Evanston Defeats Glenbrook South, 68-54, Splits SeasOn Series

Glenbrook South led Evanston for almost an entire quarter on Saturday at the Titan Dome — the second game of a back-to-back for the teams. But as the final seconds of the period were about to expire, Evanston’s Blake Peters ran down the middle of the lane and got a put back to give Evanston a one-point lead. 

It was all Evanston the rest of the way.

The Wildkits only grew their lead as the game went on and would end up defeating the Titans, 68-54, giving Glenbrook South its first loss of the season and, more importantly, splitting the season series with the Titans. The teams are once again tied atop the CSL South standings at 4-1.

Peters had a team-high 28 points for the Wildkits, and junior point guard Rashawn Bost finished second in scoring for Evanston with 13 points. 

For Glenbrook South, junior forward Nick Martinelli ended with a game-high 31 points, and fellow junior point guard Cooper Noard was second with 11 points. 

The Wildkits started to extend their lead in the second quarter behind Peters’ 11 points. At halftime, the Wildkits had a 34-21 advantage. 

Martinelli finished with 15 points at the end of the first two quarters, and only senior small forward Matthew Rosenberger (four points) and junior forward Brandon Ballarinin (two points) made the stat sheet in the first half. 

In the third quarter, the Wildkits broke the game open. After Martinelli scored the first points of the second half with a layup, Peters followed that up on the next possession with a 3-pointer in front of the Evanston bench. 

Evanston forced a turnover on Glenbrook South’s next offensive possession and Bost completed a three-point play, scoring on a layup and adding a free throw. Shortly after, Bost made a three-pointer to make it a 20-point lead with roughly 4:30 remaining in the third quarter. 

Glenbrook South did go on a 6-0 run to make it a 43-29 game with 3:40 left in the quarter, but the Titans couldn’t get it much closer than that. Evanston would go on an 8-2 run to close out the quarter, giving them a 51-31 lead heading into the last eight minutes of play. 

Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston did change up his defense in the fourth, utilizing a zone look, which forced a turnover on the first possession and an Evanston timeout on the next one. But the Wildkits still had firm control and ended up having to shoot free throws to close out the game.

With the victory, Evanston improves to 9-1 on the season and will face Maine West on Monday. After the loss, Glenbrook South is now 11-1 and will host Maine West on Tuesday. 

Glenbrook South defeats Evanston 61-55, Takes Control of CSL South

Nearly three minutes had passed and Glenbrook South was still searching for its first basket of the fourth quarter.

After Evanston’s Blake Peters’ acrobatic layup, Glenbrook South senior Drew Maytum inbounded the ball to fellow senior Matthew Rosenberger in front of the Evanston bench. Junior point guard Cooper Noard ran down the middle of the court and Rosenberger passed the ball to him. Noard extended his arms, secured the ball and spun off his man to make the contested floater. 

Noard would go on to score eight points in the final minutes, including one of his patented three-pointers. Behind Noard’s team-high 18 points, Glenbrook South defeated Evanston, 61-55, at the Beardsley Gymnasium to improve to 11-0 on the season. 

Fellow junior Nick Martinelli finished second in scoring with 15 points. And Rosenberger, who missed four free throws in the first half, ended third in scoring for the Titans with 11 points, making 2-of-3 free throws in the fourth quarter to help keep Glenbrook South in control of the game. 

For the Wildkits, Peters had a game-high 22 points with 10 of those came in the fourth quarter. Senior guard Elijah Bull added 10 points. Going into halftime, the Wildkits had a 29-25 lead over the Titans. 

But it was in the third quarter where the Titans came back in the game. Glenbrook South scored 18 points, including three made triples, one each from Noard, Maytum and junior Brandon Ballarinin. The Titans had six different players score, and this helped give Glenbrook South a 43-40 edge going into the final quarter. 

To start the game, Glenbrook South and Evanston were both playing lock-down defense, as each team had to work to find their shots. The Wildkits had five players score in the opening quarter and had a 14-9 advantage after the first eight minutes of play. 

With the victory, Glenbrook South is in sole possession of first place in the Central Suburban South Conference. But Evanston will get another opportunity to even the series with Glenbrook South, as the Wildkits will travel to the Titan Dome on Saturday to finish their back-to-back games. 

Illinois High School Basketball Top Performers: Feb. 15-21

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. Click here to see the top performers from Week 2.

