Category Archives: Boys

Unsigned Senior Boys Looking for a College Program

With the season completed and a boatload of talent still making moves trying to find the right college to land at, we’ve done some soliciting.

Jakub Rudnik and Kaleb Carter have been asking you to fill out a google form for seniors trying to play at the next level.

This will be an ongoing list on the site this offseason. We’ll be adding to and subtracting from it as players sign, and we hope you’ll help us keep folks informed as to the players who commit and sign with college programs. 
If you want to add to the list, fill out this form.

Update: Players who have made a college commitment since the release of this list:

  • Nathan Hall, big man, Collinsville (Briar Cliff)

Updated List of Illinois Unsigned Senior Basketball Players

Unsigned Guards

Cullen Cosme: PG, Brother Rice

Senior Statistics:
  • 10.1 points
  • 5.4 rebounds
  • 3.6 assists
  • 1.3 steals

Isaiah Donnell: PG, Richwoods

Senior Statistics
  • 17.3 ppg
  • 5.2 rpg
  • 4.0 apg
  • 1.0 spg
  • Shot 42% fom 3, 53% from 2
  • Coach comments: “Can get to the basket with ease. He is a complete player on both ends. He is a Division 1 Juco ball player who will be an instant impact on any program he joins.”

Highlights

Rashard Harris: PG, Kankakee

  • 6-4
Senior Statistics
  • 15.1 ppg
  • 6.2 rpg
  • 4.1 apg
  • Coach’s comments: “High IQ, big body, strong rebounder, part of two groups that went a combined 39-5.”

Highlights

Gabe Metzger: G, St. Laurence

Senior Statistics
  • 10.0 ppg
  • 4.0 rpg
  • 2.0 apg
  • 52% from 3
  • Coach’s comments: “Can really shoot the ball with the best of them. Rebounds well for a shooter. A competitor wants to win and will do whatever it takes. High character kid that will be a good small college basketball player.”
  • Contact coach: 312-493-9459

Don Williams: G, HSA Southwest

Senior Statistics
  • 21 ppg
  • 12 rpg
  • 4 apg
  • Coach’s comments: “He is 6’3 and can play all positions. He’s very athletic and very coachable.”
  • Contact Romel Bryant: bryant@hsaswchicago.org    708-990-7379

Highlights

Joseph Perkins, G, HSA Southwest

Senior Statistics
  • 20 ppg
  • 5 rpg
  • 5 apg
  • Coach’s comments: “He’s only played varsity one year, but his impact is tremendous. He is 6 feet tall, very fast, and a consistent scorer. He can facilitate your offense and is very coachable. As a point guard he is leading his school to its 1st division and conference championship.” 
  • Contact Romel Bryant: bryant@hsaswchicago.org    708-990-7379

George Betevis, G, Bartlett

Senior Statistics
  • 7 ppg
  • 5.4 rpg
  • 4.3 apg
  • 1.9 spg
  • Awards: 2-time all-conference honorable mention
  • Coach’s comments: “George is an excellent defender with great energy and grit. George can score off the bounce around the basket, and is a solid 3-pt shooter. He led the team in steals and charges. Contact: jimwolfsmith@u-46.org

Brandon Bryant, G, Brother Rice

Senior Statistics

Noah Reynolds, G, Peoria Notre Dame

  • Height: 6-4

Highlights

Coltin Quagliano, G, Wethersfield

Senior Statistics
  • All-State: 2019, 2018 First AP and IBCA-
  • 2,219 career points: Wethersfield leader as well as Lincoln Trail Conference leader.
  • Coach’s comments: “Program difference-maker.  He’s going to make a college team a lot better.”
  • Contact coach Jeff Parsons 309-221-5204

Highlights

Braden Finch, G, Mahomet-Seymour

Senior Statistics
  • 10 ppg
  • 3.5 rpg
  • 3.0 apg
  • 3.0 G.P.A.
  • Coach’s comments: “Braden is a strong combo guard with ability to guard multiple positions. He has great vision, shot close to 40% from 3FG range over final 10 games of ’21 season. He is very coachable, can score at all 3 levels, passes well and has great work ethic on defensive side of the ball. He is a D-III/NAIA/Ju-Co candidate.” Contact coach Ryan Bosch  (217) 649-2036   rbosch@ms.k12.il.us

Maurice Evans, G, Tinley Park

Senior Statistics
  • 15.4 ppg
  • 6.4 rpg
  • 4.5 apg
  • 2.4 spg
  • Contact coach Brown: 708-567-0549

Dwight Newsome, G, Belleville West

Senior Statistics
  • 11.1 ppg
  • 3.1 rpg
  • 1.0 apg
  • 36% from 3 (29 of 82)
  • 3.3 G.P.A
  • Awards: all-Southwestern Conference
  • Coach’s comments: “Dwight is a very good outside shooter and is very skilled offensively. 6-2 guard who stepped up for us this year He is an exceptional student as well.”
  • Contact: aschobert@bths201.org, 618-570-9380

Isaiah Holden, G, Evanston

Senior Statistics
  • 13.5 ppg
  • 4 apg
  • 1.5 spg
  • 3.0 rpg
  • 3.95 G.P.A
  • Coach’s comments: “Great facilitator who can make plays off the bounce and create for his teammates. Solid 3 point shooter and great on-ball defender.”
  • Contact: Michael Ellis-  (309) 361-0444

Brennan Weller, SG, Edwardsville

Senior Statistics
  • 4.0 G.P.A.
  • 19 ppg
  • 10.1 rpg
  • Led Southwestern Conference in scoring and rebounding
  • Awards: 1st team all-SWC two years consecutively.
  • Coach’s comments: “Great scorer and teammate. Can shoot and finish at the rim. Gifted at reading screens and scoring. Very hard worker, leader, winner.” Contact: Dustin Battas dbattas@ecusg7.org

Gabe Calhoun, G, Dunlap

Senior Statistics
  • Surpassed 1,000 points
  • 4-year varsity starter
  • Led conference in scoring twice

Carson Brozenec, G, Fisher

  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight:
Senior Statistics
  • Led conference in scoring, 25 ppg

Highlights

Drew Taggert, PG,Limestone

  • Height: 5-10
Senior Statistics
  • 8.5 ppg
  • 4 rpg
  • 4 apg
  • Coach’s comments: “Drew is looking for a JUCO. He is a quick PG that can handle the rock.  Can lock down defensively and will give you everything he’s got.”
  • Contact: Tony4421@gmail.com

Highlights

Film

Jovon White, G, Perspectives Leadership Academy

Senior Statistics
  • 15 ppg
  • 13 rpg
  • 5 apg
  • 2.3 G.P.A
  • Coach’s comments: “Great rebounder, big body, move well around the floor know how to use his size to advantage. Great on the glass/scoring.”
  • Contact: Mike smith, +1 (773) 732-9775

Highlights

Jadyn Benson, G, Mount Carmel

  • Height: 6-4
Senior Statistics
  • 15 ppg
  • 9 rpg
  • 3 apg
  • 3 spg
  • 3.1 G.P.A
  • Contact (312) 509-5488

Highlights

Dorien Little, G, Holy Trinity

  • Height: 6-3
  • Weight: 180
Senior Statistics
  • 20 ppg
  • 7 rpg
  • 2 bpg
  • Shot 56% from floor, 48% from 3
  • 2.6 G.P.A
  • Coach’s comments: “Athletic guard. Above-average shooter from distance. Good slasher and finisher at the rim. Great motor and very coachable.”
  • Coach: Larry Coats (coach) 312-213-0013

Highlights

Angelo Vassilakis, PG, Lockport

  • Height: 6-0
  • Weight: 155
Senior Statistics
  • 6.9 ppg
  • 5.0 apg
  • 2.2 spg
  • 2.7 rpg
  • Coach’s comments: “College- ready strength, great on-ball defender, lives in the paint, pass-first PG.”
  • Contact: 815-871-0520, Andrew Weber, Lockport HS Assistant Coach

Highlights

Austin Kohley, G, Harvard

Senior Statistics
  • Coach’s comments: “Austin is being overlooked due to playing at a small school in a weaker conference but he is the real deal.  He is a 6’2” Guard who can play the 1, 2 or 3.  Solid ball handler who attacks the basket hard and finishes.  Good shooter who can hit the 3 though he can be streaky at times.  Good defender and his mom played college basketball so he knows the game very well.
  • Contact coach Dan Krauser (815) 519-6042 dkrauser@cusd50.org

Highlights

Film

Trenton Kyler, G, DeKalb

Senior Statistics
  • 20.4 ppg
  • 4 rpg
  • 3.0 apg
  • 53% fom 3
  • 2.8 G.P.A.
  • Awards: 2-time DuPage Valley Conference POTY. 2021 DeKalb Daily Chronicle Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
  • Coach’s comments: “He is the ultimate competitor. He is a fearless shooter and creator on the offensive end. He is willing to take the challenge of defending guards and bigs. I would 100% want him on my team.”
  • Contact Mike Reynolds: 217-260-4420 cell michael.reynolds@d428.org

Semaj Greer, G, Rich Township

  • Height: 5-9
Senior Statistics
  • 10.5 ppg
  • 4.7 rpg
  • 3.5 apg

Highlights

Gary Clay Jr., G, Rich Township

  • Height: 6-4
Senior Statistics
  • 4.0 G.P.A
  • Coach’s comments: Combo Guard athletic with a high I.Q and can get to the basket.
  • Contact: (708) 549-9094

Highlights

Donovan Johnson, G, Rich Township

Senior Statistics

Highlights

B.J. Denton, G, Lindblom

  • Height: 5-10
Senior Statistics
  • 9.1 ppg
  • 3.2 apg
  • 3.1 rpg
  • 1.7 spg
  • 3.3 G.P.A.
  • Coach’s comments: “Pass-first point guard . Tremendous Perimeter shooter. Great work ethic – and team first mentality true leader at the PG position.” Contact: @basketball_lmsa on twitter

