Boys Basketball Top Performers: Week 4

We’re a month into the boys high school season. Though COVID-19 is doing its best to slow things down, we made it to the Christmas tournament season. There’s finally been enough games for the undefeated logo map to come back.

This is the introduction of a boys version of the column Kaleb Carter has run for the past few weeks on the girls basketball side: top performers.

There are 700-plus teams and literally hundreds of players have great performances each week. Here are 10 teams and 10 players that caught my eye this week, in no particular order.

This will run each week the rest of the season, so get in touch.

Notable Week 4 Team Performances

Rockford Auburn

Beat previously undefeated Boylan (8-1, 4-1) 47-43 on Friday to move to 9-2 overall and 6-0 in the NIC-10. The Knights trailed 15-4 and were down a point in the final seconds before scoring five quick, chaotic points (below).

Auburn also knocked off a now 7-3 Rockford East team 59-50 earlier in the week. The Knights square off with undefeated Oswego East (11-0) on Wednesday at Hinsdale Central.

Oswego East

Speaking of, the Wolves are off to an 11-0 start overall and 5-0 in conference after a 41-28 win over Plainfield North. They can play in up-tempo matchups too, holding off Yorkville Christian and Duke recruit Jaden Schutt 91-87 on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Patrick Robinson scored 34 in that win.

Unranked to start the season in the Sun-Times rankings, Oswego East is up to No. 13.


Sure, its three opponents last week have a combined record of 12-17. But Larkin’s average margin of victory was 50 – five-zero – points against Johnsburg, Glenbard East and Fenton. The Royals are 9-1 and 5-0 in the Upstate Eight. They average 73.5 points per game, which is hard to do no matter who you play.


Two really good wins on the week to move to 9-1: The Blue Devils handed Moline its second loss of the season 63-49 on Friday. They followed that up with a 59-37 win over Quincy Notre Dame (5-3) in a crosstown showdown.

Freshman guard Bradley Longcor led all scorers with 20 points against QND.


Despite the loss to Quincy, Moline finished the week 2-1 with wins over Rock Ridge and North Scott (Iowa). More importantly, coach Sean Taylor won his 600th game on Saturday as the team moved to 7-2.

Cerro Gordo-Bement

The Broncos are 9-1 after wins over Monmouth-Roseville (55-40) and DeLand Weldon (66-18). The 1A squad is beating teams by nearly 17 points per game, and its only loss came to 2A Warrensburg-Latham, which was undefeated before a loss on Monday, Dec. 20.

Senior small forward Connor Brown has been key for CGB, averaging 30 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Scales Mound

The Hornets are one of the top teams in 1A and have moved to 7-0 with wins over Eastland, Durand and Farmington, an 8-2 team in 2A.

Scales Mound is averaging the sixth most points per game (76.9) in the entire state, per Nesto Hoops.

Senior wing Benjamin Vandigo scored his 1,000th career point this week as well.

Peoria Christian

Went 3-0 on the week to move to 9-0 on the season. The big win for the 1A Chargers was 50-45 on Saturday over Teutopolis (8-2), a top-10 team in 2A.

Senior forward and Taylor commit Wes Hunt scored 57 points across the three wins and is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for the season.

West Aurora

Two close wins last week over 6-3 Minooka (69-66) and 7-2 Naperville Central (54-51) have moved the Blackhaws to 7-3 and given head coach Brian Johnson his 200th career win. Sophomore Josh Pickett scored 31 against Minooka, including 21 in the fourth quarter.

What a turnaround after a 1-15 campaign this spring.

Rockford Lutheran

Has won 25 straight Big North games after a win over Rockford Christian. The 2A Crusaders are 7-4 on the year but all losses have come to bigger schools (St. Charles North, Boylan, Neuqua and Waubonsie).

Though just outside of the week, Lutheran beat Buffalo Grove by 30 on Dec. 13 and Northridge by 25 on Dec. 20.

Notable Week 4 Team Performances

Ben VanderWal, Timothy Christian, Sr.

Two games for the Trojans last week. Two wins for the Trojans. Two 20-point double-doubles for Furman commit Ben Vanderwal:

  • 29 points, 15 rebounds in a 58-43 win over Westinghouse
  • 21 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals in a 49-43 win over IC Catholic

Throw in a couple head taps against ICCP and you’ve got a pretty great week:

Tate Kunzeman, Griggsville-Perry, Sr.

Had 33 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in a 54-49 win over Mendon Unity. Scored 23 of his team’s 31 points in a loss to Pittsfield. Averaging 20.4 points per game for the season.

Trey Pettigrew

Kenwood went 3-1 in a busy week to move to 8-2. The Broncos were without point guard and top-100 2023 prospect Darrin Ames for two games in Sioux Falls, and Nevada commit Trey Pettigrew stepped up. His week:

  • 17 points, 8 assists in win over Brooks
  • 18 points, 7 assists in win over Phillips
  • 16 of Kenwood’s 32 points in loss to Sunrise Christian
  • 25 points and 7 rebounds in win over Sioux City East

Jalen Quinn, Tuscola, Sr.

Tuscola moved to 7-1 on the year behind monster games from Loyola Chicago commit Jalen Quinn:

  • 25 points, 9 rebounds in win over Tri-County
  • 32 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals in win over Argenta-Oreana

He became the school’s all-time leading scorer the week prior:

Gavin Sarvis, Burlington Central, Sr.

The dual-sport star (football) was off to a nice start to his senior year, scoring 49 points in his first three games. Then he fractured his wrist.

He returned with a vengeance, scoring 36 points and adding four rebounds in his second game back from injury, including 16 in the fourth quarter to help beat Huntley.

Mason Kibelkis, Peotone, Sr.

The Blue Devils went 4-1 on the week, and Kibelkis had 83 points over the span of four games, including a 35-point game against Reed Custer.

Julian Triffo, Maine South, Sr.

Maine South played just one game last week, but small forward Julian Triffo made it count: 33 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

He’s averaging a team-high 20 points and 7.8 rebounds for the 6-3 Hawks after scoring just 1 point per game as a junior.

Dillon Schmidt, Saint Viator, Jr.

Schmidt didn’t practice all week, sitting out with the flu. Then he scored 34 points and knocked down five triples in a 68-51 win over Marian Central. He out-dueled Marian sophomore Christian Bentancur, who finished with 27.

Paul Hart, St. Bede, Sr.

Put up a monster 40 points and 13 rebounds in a 69-56 win over Hall.

Jake Vaughn, Hardin County, Sr.

Vaughn had a triple double in a 74-52 win over Galatia: 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals.

Other Notes

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