Illinois Girls Player of the Week Nominees

  • Lexie Sinclair, Bartlett (4A): Sinclair put together an unconventional triple-double with a 16-point, 11 assist, 12-steal game in a win over South Elgin; Scored 16 points against Streamwood, 18 vs. Elgin, and 20 against Neuqua Valley, all victories; Also, MacKenzie Hare put up scoring totals of 32, 39, 29 and 24.
  • Trinity Wade, Shelbyville (2A): Scored 44 points in a win over Cerro Gordo/Bement, a school record.
  • Emily White, Sullivan (2A): Scored a career-high 35, had 13 rebounds and shot 7 of 9 on 3-point attempts as Sullivan beat state top 10-ranked Clinton.
  • Gracen Haska, Fenton (3A): The freshman recorded 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks in the Bison’s first win of the season; Also, Sophia Haska: scored 13 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and had 3 blocks in a win over East Aurora.
  • Tyler Butler, Belleville East (4A): The senior forward keeps stacking up double-doubles. Butler had 19 points and 19 rebounds in a 49-47 loss to Belleville West Thursday; Scored 20 points and plucked 9 rebounds off the glass in a 54-46 win over Collinsville; Butler as of Sunday was averaging 19 ppg and 15.8 rpg through five contests.
  • Apple Guerrero, Argo (4A): Averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds during the week, shooting 48% from the floor with 11 total assists and 12 steals.
  • Thaya Luse, Aurora Christian (1A): Posted 29 points, 16 rebounds in a win over Rosary on Monday, Feb. 15; Tallied 21 points, 18 rebounds, 7 assists and 8 steals in a win over Elmwood Park Thursday. Had 6 consecutive double-doubles as of Sunday.
  • Tyrah Taylor, Hope Academy (Chicago) (1A): Had 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals in 79-7 win over Rochelle Zell on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
  • Kamryn Sturdy, Tri-City/Sangamon Valley (2A): Freshman had 17 points, 3 assists and 3 steals in a win over rival Riverton; Also, sophomore Sarah Finley averaged 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks in games against South Fork and Riverton, while shooting 13 of 24 (54%).
  • Riley Mount, West Aurora (4A): In three games, averaged 26 pppg, 8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 4 spg; Averaging 26 ppg this season overall.
  • Natalie Iberg, Greenville (2A): 23 points, and five 3-pointers in a win over Vandalia on Friday.
  • Jase Burkett, Woodlawn (1A): Freshman sank four 3-pointers and scored 14 points to lead Woodlawn back from a 9-point deficit to beat Goreville 42-40 Saturday.
  • Sophia Harris, Putnam County (1A): Scored 24 points, added 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks in a 57-35 win over Dwight Saturday; Had 11 points and 13 rebounds Thursday against Marquette; put up 14 points, 9 rebounds against Roanoke-Benson Wednesday, Feb. 17.
  • Laura Strenk, Regina Dominican (2A): 15 points, 6 assists, 3 steals and a charge in a loss.
  • Claire McDougall, Washington (3A): Posted two double-doubles, averaged 14 ppg and 10.5 rpg over two games against Pekin.
  • Tiffany Bargmann, LeRoy (1A): Bargmann scored 17 points, had 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks in a 64-27 win at Flanagan on Monday, Feb. 15; Scored 19 points, added 4 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists in a 38-33 win over Lexington on Thursday, Feb. 18; Set school single-game block record with 8, adding 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in a 44-41 overtime win over El Paso-Gridley on Saturday Feb. 20.
  • Kammie Ludwig, Geneseo (3A): Scored 25 points in less than a half of basketball in a win over United Township.
  • Erin Henry, Plainfield North (4A): Put up 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a win over Yorkville as the Tigers moved to 5-0 in the Southern Prairie; Also, Jayln Patterson scored 17 points and collected 14 rebounds in a win over West Aurora.
  • Jessie Pakaski, Wauconda (4A): Led her squad to wins of 63-31 over Grant and 51-26 against Round Lake, combining for 21 points, 21 rebounds, 9 blocks and 5 assists in those games.
  • Claire Roberts, Sandwich (3A): Scored 18 points, added 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists in a 40-25 win over Somonauk Monday, Feb 15; Hit two 3-pointers on her way to 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals in a 42-34 win over Rochelle on Wednesday, Feb. 17; Hit all 8 free throw attempts scored 10 points, added 7 rebounds and 2 steals in a Friday loss to Sycamore.
  • Gabi Burgess, Lake Park (3A): Scored 25 points and had three steals in road win over Wheaton North.
  • Sydney Affolter, Marist (4A): an Iowa signee, put up scoring totals of 33, 20 (w/16 rebounds), 13 (w/8 rebounds) and was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
  • Erin Houpt, Danville (3A): Had scoring totals of 35 and 20.
  • Lauren McDonald, Saint Ignatius: Scored 17 points, had 7 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over Mother McAuley Saturday; Scored 32 in a win over Mother McAuley Friday.
  • KayLee Hohlbauch, Arcola (1A): 23 rebounds, 16 points in a 48-41 win over Okaw Valley on Thursday.
  • Lexi Kerstein had a triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and a near triple-double of 17 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds.
  • Carsyn Todd, Salt Fork (1A): Scored 31 and hit 4 treys in a win.
  • Maya Osborn, Marshall (2A): 20 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists in a 56-27 win over Olney.
  • Charlotte Trunk, Sandburg (4A): Averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds per game; Erin O’Connor is averaging 10 pts, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals a game; Also sophhomore guard Claire Calaghan is averaging 9 points, 4 assists and 4 steals per game.