Highlights

Michael Ousley, G, Lanphier

  • Height: 6-0
Senior Statistics
  • 9.9 ppg
  • 3.2 rpg
  • 1.1 apg
  • 0.9 spg
  • Honor roll, two quarters
  • Contact: (217) 502-6204

Highlights

Nick Janega, G, Glenbard East

Senior Statistics
  • 7.2 ppg
  • 38% from 3
  • 4.7 G.P.A.
  • Coaches’ comments: High ceiling, just finding himself, solid D3 player / average athlete but smart positional player, good skill-set.
  • Contact Al Biancalana: 630-388-9380

Highlights

Jayden Williams, SG, East Peoria

Senior Statistics
  • 9.6 ppg
  • 4.1 rpg
  • 1.6 apg
  • 245 Bench, 385 Squat
  • Awards: Mid-Illini second-team all-conference
  • Contact: jgrzanich@ep309.org

Highlights

Trey Selman, SG, Milledgeville

Senior Statistics
  • 27.5 ppg
  • 11 rpg
  • 2.5 apg
  • Awards: Sauk Valley boys basketball player of the year

Highlights

Unsigned Wings

Nathan Thompson, Wing, Effingham

  • Club: Illinois Bears
  • Height: 6-6
Senior Statistics
  • 20.1 ppg
  • 9.1 rpg

Highlights

Gary Johns, Wing, Westinghouse

Senior Statistics
  • 17 ppg
  • 11 rpg
  • 3 bpg
  • 3.3 G.P.A.
  • Coach’s comments: Very versatile wing that can handle the ball, knock down the 3, & protect the rim.
  • Contact coach Rafie Fields- 773-3987373

Highlights

Matas Deksnys, Wing, Lockport

  • Height: 6-7
Senior Statistics
  • 15 ppg
  • 4.3 rpg
  • 1.6 apg
  • 1 spg
  • 87.5% Free throws
  • 48 3’s (16 games), 42% from 3
  • Hit 7 3’s in one game, hit 75 3’s as junior.
  • 3.86 G.P.A.
  • Awards: SWSC all-conference, Team MVP
  • Coach’s comments: “Matt is an elite shooter who has great length at 6’7″ tall.  He has grown as a scorer off the dribble as well as a rebounder this season.  He was the focal point of every team’s defensive game plan this year and still produced at a high level.  The sky is the limit for him because he is still maturing physically and will be a very, very dangerous player when he is 20, 21, 22 years old.”
  • Contact coach Brett Hespell – 708-912-1739  bhespell@lths.org

Highlights

Taijon Barry: Wing, Eisenhower

Senior Statistics

Eric Wade, Wing, Belleville East

Senior Statistics
  • 14.3 ppg
  • 10.3 rpg
  • 3.2 apg
  • 2.3 spg
  • 1.4 bpg
  • Coach’s comments: “Great finisher at the rim, leader mentality on and off the court, never gives up and is an amazing rebounder and scorer.”
  • Contact: (618)-3105459, Email- ericwade1324@gmail.com

Ty Lampley, Wing, Belleville West

Senior Statistics
  • 13.3 ppg
  • 7.8 rpg
  • 1.6 spg
  • Shot 38% from 3
  • 2.5 G.P.A
  • Awards: 2nd team all-Southwestern Conference 
  • Coach’s comments: “Ty’s best basketball is ahead of him. He is a 6’4 wing who is a good leaper and shoots it well from the outside. After being sidelined for the majority of last season with an injury, he played very well for an 11-5 team this year in the ultra-competitive Southwestern Conference.”
  • Contact: aschobert@bths201.org, 618-570-9380

Josh Garner, Wing, Limestone

  • Height: 6-0
Senior Statistics
  • 18.1 ppg
  • 7.1 rpg
  • 36% from 3
  • Coach’s comments: “Josh is looking for a JUCO. Josh can straight out score the ball, long and athletic, and loves the game.” 
  • Contact: Tony4421gmail.com

Highlights

Film

Devonta Blevins, Wing, Rich Township

Senior Statistics
  • 3.5 G.P.A
  • Coach’s comments: Explosive, athletic, and can shoot the 3 ball.
  • Contact: (708)-631-5901 

Cooper Schmid, G/Wing, Plainfield South

Senior Statistics
  • 21.1 ppg
  • 9.6 rpg
  • 2.6 spg
  • 2.1 apg
  • 4.1 G.P.A

Devon Vanderheydt, G/Wing, Washington

Senior Statistics
  • 17 ppg
  • 7 rpg
  • 2.4 apg
  • 45% 3PT
  • Two-time unanimous all-conference
  • Led team to two conference titles

Unsigned Bigs

Willie Strickland: F, Kankakee

  • 6-5
Senior Statistics
  • 10.2 ppg
  • 6.8 rpg
  • 3.1 bpg
  • Coach’s comments: “Willie is a 6’5” forward who plays well in the paint and along the baseline. Long arms allow him to play the passing lanes well and block shots. High motor.”

Joe Melton: F, NCOE

Senior Statistics
  • 21.0 ppg
  • 13.0 rpg
  • 7.0 bpg
  • Coach’s comments: “6’7 athlete who has great touch around the basket but also knocks down the 3 with ease. He is comfortable putting the ball on the floor and is willing to take and make big shots. He ended his senior season with 3 straight triple-doubles in the conference tournament, leading his team to back-to-back conference tournament titles.
  • Coach contact info: Jordan Johnson, 618-925-0328, jordanjohnson@ncoeschools.org

Damarcies Moore, W, CICS Longwood

  • 3.5 G.P.A.

Highlights

Instagram23chinnoo

Illinois HS Basketball Top Performers (March 15-21)

Illinois High School Basketball Players Honored

The abbreviated, frantic high school basketball season is complete in the state of Illinois. One last time, we’re here to highlight top performers in Illinois.

Each week, Illinois-Basketball.com sends emails to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database for the future.

We’ve identified 22 deserving athletes between boys and girls basketball from the last week of the season, with a few milestones and accomplishments from the past week. 

Check out who we recognized last week. 

We’re always looking to update information on our website, be it missing players on the commitment lists, former Illinois preps players competing at the college levels that we omitted, or all-conference teams for the 2021 season that aren’t on the website yet. You can send any of this info and more to kalebcarter4256@gmail.com, nudnik.jakub@gmail.com or on Twitter at @ILL_HS_Hoops.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • Whitney Dunn, Kenwood (3A): Scored 26, had 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in leading a fourth-quarter comeback at Simeon in a 73-66 victory; Had 21 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 rebounds in a 63-16 victory over Brooks Prep; 14 points, 4 steals in a 69-43 vs. Lindblom.
  • Timia Ware, Whitney Young (4A): Scored 34 in a win to end the season.
  • Xamiya Walton, Butler College Prep (2A): Led her team to a Noble League Tournament championship, had 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals vs. Pritzker; 29 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals vs. UICCP; 28 points, 6 rebounds, 9 steals, 6 assists vs. Speer; had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals in the conference championship win over Comer; Also, Camille Jackson reached 1,000 points, including a 13-point, 10-rebound, 3-steal effort in the final; The 5-11 junior post scored 20, had 8 steals and 6 assists in the semis win over Speer; 18 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists vs. UICCP and 8 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists and 2 steals against Pritzker. 
  • Reina Grunfeld, Amundsen (3A): Scored 13 points in a 40-31 win over Schurz; Put up a team-high 10 in a 42-17 win against Mather; Dropped 14 points in a 52-45 loss to Westinghouse; pushed team to 12-5 overall record, 9-0 in conference play. 
  • Desiree Bryant, Austin College and Career (1A): 34 points, 24 rebounds, 5 blocks on the week.

Illinois Boys Player of the Week Nominees

  • Phillip Taylor, Lindblom (3A): Scored 20 points and hauled in a school-record 19 rebounds in a 54-51 win vs. Urban Prep-Englewood; Coach Zack Linderman won his 200th game
  • William Bates, Bremen (3A): Finished up a strong season in which he posted 20.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.5 apg and hit 28 3-pointers; Also, DeMarco Mason averaged 10.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.0 spg.
  • Davius Loury, Kenwood (3A): In wins over Lincoln Park (87-64), Corliss (74) and Lindblom, had points/rebounds/assists totals of 19/10/3,  22/10/4 and 15/7/3 respectively; Averaged 16.3 ppg, 10 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.0 bpg and 1.2 spg on the season. 
  • Jovon White, Perspectives Leadership Academy (1A): Scored 14, added 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals, 2 assists in a 73-63 win over MSA/Joslin; had 16 rebounds, 3 assists vs. CHSAS; Had 28 points, 7 rebounds, 8 steals, 6 assist and 2 blocks; Posted 12 points, 21 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals; Had 14 points, 18 rebounds in 59-48 loss to Fenger;  Also, JaQuwan Payton scored 28 points, had 5 steals, 3 assists, 2 rebounds vs. MSA/Joslin; scored 18 points vs. Fenger. 
  • Keyonta Ellis, Ogden (3A): Eclipsed 1,000 points in a 52-38 win in his final game; had scoring totals of 32 and 23.
  • Terrell Taylor, Clemente (2A): Scored 18 and had 5 rebounds, 4 assists in a 53-51 win over Wells; Scored 38 vs. Crane and 26 in a 62-52 loss to Curie;  Also, Trey Spires had 23 points, 16 assists, 7 steals and 6 rebounds in an 82-66 win over Crane; put up 19 vs. Curie.
  • Jerell Edwards, Dunbar (2A): Had 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals in a 61-47 victory against Lindblom; 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 steals vs. Catalyst Maria; 31 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks in 52-38 win over Kennedy.
  • Ahmad Bynum, Simeon (3A): Scored 15, had 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals in 65-37 win over Phillips; Had 10 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals in 61-57 win over Brooks; 14 points, 6 rebounds as Simeon beat Morgan Park 56-46.
  • Darrion Jones, Bogan (3A): The final points of his high school career made the different in a 61-57 win over Morgan Park in which he had 29 points and 6 rebounds; Produced 22 points, 5 rebounds in 53-47 overtime win against Hyde Park; Had 16 points as Bogan defeated Phillips 52-26.

