suits Downers Grove North’s girls basketball team just fine. The Trojans won just nine games last season, but head coach Stephan Bolt said that last year’s subpar showing combined with a handful of single-digit losses expedited the maturation process for a young squad which returned only one all-conference player – senior guard Sarah Costello.
DOWNERS GROVE – Two weeks into the regular season, the focus for Downers Grove North’s boys basketball team is finding more consistent play. After alternating wins and losses at the Wheaton Academy Thanksgiving Tournament, the Trojans dropped their first West Suburban Silver game, falling 59-35 to defending conference champion Hinsdale Central to move to 2-3 in the regular season.
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