Illinois Boys Player of the Week Nominees

  • Bryce Moore, Carmel Catholic (3A): 18 ppg, 9 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg and led his team to a 2-1 record ast week.
  • Chase White, Lebanon (1A): Senior point guard missed who missed his entire junior season with an ACL tear and after three games this season he is averaging 17 ppg, 4 apg, 4 spg and 4 rbps a game. His coach called him “a silky point guard who can facilitate, pass and score.”
  • Jenson Whiteman, Rockridge (2A): Coming off a team quarantine, Whiteman scored 35 points had 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over Orion. Whiteman was an all-Three Rivers Area Conference performer a season ago.
  • Tommy Zimmer, Illinois Lutheran (1A): The junior, who already has a 31-point game this season, recorded a 20-point, 10-rebound game against Donovan Friday and a 20-point, 9-rebound game against Grant Park Saturday.
  • Devion Blake, Egyptian (1A): The 6 foot, 5 inch junior post player put up two strong performances, 22 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks and 3 steals in a win over Elvarado; Blake also posted 30 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in a loss to Cobden.
  • Blake Kimball, Unity (Tolono) (2A): A junior point guard, Kimball scored 22 points in a loss to St. Joseph Ogden; Kimball responded after the loss with 30 points on 8 of 15 shooting, (6 of 13 on 3-point attempts) in a win over Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
  • Dylan Singleton, Lincoln (3A): Scored 38 in a win over 2A #1 Sacred- Heart-Griffin.
  • Manny Garcia, Notre Dame La Sallete: Put up a stat line of 21 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 57-47 win over Springfield Sabers.
  • Robbie Avila, Oak Forest (3A): The big, spectacled junior post had 23 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Bremen Wednesday; Avila, who recently picked up an offer from Division I Richmond; Scored 30 points and collected 11 rebounds in a loss against Lemont on Friday; Avila also crossed 1,000 points for his career.
  • Jacob Shoven, Clifton Central (2A): Scored 22 points and recorded 6 rebounds, 4 steals against Momence on Friday, reaching 1000 points in the process.
  • Jack Haynes, Streator (3A): Scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds (7 offensive, 7 defensive) against Peotone.
  • Bryce Anderson, Carterville (2A): hit the game-winning bucket with 2.3 seconds remaining to defeat previously unbeaten Centralia.
  • Ben Randall, Hersey (4A): Posted 15 points, 14 rebounds in one game, 12 points, 7 rebounds in another.
  • Nick Martinelli, Glenbard South (4A): Scoring in bunches for undefeated GBS, Scored 34 in a win over New Trier, and 21 in a win over Highland Park.
  • Kentucky signee Bryce Hopkins, earned a McDonald’s All-American Game nomination, had 25 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in an 84-54 win over Montini; Scored 22 points in an overtime, 71-68 loss to Nile Notre Dame; Scored 19 in a win over Providence Catholic.
  • Ty Pence, St. Joseph-Ogden (2A): Scored 40 points and had 19 rebounds in a 66-52 win over Oakwood Wednesday Feb. 17 Scored 16 in a win over Robinson Saturday; Posted a 20-point, 16-rebound performance in a 58-51 win over Unity Friday.
  • Robert Roszkiewicz, Addison Trail (4A): Scored 37 in a loss to Willowbrook.
  • DaJuan Bates, De La Salle: scored 40 in a 66-51 win over Leo.
  • Jaxson Provost, Bishop McNamara: scored 23, had 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 deflections 3 steals over 2 games. s

Milestones, 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.