Nick Martinelli’s inner fighter has shaped who he has become as a basketball player

In middle school Nick Martinelli was a huge UFC fan. 

He grew so fond of the sport that at one point he even thought his interest would turn into a profession.

“I wanted to be a mixed martial arts fighter,” Martinelli said. “Everything was UFC. I was a huge Connor McGregor fan. In eighth grade, I got sick during the (basketball) season, and that’s when I would go in my basement and punch this little dummy guy that I had.” 

Even though Martinelli never pursued his mixed martial arts aspirations, that fighter’s mentality has stayed with him. 

His competitiveness needed to materialize early in his basketball career because he was always competing with his two older brothers, Jimmy and Dom Martinelli. Both had successful careers at Glenbrook South and went on to play collegiate basketball. 

Jimmy — the oldest — was two-time all-conference and named the team MVP his senior year at Glenbrook South and went on to be a four-year starter at New York University. Dom finished as the Titans’ all-time leading scorer and just wrapped up his freshman season at Northwestern. 

For Nick Martinelli, seeing his older brothers’ accomplishments was sometimes difficult to deal with. 

“To be honest, I felt a little bit in his shadow (Dom’s) and Jimmy’s too when I was younger,” Martinelli said. “It’s just hard when you have older brothers that were as successful as they were.”

But now, the youngest Martinelli is making a name for himself. As a full-time starter in his junior season, the 6-foot-7 wing averaged 21.8 points and 5.9 rebounds and shot 57.7% from 3-point range in 18 games. Martinelli was also named to the Central Suburban League All-Conference Team.

In his first game as a starter, Martinelli scored 28 points in a 69-49 victory against Hersey. It begin an 11-game win streak to start the season for Glenbrook South. In the ninth game of the season, against New Trier, Martinelli dropped 34 points in a 60-53 win. 

On offense, Martinelli’s left-handed jumper and ability to secure rebounds for second-chance points made him difficult to defend for any team. Often in opposing team huddles coaches can be heard saying, “We have to do a better job against Martinelli.”

Defensively, Martinelli’s length forced players to take tough shots and required them to make precise passes. He finished the season with 10 blocks and 15 steals. 

Although Martinelli has quickly emerged as one of the better upperclassmen in Illinois, it didn’t come without him having to overcome obstacles. 

Heading into Martinelli’s sophomore year, he thought he made the necessary improvements in the offseason to earn a varsity spot. But Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston started Martinelli on the sophomore team.

“It just lit a fire up in me to be honest,” Martinelli said. “When he (Ralston) told me I was on sophomore, I felt a little confused.” 

After playing five games on the sophomore team, Martinelli was moved up.

“Nick had to earn everything and he did so admirably,” Ralston said. “When we lost Joe Shapiro last year, Nick was the first guy off the bench and was getting what I would term ‘starter’s minutes’ in many respects. That was something he had to earn.” 

Martinelli embraced his new role and helped the team anyway he could. Glenbrook South finished the 2019-20 season 29-5 and split the Central Suburban League South title with Evanston. The Wildkits did eliminate the Titans in the Class 4A Elk Grove semifinals.

Still, Martinelli gained valuable experience in his sophomore year. And a lot of those lessons can be attributed to the one season he played with his brother Dom. 

“He wanted to win at every single drill,” Nick Martinelli said. “If you want to be great, you can’t take off drills, you can’t take off days, you always have to be the last one in the gym. I learned a ton of characteristics and good habits from him that are obviously going to benefit me in the future. I owe a ton of my success, which hasn’t been much, to Dom. 

“The way that he constantly fought,” Martinelli continued. “He played when he was sick. He played when he was hurting. And how much he wanted to win obviously showed me what I needed to do to take the next step.”

Though Dom Martinelli graduated, everything was looking promising for Glenbrook South moving forward. Nick Martinelli and point guard Cooper Noard — who started as a sophomore on varsity — would be back to help lead the Titans the following season.  

Then COVID-19 hit. And everything changed. 

“The unusual aspect of having to deal with COVID is that we didn’t have our normal summer routine where we were able to work with kids in a team atmosphere and an individual’s environment,” Ralston said. 

Despite the coronavirus’ impact on and off the basketball court, Martinelli still saw an opportunity for himself to improve his game over the summer so he would be ready for his junior season. 

Every morning Martinelli and Dom would shoot for roughly two hours at their friend’s gym, which features a shooting gun, a three-quarter basketball court and a weight room. Throughout the summer, it was common for the Martinelli brothers to be at their friend’s house for 4-to-6 hours. After a long day of doing basketball drills and working out on the turf field, the two would jump in the hot tub to recover. 

Dom also invited some of his teammates from Northwestern to train. 

“Something that I think got Nick to another level to where he is playing at now was being able to play with some of my teammates from Northwestern,” Dom Martinelli said. “Being able to compete with Big Ten players, I think that is one of the reasons why Nick has gotten so much better this offseason.”

Along with the workouts, Martinelli watched a lot of film over the summer.

From Dom’s senior season at Glenbrook South to Florida Gulf Coast and several Big Ten teams, to NBA players Luka Doncic and Doug McDermott, Martinelli dissected different basketball styles and tried to pick up bits and pieces from everything he watched. 

All the hard work Martinelli put in during the offseason translated on the basketball court. And Dom Martinelli, who was able to catch some of his brother’s games in person, could see the progress his brother made. 

“I think his confidence has skyrocketed since last season,” Dom Martinelli said. “I think that’s just due to all the work he has put in … I think he has gained confidence in that aspect. I see it in every single game.” 

And for Nick Martinelli — who has had to work for everything he has accomplished — he, Noard and senior big man Justin Lesynski were the leaders for the Titans this past season.

“I think Nick is very much a leader by example,” Ralston said. “I want Nick, Cooper and Justin to assert themselves as leaders on the team … It’s kind of hard for me to not say to guys like Nick and Coop, ‘You guys are the ones that have put in as much time as anyone in this offseason,’ so it’s hard for me as coach to not go back and say, ‘Hey, this is your team. You guys are the leaders of this team. We are going to go where you take us.’” 

The 2020-21 Glenbrook South team finished with a 16-2 record and as back-to-back CSL champions. In the condensed season, the Titans also set a school record for winning percentage at 89 percent.

Nick Martinelli at the free-throw line. (Photo: Braeden Schmidt)

At the end of the season, eight teams had the opportunity to participate in the Chipotle League of Champions tournament. Evanston was initially selected as the Central Suburban League representative for the tournament, but the school offered it to winner of the division. Glenbrook South overtook that spot when Evanston lost to New Trier on March 6. 

Two days later, Glenbrook South traveled to face the Trevians, with an opportunity to extend its half-game lead on Evanston. The Titans dominated for the majority of the first two quarters and at one point had a 22-point lead. Martinelli led all scorers with 12 points at the half. But the Trevians made a miraculous comeback and had a 63-61 lead with 47.8 seconds remaining in the game.  

After a 10-second violation, Martinelli was fouled under the basket with 10.8 seconds remaining on the clock. The junior stepped up to the free-throw line with an opportunity to tie the game.

Martinelli took his one dribble and shot. The ball hit the front of the rim and bounced left. Martinelli’s second shot hit the rim and bounced right. 

“That’s definitely one of my worst moments in basketball,” Martinelli said. “Honestly, the worst part about it was I trained for moments like that. I don’t train for making easy layups against bad teams. I train for making big shots against good teams and in important moments … But it’s a learning experience. Everyone misses shots. Michael Jordan has missed shots. Big shots. I have to work harder and patch up some things.”

The Titans lost 64-63 to the Trevians. Glenbrook South rebounded with back-to-back wins against Glenbrook North to end the season. However, it was Evanston that went on to play in the end-of-the-year tournament. 

Martinelli acknowledged that it was “painful to watch” the teams competing in the Chipotle Classic. But he does believe Glenbrook South has the players to do something special next season — as long as the team has the right mentality. 

“I think that we are going to be really deep and really skilled next season,” Martinelli said. “It all comes down to if we really want to put in the work to become state champions, and if we want to buy into what coach wants us to do.”

Martinelli’s routine now involves waking up before school to shoot at his friend’s house to reach his daily “300 makes each morning,” then getting a workout in once school is over.

With the high school season finished, that doesn’t mean Martinelli gets to take a break. In April, his AAU season will begin and Martinelli will compete against some of the best players in the country. 

Martinelli does all this because he is a competitor, a fighter. He has been this way since day one.

“I want to become a high-major player,” Martinelli said. “That’s my goal. My goal used to be to become a Division I player, but now it’s moved to something bigger because I want to strive to be the best player, the best person that I can be.”


Main image courtesy of Braeden Schmidt

Illinois HS Basketball Top Performers (March 8-14)

Illinois High School Basketball Players Honored

Illinois-Basketball.com sends emails to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database.

We’ve identified nearly 60 deserving athletes between boys and girls basketball. We’ve also included a list of milestones and accomplishments from the past week. 

Check out who we recognized last week. 

