Tag Archives: Boys basketball

New Head Coach Sean Connor is Learning and Doing for Antioch

Sean Connor is a man of different sides. He’s a father and husband. A math teacher. A sophomore basketball and ultimate frisbee coach. The man who runs fall basketball league.

It’s no surprise that Antioch’s new head varsity boys basketball coach knows what it takes to juggle tasks. He’s worn many hats coaching, scouting and organizing in the world of high school hoops. Still, Connor — who spent seven years at Chicago’s DePaul College prep teaching and coaching — bided his time before taking a head coaching job.

“I think I always knew I had a lot to learn,” Connor, now a Grayslake resident, said. “You look at all the different experiences I’ve had, and the more head coaches I was under the more I realized, ‘Like man, you’ve really got to make sure you understand this facet or this facet.’”

“It’s easy to say you want to be a varsity coach, but you’ve got to realize when you take on that duty, there’s more to it than just running the varsity team,” he continued.

Connor was hired Thursday, June 18, by Antioch. He was immediately thrust into the role: That same day at the Carmel Catholic Summer League he got to see his new Sequoit players in action.

Connor’s most recent coaching experience was at DePaul College Prep as the head sophomore coach, winning two Catholic League titles in six seasons. Before that he was with the sophomores at York and Geneva, and he has other experience building up youth feeder programs at programs like Marmion.

At DePaul, and when it was previously known as Gordon Tech, Connor was an assistant coach for a program in a school without much recent historical success before Tom Kleinschmidt’s arrival. 

“It was hard to rebuild the program and try to help coach Kleinschmidt achieve the vision he had and what we wanted to be,” Connor said. “That was a long process. Obviously it’s very fulfilling to see everything come to a head this past year after going downstate and having the opportunity to see the guys compete in the Chipotle Classic. But I know some people didn’t understand the amount of work that really went in over the last 8-to-10 years in rebuilding that thing, and how many times people said no and, ‘DePaul’s not good enough.’

“It’s just been a really cool experience to be part of that rebuild and have all these visions and goals the school set and a lot of them come to fulfillment,” he added.

That type of experience informed the type of attributes he wants his program at Antioch to showcase. That doesn’t mean he will remove any agency from his Sequoits players. 

Connor wants his players to take ownership of what’s to come in the process of program-building. He wants this especially for the upcoming seniors — a group who have seen three varsity coaches during their tenure after Tim Bowen’s departure after two seasons.

“I’ve always been very student-centered,” Connor said. “One of the things we’re going to do this week, and I’ve given the guys homework, is to think about what do you want Antioch basketball to be known for. Because I don’t think it’s appropriate that I come in and tell them what they should be in a community that I don’t have very strong roots in.”

A Woodstock graduate who still has family there, a more recent move to Grayslake put Connor’s family in a good position to look for new head coaching jobs. Growing up in Woodstock, Connor says he relates to what kids from Antioch experience growing up. He doesn’t doubt that will greatly influence the team they become. With an already organized feeder program — a selling point for Connor, who is already familiar with the region north of Chicago — he anticipates fitting in with the community’s existing identity. 

“(Antioch) and Woodstock are both blue collar, out on the rim of the country versus suburban area, and I really relate to a lot of the kids in the community,” Connor said. “Because I grew up in a similar situation where you have just enough and have you have to work hard to get by.”

The newly anointed head coach was looking forward to taking his team to compete at Rockford and getting to know his new players. Kobe Kriese, a threat to fill the hoop up a season ago, is now gone. 

Antioch has some seniors leaders and a large group of returning juniors. It also has talented underclassmen in sophomores like Coby Priller and Carter Webb back and the anticipated arrival of freshman Marshall Gehrke. Many moving pieces create a cloudy but enticing picture for the team’s future. 

“The seniors have been fantastic in terms of leadership, being where they need to be and starting to give input as to where they want to be,” Connor said. 

“There’s a very cool blend of experience: a lot of guys with varsity experience and then some young talent,” he continued. “We’ve got four players over 6-5, so it’ll be really cool to watch these guys grow over the summer and then really interesting to see what it looks like in November.”

While Antioch has had some recent success — the Sequoits won three consecutive regional titles between 2016 and 2018 despite three losing records — Connor things they can elevate past the traditional powers north of Chicago. 

“I think they can disrupt the status quo in Illinois basketball because nobody is always looking at Antioch as the team to come out of the north suburbs,” Connor said. “Since you know it’s North Chicago, Waukegan, Zion-Benton, Round Lake and some of these other programs have been really strong. It’ll be really cool to track us over these next few years.

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.