It’ll be hard to top a three-quarter court buzzer-beater to knock off a ranked team in overtime:

  • Coach Lee Bennett won his 300th game at Centralia. As of Wednesday Feb. 17 he held a record of 300-102.
  • Evanston graduate Eliyah Williams went over 1,000 points for Farleigh Dickinson.
  • Ashley Raymer reached 1,000 points for Providence Catholic.
  • Danny Grieves went over a quarter of a ton of wins, or as it’s easier to say, 500 for Metamora boys basketball.
  • Mendon Unity coach Brad Begeman reached 200 victories in a win over Quincy Notre Dame.
  • Greta Kampschroeder was honored as the lone Illinois girls preps player to be selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game and also hit this ridiculous shot.
  • Marengo’s Matt Volkening scored 33 points in the same game as he crossed the 1,000 points threshold in a 64-33 victory.
  • Conor Enright scored 21 points had 12 assists and 4 rebounds in a 70-48 win over Round Lake and also reached 1,000 points last week. He also scored 15 had 5 assists and 5 rebounds in a win over Libertyville.
  • Rochelle broke a school record when the Hubs drilled 18 3-pointers in a 90-56 victory.
  • Quincy Notre Dame reached 1,500 wins as a program, per Matt Schuckman.
  • Genoa-Kingston grad Julie Galauner scored 41 points had 11 rebounds, and broke the Augustana University and NACC career records for 3-pointers.
  • Josh Harris crossed 1,000 points for Timothy Christian.
  • Heritage’s Corey White won his 100th game.
  • Illinois Valley Central’s Kamden Wollard reached the 1,000 points mark.
  • Evanston girls basketball coach Brittanny Johnson recorded her 100th win as the coach of the Wildkits.
  • Decatur MacArthur’s Quincenia Jackson became the program’s all-time leader in points.
  • Kayla Kodat, Dwight (1A): Hit 1,000 points for her career.
  • Aurora Christian’s Lexi Lamanna, already the program record-holder for assists, broke the steals record as she neared 300 steals last week.
  • Sandburg’s Josie Canellis set the program record for most 3’s in a half with 7 aainst Bolingbrook.
  • Annawan’s Emily Miller is now over 1,000 career points after scoring 21 in a 64-48 win over West Central.

Lamprecht Helps East Peoria End Four-Year Streak

Already one of the up-and-coming players in the Peoria area as a freshman, Tatym Lamprecht has elevated her game to the point of pushing East Peoria girls basketball forward as a sophomore this season.

Her 38 points propelled East Peoria past Limestone 55-49 on Wednesday, Feb. 17. That marked the Raiders’ first win in Mid-Illini Conference play since 2017, ending a 48-game conference losing streak. Her aggressiveness on the offensive end yielded her 20 free-throw attempts. She made 18.

“I didn’t think I would score that many points,” Lamprecht quietly admitted.

Her coach, Khassandrae Brown, is less modest about the sophomore, who also has scoring performances of 24 and 23 under her belt this season.

“She doesn’t shy away from contact like you get with incoming freshman up against seniors like we had last year,” Brown said. ” She’s definitely gotten more aggressive and stronger. She has worked on her shooting which has helped a lot, because now they have to respect the shot and the drive from her. She does a phenomenal job of getting to the basket.”

Her shot has been the biggest difference in going from approximately 13 points per game a season ago to being a threat to score well over 20 every night as a sophomore. With an unconventional shooting stroke — the follow-through takes her closer to the basket than more traditional form — Lamprecht naturally ends up chasing her own shot. Still, she’s not chasing misses as much as she used to.

Acting as the Raiders’ primary ball-handler as well as their most potent offensive weapon, Lamprecht has long had to face the focused attention of opposing defenses.

“I got a lot better at shooting this year and drawing fouls,” Lamprecht said.

Provided photo of Lamprecht

“I’m a lot more confident with the ball last year than I was last year.”

She has grown accustomed to box-and-1’s, triangle-and-2’s, and sometimes just facing three people in her face all at once. Teams will do a lot when playing East Peoria to make anyone but the high-scoring sophomore beat them.