Once again, we’re asking for complete all-conference lists. Can send to kalebcarter4256@gmail.com, nudnik.jakub@gmail.com or on Twitter at @ILL_HS_Hoops.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • Natasha Barnes, Lindblom: The sophomore racked up a triple-double with 32 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals, 4 assists;
  • Janae Kent, Oak Forest (3A): Scored 36 in a win over Oak Forest to clinch a conference championship; Also scored 38 with 10 rebounds in another win.
  • Xamiya Walton, Butler College Prep: The freshman wowed with 21 points, 10 assists, 7 steals and 6 rebounds in win over Muchin; Posted 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists in a win vs. Comer; 24 points, 10 steals, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in a win over Noble Academy; 23 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals in a 60-32 win against Phillips; 27 points, 8 assists, 7 steals, 6 rebounds in a win vs. Muchin.
  • Sydney Affolter, Marist (4A): Had a double-double in each of the five games of her last week as a high school player; Put up a slash line (points/rebounds/assists) of 16/11/5 (vs/ Marian Catholic in ESCC title game victory), 29/11/4 (Carmel Catholic), 25/13/7 (Joliet Catholic), 21/10/4 (Lincoln-Way Central), and 23/13/4 (Trinity). 
  • Tahlor Sutton, Hillcrest (3A): Miles College signee scored 31, had 7 assists and 5 steals in a win over Richards.
  • Makiyah Williams, Trinity: Scored 33, had 8 rebounds and 4 blocks; Put up 23 points in a win over De La Salle; Put up 16 points in a 49-48 win over Fenwick to end the season. 
  • Katy Eidle, Hersey (4A): Scored 18 with four 3-pointers and 3 steals in a dominant MSL title game win (68-35) over Fremd; scored 28 in a 63-36 win over St. Ignatius. 
  • Tori Standefer, Civic Memorial (3A): Averaged 15.2 ppg, 4 spg, 4 apg in the last week of the season; led team tok 10-0 finish in the Mississippi Valley.
  • Natalie Schroeder, Watseka (2A): Became 9th player in program history to reach 1,000 points; Led team to 6-0 Sangamon Valley finish, 17-1 overall.
  • Sophia Haska, Fenton (3A): Played in six games with four double-doubles; Averaged 16.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg; 15 points, 10 rebounds against Aurora Christian; Sank 12 3-pointers during the week.
  • Brooke Heiman, Indian Creek (1A): Finished with a Little Ten Conference all-time record 2,124 points; Scored 24 in a 47-39 win over Dakota, 21 in a 47-44 win over Hinckley-Big Rock, 27 in a 57-49 loss to Serena. 
  • Katie Draper, Palestine-Hutsonville (1A): Scored 27 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had 4 assists in a win; Put up 39 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in another victory. 
  • Jasper Jones, Momence (2A): Averaged 11.3 ppg, 12.8 rpg during a 2-2 week.
  • Tahj Bloom, Grayslake Central (3A): The freshmann averaged 22.5 ppg, including a 31-point, 12-rebound performance in a win over Round Lake; she led her team to an unbeaten, championship-winning, 7-0 Northern Lake County Conference record.
  • Victoria Matulevicius, Montini Catholic (3A): Averaged 15 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg and scored 22 against Mother McAuley as the Broncos grabbed wins over Aurora Central Catholic, Hope Academy and Mother McAuley. 
  • Kylie Kisgen, Freeburg (2A): Sophomore point guard averaged 15 ppg, 8 rpg, 3.7 apg and 3 spg during the week, all while commiting fewer than one turnover per contest. 
  • Annalise Pietrzyk, Providence Catholic (3A): Averaged 14 ppg and defended the other team’s best scoring as PC went 2-1 against the likes of De La Salle (2 wins) and Lockport (loss); led her team to a 10-0 finish in the GCAG White Division. 
  • Addison Bent, Vienna (2A): Broke school records for blocked shots in a season and a career and scored the winning bucket in a 47-45 win over Massac County. 
  • Chloe Pruitt, Mahomet-Seymour (3A): The sophomore scored 27 points and collected 14 rebounds in a win over Bloomington Central Catholic. 
  • Avery Jackson, Kankakee (3A): The junior scored 29 points and reached 1,000 career points as the Kays finished 9-1 in the Southland Conference to win the regular season title (second in tournament). 
  • Kloe Froebe, Lincoln (3A): Averaged 26.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4 apg, 4.4 spg and shot 70.1% from the charity stripe; Broke a 20+ year-old record for points by a freshman in program history (scored 475, previous high was 417).
  • Katie Krupa, Morton (3A): The Harvard commit sored 29 points in a 49-44 overtime victory over Washington in the first-ever Mid-Illini Conference Tournament Championship game, and became the 15th Potters player to score 1,000 points.
  • Emily Fisher, Libertyville (4A): Averaged 16.3 ppg on 55.8% shooting, 8.7 rpg, 6.7 apg, 2 spg and 1.7 bpg; Led her team to wins over Stevenson, Lake Forest and Saint Viator; Helped her team finish on a 14-game winning streak, a 7-0 conference record (16-2 overall) and a North Suburban Conference championship (regular season and tournament).
  • Anna Griffin, Aurora Christian (1A): Scored a career-high (school-record) 39 points and added 17 rebounds in the Metro Suburban championship game (finished 12-1 in conference); Illinois-Basketball.com wrote about Griffin in September.
  • Whitney Zumbahlen, Newton (2A): Registered a triple-double in her final high school game, with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 10 steals in a win over Casey-Westfield. 
  • Isabella Finnegan, Mother McAuley (4A): 20 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks and 4 assists against Montini; 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals in another game against Montini;  15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks vs. St. Laurence; Also, Faith Okorie, 22 points, 6 rebounds against Montini. 
  • Brooke Carlson, Batavia (4A): Averaged 16.3 points per game over three games and had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists in a game vs. Wheaton Warrenville South; Also, Tessa Towers had 28 points, 10 rebounds vs. WWS and 12 points in games against St. Charles East and St. Charles North. 
  • Claire Roberts, Sandwich (3A): Averaged 13 ppg, 4 spg, 3 apg, 2 rpg over two games; Also, Josie Ness had 11 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 bpg, 2 spg over two games and went over 1,000 career points. 
  • Campbell Shrank, Winnebago (2A): Led her team to a Big Northern Conference Tournament title after a 9-1 conference season; combined for 41 points, 14 rebounds and shot 69% between wins in the BNC semis and title game. 
  • Haley Stoklosa, Lincoln-Way Central (4A): Scored 23 vs. Marist and 15 vs. Stagg as LWC went 2-1 for the week and finished second in the Red Division of the SWSC.
  • Trinity Wade, Shelbyville (2A): Scored her 1,000th point and averaged 26 ppg during the week. 
  • Khloe Damm, Illini Central (1A): Over four games, averaged 26.3 ppg, 14.8 rpg, 5 apg, 6.5 spg and 3 bpg; Set a school record with a 41-point outburst in which she made 17 free throws; set school record with 1,656 points. 

Illinois HS Boys Players of the Week

  • Joe Melton, NCOE (1A): Recorded three consecutive triple-doubles in the Greater Egyptian Conference tournament; Had stat lines of, in points/rebounds/blocks, 24/14/10 in the quarters, 28/12/11 in the semis, 25/13/12 in the final. 
  • Don Williams, HSA Southwest (1A): Set a school record with a 50-point performance in a win over Back of the Yards Prep; Added a 24-point, 11 rebound game and 17-point, 11-rebound outing; Also, Joseph Perkins averaged 24.6 ppg, had 12 assists in one game and 8 steals in another. 
  • Xavier Gagnepain, Sycamore (3A): Posted 23 points, 10 rebounds in a 57-49 win over previously undefeated DeKalb. 
  • Jaden Schutt, Yorkville Christian (1A): Scored 26 in a win over Flanagan-Cornell and 34 in a victory over Neuqua Valley.
  • Mason Kibelkis, Peotone (2A): Scored 28 vs. Reed-Custer. 
  • Robbie Avila, Oak Forest (3A): Scored 42 and had 20 rebounds against Tinley Park; Put up 22 points, 12 rebounds in a win over Oak Lawn. 
  • Lathan Lewis, Harlem (3A): 21 points, 15 rebounds in a conference championship game loss to Rockford East. 
  • Jamauri Winfrey, Richwoods (3A): 35 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks against Moline. 
  • AJ Smith, Metro-East Lutheran (1A): 40 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists.
  • For Saint Ignatius, Parker Higginbottom (best game 22 points, 4 assists); Richard Barron (25 points vs. Bolingbrook); AJ Redd, 19 points, 13 rebounds vs. Chicago U-High); Kolby Giles (12 points, 9 rebounds in U-Hgh win; John Digenan, (10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) all nominated. 
  • Calvin Lucas, Proviso West (4A): 23 points, 8 assists vs. Addison Trail.
  • Blake Peters, Evanston (4A): Hit the game-winning 3-pointer to push Evanston past Niles Notre Dame in the Chipotle Classic semis.
  • Brian Matthews, DePaul College Prep: Was named MVP of the Chipotle Classic after scoring 19, grabbing 6 rebounds in a 51-36 win over Evanston in the title game; Also, Ty Johnson had 9 points, 5 assists in the title game, had17 points in the semis and 32 in a win over Whitney Young.
  • Graham Meisenhelter, Macon Meridian (1A): Had point and rebound totals of 34/10, 25/15, 22/16 and 20-16 as Meridian finished 7-0 in the CIC; Added 9 steals, 12 assists total over the four games. 
  • Hillcrest, Julis Rollins (4A): The Kent State signee finished his career with an undefeated season (13) and with a 20-point game; also had a 12-assist performance against Argo.
  • Jonathan Daly, Agape Christian: Scored 41 points in a game; 21 points, 6 steals, 4 rebounds in a win over Shawnee.
  • Trey Bazzell, Prairie Central (2A): Scored 21 and broke the school scoring record in a 52-43 victory over St. Thomas Moore; Scored 31 in the season finale, an 81-62 win, to end with 1420 for his career. Trey averaged 23.2 pts, 8 rpg, 4 apg, 2.7 spg, and 2.5 bpg.
  • Nate Fleisher, Highland Park (3A): In the final two games of his career scored 18 with 2 rebounds and 2 assists, then had 15 points and five steals as the Giants defeated Maine East twice; finished with 601 career points (30th in program history) and 81 3-pointers (12th all-time).
  • Angelo Vassilakis, Lockport (4A): The senior averaged 8.0 ppg, 6.3 apg and 4.1 spg in his final three games, leading his team to wins over Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way East and Andrew.

Milestones/Accomplishments, Game-Winners and More

We’re on the lookout for records and milestones, monster performances and game-winners. You can find more info like this by subscribing to the Illinois High School Basketball News Newsletter.

All-Time Leaders

  • Illini Central senior Khloe Damm: Scoring (1,656).

• Fieldcrest’s Jaxon Cusac-McKay broke the program records for assists and made free throws; Finished fourth in points in school history (1,399).

2,000-point scorers

1,000-point scorers

Coach Milestones

Manny Garcia Makes Most of Time at Notre Dame de La Salette & in Illinois

Manny Garcia

Manny Garcia used to be in his own head in more ways than one. 

The transfer student from San Francisco de Marcoris, Dominican Republic had come to the United States and Notre Dame de La Salette Boys Academy in Georgetown. He found himself in the town 15 miles south of Danville thanks to a connection made with well-traveled and experienced parochial school coach John Spezia.

Garcia arrived in the U.S. just for his sophomore year of high school, specifically looking for a basketball opportunity. He found himself in his early days at the school learning the basics of the English language, struggling to communicate with classmates, the priests at the school and his teammates.

That frustration carried over to the court.

“I was trying to learn,” Garcia said. “I couldn’t pick it up right away. I was getting into my head, so mad.”

Communication trouble; different rules between FIBA’s international rules basketball and those in the states; as well as the U.S.’ different styles of play would leave Garcia flustered. Spezia said something as simple as a poor pass from a teammates or a personal mistake would send Garcia into a distracted state. Conversations were often had by using phone translations.

“Coach sometimes would take me out,” Garcia said. “Coach liked to say ‘a knucklehead.’ I was getting frustrated with rules the league had, the way that it is. When I came here, that thought process, I’d get frustrated a lot. Junior year it was way better and now my senior year I don’t even think about stuff that makes me frustrated.”

Spezia in particular remembers a not-so-affectionate conversation with the then-sophomore after a technical foul, forcing him to sit out at least four quarters of action and telling Garcia it wouldn’t happen again or there’d be serious consequences. 

Garcia never picked up another tech in his high school career. 

He settled in eventually. The Dominican national was mentally and physically receiving help from the likes of classmates, teammates — Garcia was especially grateful to the class of 2019 seniors —  and priests in the school like Father Daniel Chavarria. 

“These last two years, I’ve been developing my English and getting better … I picked up the English (more quickly) than I did the basketball I think,” Garcia said.

“That’s what a part of what he had to overcome,” Spezia said.

Manny Garcia became not only a captain, but he also catapulted himself into a position to continue the dream he procured from his elder brother. 

Carlos Garcia took a journey that wasn’t too different from his younger brother, heading from his native Dominican Republic to Kentucky to play high school basketball. His journey, however, stopped there. 

“He used to play here during high school. I grew up looking at him as an inspiration for me to play basketball.”

Manny Garcia said about Carlos Garcia

Spezia’s coaching career has given him to exposure to players of all sorts of backgrounds: He has coached basketball at the professional level, international level, at colleges (he’s a Hall of Famer as the former athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Danville Community College) and has conducted camps all over the world.

“I’ve done camps and clinics in the Phillipines, Italy, England, I was a pro coach in England, Just got done two years ago coaching the Antigua-Barbuda national team,” Spezia said. “I’ve had kids from Israel, Czech Republic, Brazil, and I guess this goes back to … guys like Manny, it’s that this is a great opportunity for them.”

As someone whose immediate family has experienced the upheaval of taking up a new life in the United States, Spezia can understand on a certain level what a player of his like Garcia may be going through. 

“It reminds me of my dad (coming) from Italy when he was like 16 years old,” Spezia said. “You can imagine … he had some brothers over here, but he never saw his mom and dad, never saw them again (or) his sister and he came and worked in a coal mine. Here’s a kid (Garcia) that’s going three or four thousand miles, barely speaks the English language and has overcome all those obstacles.”

Manny was the lone Spanish speaker among his peers, and that was far from easy. But he picked up the language, and the basketball came later, as he honed the skills he learned from his brother. It was his brother who helped him connect with Spezia, which helped lead him to east-central Illinois. 

Since then, Manny has put up quality numbers with his lengthy, nearly 6-4 frame. During a shortened season this year that included games vs. private/parochial schools, programs unaffiliated with the IHSA and in a league in Terre Haute, Indiana, Garcia averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists per game. As a junior he averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds per game against competition that ranged from 1A to 3A programs to other homeschooled basketball squads. 

Garcia’s passing ability from the high post.

“My brother always says I’m the one keeping his dream up because he couldn’t finish like he wanted to go to college and get to the high levels,” Garcia said.

Given the historic timing lining up with the current recruiting cycle, much is uncertain. Colleiate programs around the country will have athletes returning who would have otherwise exhausted their eligibility, but new rules issued by colleges have allowed players to not count this athletic season toward their eligibility. 

Spezia used the example of Trent Frazier at Illinois. 

“Trent Frazier could come back even though he’s a senior. … You know what that does … that cuts out the guys, the scholarships those guys at the high school level could possibly get.”

So Spezia has been working with Garcia in the offseason. Five days a week of lifting and after-class basketball workouts. The longtime coach has enough contacts in the field to feel confident that Garcia can get on a team, whether it’s NCAA, NAIA or JUCO Ball, or playing prep school basketball for a year.

“I appreciate how coach Spezia took me from the islands to come here, play for him and go to a good school and get a diploma from this school,” Garcia said. “He’s helping me to be a better player and a better person. I appreciate what he’s done for me and what he’s still doing for me.”

“He’s a slasher. He can get to the basket,” Spezia said. “He’s a rebounder. He’s aggressive. He’s developed a pull-up jumper. His footwork is really good, we’ve really worked on that.”

Footwork

As an off-guard wing-type with court vision similar to that of a point guard, Garcia could surely find a role somewhere. His personal attitude toward the game and being a teammate is enough to make a coach gleam.

“I don’t consider myself the best player, just effort. Everybody has a little bit of effort to demonstrate out there,” Garcia said. “Like OK, I’m the ‘athlete’ on the court, but that doesn’t mean anything. People who are not athletes can do what I do on the court. It’s based on effort, that’s what I think.”

Garvia’s IQ/aggressiveness

After not seeing his family for nine months, from the start of the pandemic to December, heading home over the holidays was a nice reminder of the type of support he’s received from afar.

But given his status as an international student, he’s still got to find a way to get school paid for with financial aid, giving him limited options to stay stateside.

“Not being a U.S. citizen, it’s hard for me to pay tuition [and] things like that,” Garcia said.”I’m looking for … I’m not minding wherever they offer me. It could be Alaska, it could be anywhere. Just need that full ride. I want to be here. I want to develop as a player, a student and as a person.”

Garcia has developed immensely at Notre Dame La Salette Boys Academy. He’s still trying to realize his own basketball dreams, while also carrying on his brother’s dreams.

Illinois HS Basketball Top Performers: March 1-7

Illinois High School Basketball Players Honored

Illinois-Basketball.com sends emails to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database.

We’ve identified over 60 deserving athletes between boys and girls basketball. We’ve also included a list of milestones and accomplishments from the past week. Check out who we recognized Week 4.

This week, we also asked for a new piece of information.

We’ve seen a lot of scoring milestones reached and program records broken this season. This week, we hope you’ll help us track down your program’s all-time scoring leaders. Send us: google docs, spreadsheets, PDFs, pictures, anything that showcases your program’s all-time leading scorers. Can send to kalebcarter4256@gmail.com

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

Brianna McDaniel, Kenwood (3A): Averaged 16 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 2 spg and reached 1000 points for her career; Led her team to wins over St. Ignatius, Evanston, Rich Township and Morgan Park.

Kate Chaparro, St. Francis (3A): In a  43-29 win over Wheaton Academy, scored 19, hit three 3-pointers, sank each of her 6 free throws and reached 1,000 points.

Addison Bent, Vienna (2A): Scored 27 and had 9 blocked shots against Trico; currently being recruited by JUCOs, NAIA schools and several DII programs. 

Lauren Huber, Glenbard East (4A): Averaged 20.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg over the week; As of Sunday, needed 24 to break the program scoring record (1,247). 

Laura Strenk, Regina Dominican (2A): Averaged 15 ppg, 6 apg and scored her 1,000th point.

Miyah Brown, Winnebago (2A): 43 points, 56% FG shooting and 19 rebounds over two games. 

Mary Kate Fahey, Hersey (4A): The NYU signee hit a pull-up jumper in transition to reach 1,000 points for her career, and led the Huskies ot to MSL East victories to assist Hersey in winning its division for the fourth time in five years. 

Hailey James, Orion (2A): In four games, totaled 46 points, 36 rebounds, 12 steals, 12 assists and 7 blocks with a broken bone in her hand in games against Annawan, Unity (Tolono), Galesburg and Stark County. 

Riley Mont, West Aurora (4A): Averaged 30 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3 apg, 2.3 spg and scored a career-high 40 points (11 in the fourth quarter in a win over Romeoville Saturday, March 6. Scored 8 points in overtime, made 6 3-pointers and sank all 12 of her free throws. 

Faith Okorie, Mother McAuley (4A): 10 points, 9 rebounds vs. Nazareth; Posted 16 points, 10 rebounds vs. Loyola; Had 13 points, 4 rebounds in another game against Loyola. 