Lamprecht cited her time playing for her Heart of Illinois travel squad this past summer, when she couldn’t work out with her varsity team due to coronavirus restrictions, as a large part of what has propelled her into a productive sophomore campaign.

“We hadn’t been practicing that much and it’s a lot harder doing school online,” she said about the beginning of the school year.

Others on East Peoria have begun to have to strengthen their roles on the team. Fellow class of 2023 player Paige Creviston has shown Brown glimpses of being a strong player in the post.

Seniors Jexie Bolding and Rileigh Fortune are contributing as starters for an otherwise young team. Fortune, who didn’t play as a junior to focus more on running, has aided the team this year. Kaylie Hammel, who broke her arm two years ago, wasn’t even sure about playing but is now acting as a secondary ball-handler.

“We’re trying to get some other pieces to that puzzle to all fit together,” Brown said. “When she (Lamprecht) is double-teamed or the attempt is to take her out of the offense and not let her beat (them), that we have someone that can step up and fill that roll.”

But doing so against powerful conference foes like Morton, Metamora, Dunlap, Pekin and Washington, who have all been beating up on one another in February, is easier said than done.

The Raiders are after all 1-7 in Mid-Illini play after a 73-37 loss to Dunlap Saturday. Still, they’ve made big strides this season have two-plus more seasons to build upon with Lamprecht.

“We’re real low on numbers so we have a few from each class,” Brown said. “Before the win against Limestone, we had lost 48 (straight) conference games so to finally get one of those was huge for us. We’ve been competing. Against Canton they beat us at home and then we went there and only lost by 10 and it was a close game and competitive. We’re just trying to build on that win and keep trying to compete.”

Justin Leszynski’s Hard Work Pays Off with MIT Commitment

Glenbrook South's Justin Leszynski chooses MIT basketball

Before heading into his senior season at Glenbrook South, Justin Leszynski knew exactly what he wanted to improve in his game. 

Over the last summer and winter, the 6-5, 210-pound big man made it his primary focus to become quicker and to improve his perimeter defense. 

“I think I have done a pretty good job at that, but there is still room to grow,” Leszynski said. 

As a multi-sport athlete, also playing center striker for the Titans soccer team, Leszynski credits the skills and movements he learned on the soccer field for helping him on the basketball court. 

“He has improved physically so much from last season,” Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston said. “I think when you have been a part of a program, no matter what your role is, but when you have been a part of a program that had this much success as our team did last year, it has a sense for those younger kids to translate to wanting to uphold that level of play.”

Last year, Leszynski was one of those younger players. As a junior, Leszynski learned the importance of being “ready to step in when the other team tries to take away those other options” while he played alongside Dom Martinelli — a Northwestern freshman and Glenbrook South’s all-time scorer.

That mindset has carried over to this season and has helped the Titans remain undefeated through their first nine games.  

With junior forward Nick Martinelli — Dom Martinelli’s brother — and junior point guard Cooper Noard as the primary scorers, Leszynski’s role is to complement the duo. He does so with a perfectly-timed three-pointer or a rebound under the basket leading to a fast-break opportunity. 

All of Leszynski’s hard work — on the court and in the classroom — finally paid off when he found out he had been accepted into MIT. 

“The minute we opened the letter and there’s the animated confetti on the screen it really just made my year and it was one of the happiest moments in my life,” Leszynski said. “It was a lot of stress waiting to hear back. I know not everyone gets their first choice with getting into their (preferred) schools. … So it was just a tremendous moment of happiness to finally be able to announce where I’m going to be able to end up and play my next four years and continue playing the sport I love, which is basketball.”

Leszynski’s father, Ed, and mother, Amy Jo, were ecstatic when they heard the news. For Ed Leszynski, he has appreciated just being able to watch his son play his senior season. 

“He has always wanted to really play with his friends, and he has known these guys since kindergarten, second grade,” Ed said. “The other two seniors that start, they have been on the same team since second grade. Either soccer, baseball or basketball, so to finish on that, you can’t write a better script to finish your senior year with your best friends playing a team sport.”

For Justin, he is still finishing the final script for his last season at Glenbrook South. As of now, the Titans have 10 games remaining on their schedule, including two matchups against Evanston — the team that eliminated Glenbrook South in the Class 4A Elk Grove semifinals last year and that split the CSL South title with the Titans.