Erin Houpt, Danville (3A): A week removed from tying the school-record with 7 3-pointers, Houpt, a Mercer signee, reached 2,000 career points; She led the Vikings to wins over Teutopolis (36 points), Champaign Central (22) and Richwoods (25) and an overtime loss to Peoria Notre Dame (28); Averaged 4.25 spg, 5.5 rpg and was 15 of 15 from the charity stripe in the win over Richwoods. 

Kaitlyn Hoffing, Fenton (3A): Sophomore point guard had consecutive games with 16 points and averaged 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block in those games.

Emily Pape, Maine South (4A): The junior has begun to play some of her best basketball against some of the best teams in the state; Scored 20 points, added 9 rebounds and 5 assists in a loss to 4A No. 1 Hersey; Scored 14, had 8 rebounds and 3 steals in a 64-62 loss to Class 3A No. 1 Simeon on Sunday at Morton College.

Brooklyn Gray, Auburn (Rockford) (4A): Put up 28 points, 8 rebounds 2 steals against Harlem; Scored 14 points and added 4 assists, 3 blocks against Rockford East; Added 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals vs. Belvidere North; as of Sunday, the junior had 906 career points. 

Sharon Mai, East Dubuque (1A): In two games against West Carroll, averaged 18 ppg while shooting 70% from the floor, pulled down 10 offensive rebounds on March 3 and averaged 8.5 rpg. 

Anaya Davis, Althoff Catholic (2A): Compiled a trio of double doubles; Scored 34 points, had 10 rebounds and shot 10 of 10 on free throws in a win over Belleville East; Davis scored 29 and grabbed 12 rebounds in a double overtime win over Mater Dei; Scored 20 and plucked 10 rebounds off the glass in a double OT win at Cahokia.

Tiana Timpe, Stockton (1A): Posted two robust stat lines against Galena; 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 7 steals in one game; Posted a triple-double of 32 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and 3 steals. 

Haley Stoklosa, Lincoln-Way Central (4A): The Bellarmine signee averaged 13 ppg and 4 rpg while going 3-1 with wins over Providence, Lincoln-Way East and Lockport (lost to Lincoln-Way West); Also, sophomore Azyah Newson-Cole averaged 10.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 3.0 apg; Division I offers are starting to come in for the two-year starter. 

Sophia Remmel, Dunlap (3A):  Led the Eagles to their first Mid-Illini Championship (been in conference since 2000), beating Morton in a 21-point performance to clinch the title. Averaging 16 ppg this season.

Niallie Evans, Aurora Christian (1A): Scored 15 in a win vs. Timothy Christian, secured a steal, hit the layup that gave ACS the lead and followed that with a 3-pointer to extend the lead at a critical juncture. 

Josie Ness, Sandwich (3A): Averaged 11.3 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 2 bpg, 1.5 spg, 1 apg as Sandwich went 3-1 for the week and improved to 10-3 overall (8-3 in Interstate 8). 

Layla Henderson, Naperville North (4A): Scored 21 vs. Naperville Central on Friday. 

Riley Huston, Monmouth-Roseville: Scored 31 points in a 47-37 win over Famington.

Makiyah Williams, Trinity: Scored 29, 11 rebounds, 3 assists in a 62-59 win over Montini; In a later 65-46 loss to Montana, had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks.

Ellie Cahill, Eureka (2A): Led the Hornets to a fifth straight HOIC Championship; Scored 25 over fellow undefeated squad Tremont.

Jilyan Burgener, Central A&M: The freshman scored 33, had 8 rebounds and 3 assists and made 7 3-pointers.

Lauren McDonald, St. Ignatius: Scored 24 points, added 6 rebounds, 5 assists and was named player of the game in a 69-52 win over Joliet Catholic; JCA’s Jasmine Brown added 29 in the same contest. Scored 22 in a 60-57 win against Fenwick.

Emily White, Sullivan (2A): Scored 36, tallied 7 rebounds and 7 steals in a 66-41 victory over St. Teresa; posted 26 and helped her team clinch a CIC championship. 

Natasha Barnes, Lindblom: Registered an unconventional double-double with 35 points, 10 steals in a win. 

Abbey Schreacke, Quincy Notre Dame (2A): Scored 30 points and knocked down clutch free throws as she led her team to knock off previously unbeaten Brown County, 42-37; Scored 20 in a win over Macomb.

Avery Bohnenstiehl, Triad: Scored 34 points against Mascoutah.

Lisa Thompson, Joliet West (4A): While picking up Division I offers left and right, scored 30 in a 66-41 win over Oswego East; Put up 15 points in a 47-29 win over Yorkville; Posted 32 points in a 61-43 victory against Plainfield North. 

Laila Barakat, Stagg (4A): 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in a game last week. 

Alecia Doyle, Carterville (2A): Averaged 22 ppg in wins over Anna-Jonesboro, Nashville and Massac County; Poured in 33 points and a buzzer-beating triple in overtime to win over Massac Co.

Illinois HS Boys Players of the Week

Chaz Harvey, Brooks (3A): The team’s scoring leader put up 24 points and 10 rebounds against Bogan; Also had 29 points, 4 stels in a 77-75 overtime win over Corliss.

Jaden Schutt, Yorkville Christian (1A): Exploded for 35 points in a 90-48 win over West Aurora; Added 34 more in a 109-88 victory against Illinois Valley Central. 

AJ Redd, St. Ignatius (3A): Scored 23 on 9 of 12 shooting with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal against Whitney Young on Saturday, March 6; 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 4 rebounds, 3 assists 2 steals on Wednesday March 3; vs. Marmion 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting, 9 rebounds, 2 steals on Monday, March 1 against Christ The King; Also, Richard Barron scored 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting (5 of 8 from 3), with 11 rebounds and 2 assists against Marmion Academy; added 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists 2 steals against Providence St. Mel; 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals vs. Whitney Young Saturday. 

Xavier Amos, Whitney Young (4A): Scored 20 in a 63-56 Dolphins win over St. Ignatius; Dropped 23 points in a 60-52 win over St. Rita.

Mitchell Haake, Mater Dei (2A): Scored 20 points, added 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks in a game between two undeated foes, as Mater Dei defeated Mascoutah 58-47. 

Eli Aldana, Saint Viator (3A): Posted a 20-point, 7-assist game and scored the winning basket with six seconds left to defeat Notre Dame 47-46. 

Tony Cicero, Joliet Central (4A): A sophomore, scored a career-high 33 in a win over West Aurora. 

Rafael Bou, Oak Lawn (4A): Averaged 12.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 2 apg and shot 58.5% from the floor over the Spartans’ last five games, during which Oak Lawn is 4-1 (3-1 last week). 

Jalen Quinn, Tuscola (2A): In four games scored 37 against Macon Meridian, 34 against Sullivan, 23 against Decatur St. Teresa and 28 vs. Tolono Unity. 

Tommie Williams, Belleville West (4A): Put up 20 points, 5 rebounds to knock Belleville East from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday, 67-58; Williams helped West improve to 9-4 this year overall with three wins during the week. 

Coltin Quagliano, Wethersfield (1A): Recorded a triple double of 24 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a 61-48; helped lead Wethersfield to share of a conference title.

Kobe Kriese, Antioch (3A): Wisconsin-Lutheran recruit scored 30 points and added 8 rebounds in a 55-45 win over Round Lake. 

Jeffrey Oakley, Corliss (2A): 21 points in a 77-75 overtime loss to Brooks; 19 points, 11 rebounds in a 59-54 win against Bogan; 

Brandon Hall, Thornton (4A): The East Tennessee State signee posted 20 points in a 62-47 victory over Bloom; Scored a career-high 30 in a 58-42 win against Crete-Monee; put up 26 points, 7 rebounds in a 70-61 win vs. Thornwood. 

Isaiah Barnes, Simeon (4A): The Michigan signee scored 18 points and added 10 rebounds in an overtime win over Bogan ; An identical 18 points, 10 rebounds to go with 2 blocks and 2 assists in a 67-64 overtime win over Hyde Park; Added 11 in a 65-54 win over Kenwood. 

Lionel Wilson, Collins: Scored 30, added 7 rebounds, 6 assists in a 4OT , 76-68 win over Clemente. 

Jaloni Johnson, Proviso East (4A): A sophomore, Johnson dropped a sparkling 45 points in an overtime win over Leyden.

Trey Bazzell, Prairie Central: Scored 27, posted 8 rebounds, 5 steal, 3 blocks and sank a buzzer-beating shot to defeat Monticello; scored 21, added 12 boards, 3 steals and 3 books in a game against University High. 

  • Jesus Perez, Morton (Cicero) (4A): Posted 31 points, 12 assists in a 91-78 victory against Oak Park-River Forest.
  • Isaac Siegried, West Hancock: Sank 10 of 12 3-point attempts and scored 34 in a 76-64 win vs. Rushville.
  • Julian Campbell, Palatine (4A): Campbell scored 40 points in a 76-65 Pirates victory vs. Hoffman Estates; Also scored 21 in a 76-48 win over Lake Zurich; put up 31 points in a 74-67 overtime win over Barrington. 
  • Anthony Cooper, Ottawa (3A): Scored 37 points in a 71-40 win over Plano; Scored 16 in a 44-29 win over Sycamore.
  • Mac Parmelee, Illinois Valley Central: Tied a school-record with 45 points in a game; Scored 26 in an 86-45 win over Olympia.
  • Collin Fosler, Scales Mound (1A):  Led Scales Mound to a 5-0 week, including 23 in a 96-86 win over Indian Creek, 22 in a 77-59 victory against Galena and 16 in another win over Galena, 78-50. 
  • Joseph Perkins, HSA Southwest: Filled the basket all week as he scored 24 points, added 8 assists and 8 steals in an 89-34 win over BYCP; Added 23 points, 10 rebounds in a 73-27 win over Kelly; and boasted a stat line of 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in a 67-41 victory over Harper; Also, Don Williams put up points/rebounds/assists slash lines of 28/16/5, 21/13/4, 22/14/5 and 18/11/5 during the week. 
  • Keyonta Ellis, Ogden: Put up scoring totals of 23, 25, 14 and 29, with each leading his team.

Milestones/Accomplishments, Game-Winners and More

We’re on the lookout for records and milestones, monster performances and game-winners. You can find more info like this by subscribing to the Illinois High School Basketball News Newsletter.

  • Madison Lovett, Averaging 12.8 ppg this season, the North Clay senior reached 1,500 career points. 
  • Farrah Castleman scored her 1,000th point. 

Nolan Deitrich hit a buzzerbeater to send Illini West over the top against Bushnell-Prairie City.

Homewood-Flossmoor junior Christian Meeks hit a game-winning outback in to give his squad a 50-48 road win over Lincoln-Way East

Meridian’s Christopher Mosby’s second-chance make pushed Meridian past Agape Christian on the road. 

 McCade Weber drilled a half-court shot to put Aurora Christian over the top at home against Wheaton Academy. 

Ethan Evans sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for Farmington to defeat Monmouth-Roseville that we’ve yet to see video of.

New Trier Plays Spoiler Role, Now Tied Atop CSL South

With 2:08 remaining in the second quarter, New Trier was down by 22 points to Glenbrook South on its home court.

For the Trevians, the outcome looked bleak. But the team never flinched. 

When the final buzzer sounded, the New Trier players ran to center court, celebrating after their 64-63 comeback victory against the Titans. 

New Trier coach Scott Fricke couldn’t have been more proud of his group. 

“We came out so flat today, and I think it has to do with playing two emotional games against Evanston this weekend, not having a day to prep, there were a lot of things we could have used as excuses,” Fricke said. “Our kids just decided to play harder, reach from within, and you kind of saw what happened.” 

The Trevians (10-2, 6-2) ended the first half on a 12-3 run to make it a 37-24 game going into the third quarter. 

“We talked at halftime; it’s not like we are going to get the lead back in one minute,” Fricke said. “Let’s just chip away and play solid basketball. We’re still in the game.”

It started with New Trier’s adjustment to use a 1-3-1 defense. This forced Glenbrook South (14-2, 6-2) into turnovers and New Trier took advantage.

“We started getting very lazy with passes and we stopped moving against the zone,” Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston said. “It was just like the perfect storm.” 

One of the other reasons why New Trier made its comeback was because of junior forward Jackson Munro, who ended with a game-high 21 points. 

After picking up two early fouls, which forced him to sit for a good portion of the second quarter, Munro scored six in the third quarter. Sophomore Jake Fiegen added another six points in the third, and New Trier trailed by one entering the last eight minutes of play. 

Glenbrook South junior Cooper Noard started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to give the Titans a 53-49 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. Noard finished with a team-high 18 points. 

But the Trevians kept fighting and Glenbrook South’s 22-point lead was all but gone. With one minute remaining in the game, New Trier was tied 60-60. A few seconds, after Josh Kirkpatrick’s two made free throws, the Trevians were up 63-61. 

Despite having the lead, New Trier junior Karlo Colak — who scored nine points — knew the game was far from over. 

“It was at the moment we were up that we needed to play the best we have played the whole game,” Colak said. “We needed to finish this thing off and not let this chance slip away.”

The comeback will go down as a memory Colak, Fricke and the entire New Trier team will never forget. The Trevians now move into a tie atop the CSL South standings in the loss column (two, with Evanston and Glenbrook South). New Trier’s win over Evanston Saturday put the Titans in the driver’s seat for the end-of-season Chipotle Clash of Champions slot guaranteed to the CSL South champion. Evanston now takes the bid with a win over Maine South on Wednesday.

Glenbrook South juniors Cooper Noard and Nick Martinelli too much for Niles West

On Friday night inside the Titan Dome against Niles West, Glenbrook South juniors Cooper Noard and Nick Martinelli proved why they are some of the most prolific scorers in the state. 

Noard and Martinelli both finished with 23 points in a convincing 60-41 victory over the Wolves, improving the Titans record to (13-1, 5-1). 

“They’re really hard to stop together, especially when both of them are clicking,” Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston said. “If one guy is going off and you try to take him away, the next thing you know the other guy is wide open, so it creates some problems.”

Noard scored the first points of the game with a three in front of the small student section. He went 4-of-5 from distance and added a 7-foot jump shot in the first. In the third quarter, the 6-foot-2 point guard made both of his 3-pointers. 

“They (Niles West) came out in a zone, and my teammates were finding me and I was getting open shots,” Noard said. “I was able to knock them down. My teammates trust me. They give me shots when I was open and I was able to take advantage.”

When Noard is converting on his shots, he has “the green light” to keep on shooting. But even if he does miss, Noard knows that Martinelli will be in position to give the team an opportunity to get some second-chance points. 

Out of Martinelli’s 23 points, only three came from long range. The 6-foot-7 shooting guard did a majority of his scoring inside. His 10 points in the third quarter gave Glenbrook South a 55-33 lead going into the fourth quarter. 

“I think we have probably the best offense in the state when me and Nick are both on our games,” Noard said. 

He also added that with the help of the seniors on the roster it only makes Martinelli’s and his game “even better.”

One of the seniors is Justin Leszynski, who finished third on the team in scoring with 8 points. He also had a blocked shot with 1:57 remaining in the second quarter that ricocheted off the backboard and led to a transition layup from Martinelli. 

For Niles West, junior guard Moses Leblanc finished with a team-high 18 points. 

Going into the game, Niles West coach Mike Wasielewski knew it would be a challenge trying to contain all of the playmakers that the Titans have on their roster. 

“I think I saw fight the whole game,” Wasielewski said. “With the talent they have, they could have blown us out by 20 in the first half and they didn’t. Our guys fought. Again, we don’t have some of the same fire power that they have. I’m happy we competed and hoping some of the younger guys can develop.”

Noah Franklin, Cobden Appleknockers Doing Big Things in Shortened Season

Noah Franklin & Harold Blunt

Playing a conference-only schedule, Noah Franklin and the Cobden Appleknockers have been doing things in a big way all season. 

Noah Franklin, a senior, and his brother Tyler Franklin, a sophomore, come in at 6-7 and 6-5 respectively; they are joined by 6-10 teammate Elliott Lowndes and are part of an undefeated (12-0) squad that stands tall among the trees of Southern Illinois. 

“Coaches, we all lie all the time (about height), but those three, they’re legit that size-wise,” Cobden coach Wendell Wheeler said.

On Friday, Noah Franklin broke the program scoring record which has stoop since 1979, previously held by current assistant coach Harold Blunt (1,825 points), scoring 28 in a 68-23 win over Joppa-Maple Grove.

Both Franklins and Lowndes dunked in the victory. 

“I wasn’t necessarily worried about my individual success coming into the season because I knew that if we had a solid foundation as a team with the tools that we have I knew that I’d get there,” Noah Franklin said. “So it comes with a lot of satisfaction because I know that my individual accomplishments are coming with a lot of team success.”

After Tyler Franklin broke into the lineup as a freshman, Noah Franklin has enjoyed getting to play alongside his brother. The pair was helped lead Cobden to 24 wins and a 1A regional championship in 2019-20.

“It’s been really cool –not a lot of people get to play with their siblings on the court and some take it for granted,” the senior wing/forward Noah Franklin said. “We’ve really been able to grow as players together going up to the gym for countless hours and being able to play several games on the court with each other. Sure, we butt heads at times, but we usually find a way to get over it and get what we need done finished.”

The success enjoyed by the undefeated Appleknockers isn’t lost on Wheeler, who recently picked up his 400th career victory. Wheeler is in his third year with the program and loves touting its history; Cobden is famous for the 1964 team that finished second when there was only one state tournament bracket, regardless of class.

“After that ’64 team, we (Cobden) had a big dry spell,” Wheeler said. “My first year, we’d had three 20-win seasons (in school history), had never won a regional since 64, had only been in one regional final since ’64. Hadn’t won a conference (title) since 1979.”

Cobden won that elusive conference title last season, undefeated in the South Egpytian in fact, with a handful of seniors to go along with the Franklins

The Franklins have made things a show in the tiny town of Cobden (population approximately 1,150), throwing down windmill jams and leading the Appleknockers to one of the top scoring averages in the state. In a school with a population of 184 — as of the last official count by the IHSA — that type of thing makes waves. 

“Those two together make a pretty good coach,” Wheeler said with a chuckle.

“Yeah we are really big for a high school team and that has really helped us to be able to make teams lives miserable on the defensive end altering shots, making passes difficult to make and limiting offensive rebounding opportunities,” Noah Franklin said. “Not to mention that it also really helps us on the offensive end as well, but a lot of our offense has come from our defense this year.”

The hyper-athletic and lengthy senior will take his skills to Southwest Baptist University (Division II) in Bolivar, Missouri, but not before rounding out a season for the ages. 

Wheeler is convinced that the day-to-day work Noah Franklin puts in has him plenty prepared to play at a high level collegiately. 

“You get kids from a small school sometimes and they’re the best kid in their community, their little area and they’re satisfied,” Wheeler said. “That’s not happening with him. He’s very hungry and he pushes himself, pushes Tyler which pushes our other guys.”

And with Wheeler, who retired from teaching three years ago, he’s just happy to be spending days like this coaching basketball. 

“The older coaches will tell you, the relationships you’ve built with your kids, and this has been a crazy year… this has been a great year to go through that with,” Wheeler said. “At least we’re going through that together.”

“We’re more thankful for the games we’re getting to play than upset about the ones we’re not.”

Illinois HS Basketball Top Performers: February 22-28

Illinois High School Basketball Players Honored

Illinois-Basketball.com sends emails to the vast majority of coaches in the state of Illinois looking for the some of the top performances from players in the state.