Regardless of what happens with the rest of the season, Ralston is proud of what his senior big man has been able to accomplish in his high school career.

“We’ve seen so much growth from Justin,” Ralston said. “We always knew he was the type of kid that was going to get into a school like MIT. Very high IQ, very cerebral kid. Getting into a great school like that was not the surprise. How far he has come in 16 months, as a basketball player, if someone would have told me that in November of 2019, I would say that might be a stretch for him. I don’t think it is now. It’s because he, once again, put in that unrequired work in the offseason, and I think it’s playing dividends for him now.”

Whitney Young Shows High Potential, Holds on for Win Over St. Laurence

When AJ Casey has it going, there’s no doubt how deadly Whitney Young can be.

Against St. Laurence in the Dolphins’ second game of the season Sunday, the junior forward scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half after dealing with foul trouble through halftime. Casey’s play, combined with his team’s sense of urgency on both ends of the court, helped Young escape with a 63-62 over St. Laurence, despite a late rally from the Vikings. 

When Casey and teammates were all clicking, it showed why they are thought of so highly around Illinois.

This game had various ebbs and flows: Young started strong off of three steals from Casey. He has great anticipation that, coupled with his speed and length (he’s listed at 6-8), wreak havoc on opponents. In this early season, the Casey steal-and-dunk to bring the house down is already a familiar sight.

Despite the strong start for Young, St. Laurence fought its way back into the game on Darius Wilson’s back. The 6-2 senior scored 10 of his team’s 16 first-quarter points to keep the Vikings within striking distance.

At halftime, the Dolphins led 30-24. The third quarter was a shift for Young. The Dolphins came out energetically and locked in on both sides. Seniors Jaeshon Thomas and Grant Newell set the tone early. Newell, a mainstay on Young’s varsity the past two seasons, was diving for loose balls, rebounding and scoring around the rim. Thomas contributed on the glass and scoring, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.

Casey went on a run where he was responsible for nine points, knocking down back-to-back threes on assists from sophomore point guard Dalen Davis, then returning the favor for Davis’ own three. Davis finished with 17 points and five assists.

After three quarters, it looked as the Dolphins had put this game away with a 54-37 lead, but the Vikings never gave in. 

St. Laurence kept chipping away with seniors Aaron Wofford and Eddie Martin helping out their fellow senior Wilson. The Vikings forced turnovers and took advantage on the other end.

With under 30 seconds to play, Young clung to a 63-57 lead. Young’s Thomas missed a free throw, then Wilson came down and converted a quick two. Holding a 63-59 with 18.5 seconds left, Newell had a chance to put the game away, but he also missed his free throw. 

With a chance to extend the game again, the Dolphin’s length and activity — their calling card of the young season — helped them in the end. Casey forced a missed shot at the rim. The Vikings grabbed the offensive rebound and ultimately knocked down a three, but the swarming Young defense forced too much time to run off the clock.

With their third game in as many days, the Dolphins start their 2021 season 3-0. They have a long, lengthy team that, when engaged, can just shut down an opposing team’s offense. That third-quarter run is a glimpse of what the Dolphins can be. 

Kaufman, Daly lead hyper-efficient Agape Christian past Meridian

Led by a consistent senior and a crew of talented underclassmen, Agape Christian is off to a hot start in a rapidly moving season.

The Knights visited Meridian, a school it had never defeated and pulled out a dominant 89-64 victory on Saturday to move to 5-1 on the season.

“It’s very nice to have a shooting guard like Nick (Ucci) or a big post man like Nathan (Kaufman),” Agape Christian senior Johnathon Daly said. “They’re very efficient. We just kind of analyze teams and we just see how strong they are in the paint or their guards.”

“We are very young and it gives us a lot of hope for the future,” assistant coach Clayton Reed said. “We’re efficient because we feed off each other and our pace is getting a lot better.”

Notables

  • Daly used his smooth jumper and ability to get to the free-throw line to score 29 points, going 7-of-14 from the floor with a trio of three-pointers. He also had seven assists. Kaufman and Daly work well off one another, feeding each other for several of their buckets. Kaufman posted a line of 21 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks.

For context, Bucky Dent at The Southern in Carbondale had this to say about Agape Christian coming into this season.