An email was sent to every coach with an email listed on the IHSA website. Any emails omitted can be pointed out to the writer at kalebcarter4256@gmail.com to be added to our database.

We’ve identified nearly 50 deserving athletes between boys and girls basketball. We’ve also included a list of milestones and accomplishments from the past week. Check out who we recognized Week 3.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • Elana Wells, Burlington Central (3A): in three games, averaged 21.6 ppg, 5 rpg and 3 spal Also went over 1,500 points in a 60-51 win Saturday over Butler Prep. 
  • Tori Standefer, Civic Memorial (3A): Averaged 18 ppg, 3 apg, 4 spg over the week as CM leaped out to a 9-1 start (5-0 in the Mississippi Valley). 
  • Addison Miller, Benton (2A): Averaged 19.7 ppg, scoring 24 vs. Murphysboro, 9 vs. Herrin and 26 vs. Massac County; Made 8 3-pointers, a single-game school-record on Saturday and reached 1,000 career points; Benton moved to 8-1 and 7-0 in the Southern Illinois River to River. 
  • Jasmine Brown, Joliet Catholic (2A): Put up 20 points against Minooka, 32 against Providence 17 vs. Marian Central Catholic and 16 against Marian Catholic. 
  • Trinity Wade, Shelbyville (2A): In three games, averaged 26 ppg, 6 spg. 
  • Bree Portz, Marissa (1A): Averaged 16.3 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4 sig, 2.8 rpg over four games in wins over Dup, Sparta, Waterloo Gibault and Valmeyer. 
  • Kylie Kisgen, Freeburg (2A): The sophomore point guard shot 70.3% from the floor and averaged 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg over for games (three wins) against the likes of Alton Marquette, Okawville, Salem, and Breese Central. 
  • Claire Hyde, Wheaton North (4A): Scored 25 points against Geneva; put up 23 points in 14 minutes of play against St. Charles East; added 20 against Batavia. 
  • Lexi Salazar, Plainfield North (4A): Was 4 of 5 on 3-point attempts and scored 20 in a 76-42 win over Plainfield East. 
  • Alli Fuller, Tremont (2A): Set school record with 33 points in a game, reached 1,000 points and is averaging 19.5 ppg this season for Turks team that was undefeated before Tuesday, March 2. 
  • Riley Mont, West Aurora (4A): Averaged 22.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 spg and 1.6 apg in three games.
  • Charlotte Trunk, Sandburg (4A): Averaged 14 ppg, 10 rebounds in a 3-0 week against Lincoln-Way East, rovidence and Andrew; Also, Josie Canellis averaged 13 ppg, hit 7 3-pointers, and went 11 of 11 on free throws.
  • Josie Ness, Sandwich (3A): Helped lead Sandwich to a 2-1 record, beating LaSalle-Peru and Ottawa, but lost to Kaneland, scored 26 points, added 22 rebounds, 11 steals, 5 assists, 3 blocks. 
  • Sydney Affolter, Marist (4A): Scored 29 points, had 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals in a win over Mother McAuley on Monday; Scored 18 points, posted 9 rebounds and sank 2 free throws with 2.2 seconds to seal a win over Marian Catholic; had 23 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in a win over Nazareth on Saturday.
  • Sydney Harris, Edwardsville (4A): In four games, posted scoring totals of 21 (twice), 33 and 23.  
  • Emma Morrissey, Saint Viator (3A): Scored 12 points, had 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in a 50-34 win over Marian Central Saturday; 16 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds in a 69-62 win over Marian Catholic Friday; 26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists in a 77-71 win over Carmel Catholic; Put up 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists in defeating previously unbeaten Loyola Academy Tuesday. 
  • Janae Kent, Oak Forest (3A): Totaled a 33-point, 17-rebound effort on Feb. 23; 20 points, 9 rebounds in a win over Shepard Thursday; 20 points in a 76-70 loss to Hillcrest Friday.
  • Katy Eidle, Hersey (4A): Super soph scored 27 as the Huskies controlled the state’s No. 2 team, winning comfortably, 57-35. 

Illinois Boys Player of the Week Nominees

  • Zach Derus, Rockford Lutheran (2A): Scored 32 in a 97-78 Lutheran win over Indian Creek on Feb. 23, handing the Timberwolves their first regular season loss since 2019; Derus went over 1,000 career points on Feb. 13. 
  • Anthony Taylor, Richards (4A): Filled the stat sheet with 37 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and a steal against Evergreen Park; 21 points, 5 steals vs. Reavis; 23 points, 5 assists vs. Bremen; Taylor, as of Sunday, was averaging 26 ppg, 7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 3.2 spg, 0.8 bpg. 
  • Trey Totheroh, Milford (1A): Scored 18 points, had 10 rebounds and 7 assists in a win over Westville; Totheroh, the school’s all-time leader in assists, owns the single-game school record with 14 assists and has kept Milford winning. 
  • Zach Tucker, Byron (2A): The future University of Dubuque student scored 22 points, a trio of made 3-pointers, had 8 steals (6 deflections) and 5 rebounds in a 59-48 win over Stillman Valley on Feb. 22
  • Grant Hyer, Quincy Notre Dame (2A): Put up scoring totals of 12 vs. Camp Point, 22 vs. Mendon Unity and 28 over Pittsfield as QND went 3-0 on the week. 
  • Daniel Tingley, Marshall (2A): posted scoring totals of 27 and 20 as the Lions improved to 7-2 overall. 
  • DeAndre Young, Harlem (4A): the sophomore scored 24 points and held Freeport’s leading scorer to 3 points in a 75-54 Huskies win as Harlem improved to 7-1. 
  • Liam Bivona, Manteno (2A): in two games over the weekend (both wins), Bivona scored 43 point on 14 of 23 shooting (including 10 of 18 from beyond the 3-point arc), added 2 assists and 2 steals. 
  • JT Welch, Bloomington Central Catholic (2A): Scored 21 points in close win over Peoria Christian;  Posted 35 points in a two overtime 84-74 victory over St. Thomas More; Added 27 in a 60-58 home overtime win against Streato; Went over 1,000 career points.
  • Corey Walker, Normal West (4A): In four games, averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds; hit the winning layup with five seconds left vs. Danville; Scored 28 against Yorkville Christian; Posted 21 points, 15 rebounds against Bloomington. 
  • Donovan Johnson, Rich Township (4A):  Averaged 11.8 ppg and shot 6 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc. 
  • Matas Deksnys, Lockport (4A): The 6 foot, 7 inch sharpshooter tied the school record when he sank 7 3-pointers for all 21 of his points in a win over Stagg Saturday; helped lead the Porters to a 3-1 record with the lone loss coming in four overtimes to Homewood-Flossmoor, a game in which he had 16 points, 6 rebounds; Had 18 points, 7 rebounds in an overtime win over Andrew; 11 point against Joliet Catholic; Averaged 16.5 ppg, 4.25 rpg, 1.5 apg, 39% from 3; 45 FG% and 90% on FTs; Also, Angelo Vassilakis put up a stat line of 14 points, 9 rebounds, 7 steals and 5 assists in the win over Andre; Added 11 assists to 3 turnovers against H-F and 5 assists to 0 turnovers against Stagg. 
  • Xavier Sulaiman, Marist (4A): The sophomore scored 19 Saturday against Brother Rice. 
  • K.J. Vasser, Yorkville Christian (1A): Scored a career-high 34 points in an 89-48 win over Harvest and 12 in a 103-60 victory over Pontiac. 
  • Bryce Moore, Carmel Catholic (3A): Piled up 27 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists in a 62-44 win over Marist Friday. 
  • Noah Livingston, Casey-Westfield (1A): 29 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, 7 steals in a win over Olney; Also 31 points 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals in a victory vs. Red Hill as C-W, undefeated in conference, aims to win fourth straight Little Illini Conference regular season title. 
  • Mason Accidentale, Plano (3A): Scoring totals of 21, 18 and 23 against Sycamore, LaSalle-Peru and Kaneland respectively. 
  • Kyle Athmer, Breese Central (2A): Averaged 16 ppg and 9 rpg over three games; Also, Brady Moore, averaged 13.3 ppg, 6 rpg. 
  • Kam Craft, Buffalo Grove (4A): Reached 1,500 points Saturday in a 38-point performance in a 67-50 win over Conant. Craft is now averaging 25 ppg and has 5 double-doubles. 
  • Tahj Bloom, Grayslake Central (3A): Averaged 15 ppg, 15 rpg over 3 games, including an 18-point, 21-rebound, 8-assist game. 
  • Robert Staffo, Egyptian (1A): Scored 27, added 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals against Joppa; Then, against Joppa again, scored 35, had 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block and 2 steals; Scored 27, had 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal against Agape Christian. 
  • Maurice Evans, Tinley Park (4A): 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 6 steals in a 67-63 win over TF North; 23 points, 13 rebounds in a 63-53 victory against Argo.
  • JJ Taylor, Kenwood (3A): 33 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in an 86-49 win over Bowen; 41 points (including 9 of 12 on 3-point shooting), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals In a 96-56 win over Clemente; 37 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists as Kenwood beat Morgan Park 91-68. 
  • Jacob Schleich, North Fulton: Scored 41 points in a in a 70-56 win over Peoria Heights; Scored 18 in a loss to Brimfield.
  • Julian Davila, Elmwood Park (3A): The senior captain is now top 5 in program history in scoring and hit a half-court buzzer-beater to defeat Westmont Friday;  Uncommited to college, Davila averaged 18.5 ppg last season and is averaging 20 ppg this season. 

Milestones/Accomplishments, Game-Winners and more

We’re on the lookout for records and milestones, monster performances and game-winners. You can find more info like this by subscribing to the Illinois High School Basketball News Newsletter.

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