“The Knights should be decent, returning two good starters off a 14-12 team. The marquee name is 5-11 junior Johnathan Daly, who pumped in 15 points per game while finding time to grab five rebounds. Six-three sophomore Nathan Kaufman averaged a double-double (12 ppg, 11 rebounds) and also rejected 1.5 shots per game.

One thing to watch is that Agape Christian is one of four conference schools with a new coach at the helm in Danny Stevens. Can they get used to him, and vice-versa, in a mini-season like this one?”

  • Agape Christian stretched its lead to 31-18 before the Bobcats got going in transition for some easy baskets. The Knights’ offensive efficiency kept Meridian from getting out on the break for much of the second quarter.

“They have a full-court press that’s pretty tough to beat,” Daly said. “But once you slow down the pace more you can control the game. A team like Meridian… they’re very athletic, very fast-paced. They want to control the game. If you can control that pace you can throw them off. We got some layups on some nice back-cuts.”

  • Meridian’s athleticism and relentlessness yielded some second-chance points to keep things close. The Bobcats’ aggressiveness on the defensive end also put several of its players in foul trouble in the second quarter, allowing Agape Christian to stretch its lead out from its 15-14 advantage after a quarter. “We’ve got a couple really good shooters and you know how it is,” Reed said. “Anytime you start hitting threes or you start hitting any kind of jumper it keeps rolling and your momentum goes up. Nick Ucci will hit a three, but as soon as he hits a three, it goes to Johnathan Daly. These guys are getting their rhythm down and they feed off each other.”
  • Kaufman, who recently scored 50 points in a win over Crab Orchard, was lauded by Reed for his attitude and potential. “His potential is through the roof. We’ve seen that. Even in junior high, he was dominant. We competed in the state championship down here and he’s just a really good player. He has a really really good head on his shoulders and he’s a play-hard dude. He wants to win.” That 50-point outburst tied a school record set by 2019 graduate and current Knights assistant Matthew Keller, who also played with Reed. Daly noted that he learned a lot from those players when he was a freshman, and now with them as coaches and wants to share small lessons with his younger teammates.
  • Cameron Davis, after dealing with foul trouble in the second quarter, scored the first two buckets of the second half, showcasing his quickness and finesse in the process. But foul trouble plagued him as he finished with 9 points. Roderick Gatewood scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half for the Bobcats.
  • Freshman Anthony Ucci played like a prototypical glue guy throughout the night, using his bigger frame to his advantage around the hoop, scoring six points and grabbing rebounds. His brother Nick, also a freshman, scored 19 and added 5 rebounds. Issac Goldman contributed 10 points.
  • Meridian’s Te’Kevon Williford (13 points) and Tristen Mackins (team-high 14 points) looked like the best players on the floor in brief flashes, but it wasn’t sustained for the Bobcats. Meridian was at its best attacking the hoop, especially after Agape Christian misses. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the Knights were efficient Saturday, scoring 27 in the second quarter, 21 in the third and 26 in the fourth. Tim Weaver was previously the coach for the Knights, who Reed played for. Reed is the JV coach and is coaching under Danny Stevens, who is in his frst year at the helm of the Knights.

Danville’s Nathanael Hoskins leaving mark in final run with Vikings

Nathanael Hoskins has seen his fair share of big moments in recent years on the hardwood. Scoring the game-winning basket against Pontiac as a sophomore, recently crossing the 1,000-point mark for his career and even hitting a three-quarter-court shot in a win over Peoria on Wednesday. That’s not even to get into the accolades he has racked up for his play as one of the more versatile players in the Champaign area.

On Friday, Hoskins and Danville teammates celebrated senior night with a 76-56 win over visiting Urbana to move to 3-0 this season. Hoskins looked at ease on his way to 24 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, per the statistics of Chad Dare, sports editor of the Danville Commercial-News.

“(Hoskins) constantly has improved,” Danville coach Durrell Robinson said. “He has done everything that I challenged him to do … improving catch-and-shoot threes, pull-up jumpers, defensively — and he has improved on it all.”

Fellow seniors Michael Moore and Tevin Smith, the former with 12 points and the latter with 13 points and 9 rebounds, scored their fair share.. Senior Jalin Howell was also honored Friday evening.

Hoskins has received significant interest at the Division-II level, but coach Robinson told Illinois-Basketball.com that he’s still receiving interests from prep academy programs, NAIA and other schools.

Notables:

  • Urbana raced out to a early 10-4 lead as Danville appeared to struggle with Urbana’s zone defense. From there, Danville made an offensive adjustment.

    “We switched up our offensive plays to him (Hoskins) and Tevin as the primary ball handlers for us to make plays, and make it easier for the others and they did a great job of that,” Robinson said.
  • Moore and Hoskins operated well in tandem, and Smith got his scoring going as well. The senior trio combined for 30 points in the first half, opening things up by knocking down three-point baskets. In a sequence in the fourth quarter with the game pretty well decided, Hoskins stole the ball, calmly moved down the court and lofted up an alley-oop that Smith, a Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball commit, finished with an emphatic, two-handed slam.
  • Late in the third quarter, Hoskins hit a teammate for a corner three, then finished an and-one within the next minute to stretch Danville’s lead to 53-33.
  • O’Shawn Jones Winslow made his presence felt on the boards and in the scoring column (6 points) in the third quarter.
  • With under two minutes to go, Howell set off a celebration by knocking down a three-pointer of his own from the right wing, adding an exclamation point to the senior night win.

Whitney Young Impresses in Win Over Taft

The last time the Whitney Young Dolphins played in a game, they defeated Simeon in the IHSA state playoffs. The long layoff is over as Whitney Young squared off against Taft on the road Friday, Feb. 19.

Gone are DJ Steward (Duke) and Tyler Beard (prep school before Georgetown) for Young. 

The cupboard is far from empty.

Seniors Grant Newell and Jaeshon Thomas, both with college-level talent, return along with sophomore Dalen Davis, who holds an offer from Illinois.

But the star will be AJ Casey, who scored the first points of the season with a thunderous two-handed slam. The junior forward, who played freshman year at Simeon and sophomore year at Tinley Park, is regarded as the best prospect in Illinois in the junior class.

The first points of the season came from transfer forward AJ Casey with a thunderous two-hand slam. The junior forward is regarded as the best player in his class in the state of Illinois according to 247 Sports.

With Casey, Thomas, Newell and junior Xavier Amos, have numerous 6-4-plus forwards with plus wingspans, and junior Marcus Overstreet provides the same off the bench.Their length and defensive activity was the difference in the game. The Dolphins were bigger and also played with a sense of urgency. Their defensive activity led to many deflections and difficult shots for taft.

At halftime the Dolphins led 36-19. For the game Whitney Young had seven players hit a three pointer, shooting over the Taft zone defense. Junior forward Daniel Johnson came off the bench and led Young with 13 points, knocking down multiple three when he came into the game. 

For Young, Thomas had 10 points and knocked down three triples. Davis added nine points and knocked down a pair of shots from long range. Senior forward Tyson Leitao came off the bench and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

Young’s debut was impressive, dominating from the opening tip and not letting up.

For Taft junior point guard Jonathan Martinez impressed, showcasing an ability to drill threes, and sophomore guard Jewgrante Abraham led Taft with 11 points. Taft plays against Niles North on Monday. Whitney Young has a test against Thornton on the road Saturday.

This was an impressive debut for the Dolphins after the long layoff. The players wore masks and were socially distanced when they weren’t in the game. Illinois basketball wasn’t the same without the Chicago Public League.. 

14 Illinois Girls Nominated for 2021 McDonald’s All-American Game

Fourteen girls from around the state were nominated for the 2021 McDonald’s All-American game, the event announced Thursday, Feb. 18.

Each one of the seniors is highly decorated and has decided where they will play college basketball. Get to know the nominees below.

Sydney Affolter, Marist

Lauren Cohen, Glenbard South

Khaniah Gardner, Simeon

  • Position: Forward
  • College: Vanderbilt
  • Stats and highlights: 2019-20 3A state champion; averaged 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a junior

Anna Griffin, Aurora Christian

Lindsey Hahn, Lyons

  • Position: Point guard
  • College: Winona State
  • Stats and highlights: All-conference as a junior, shooting 40 percent from three and nabbing 51 steals (Winona Post)

Grace Hall, Homewood-Flossmoor

Lauren Huber, Libertyville

Greta Kampschroeder, Naperville North

Kendall Moriarty, Benet

Aneesah Morrow, Simeon

De’Ahna Richardson, Bolingbrook

Jalysa Stokes, Joliet Central

  • Position: Guard
  • College: Missouri-St. Louis
  • Stats and highlights: Oswego East Holiday Tournament MVP; all-conference; more than 1,100 career points

Timia Ware, Whitney Young

Makiyah Williams, Trinity

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