Fox girls basketball notes: Elgin City Classic going strong in 10th season

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this season, the Elgin City Classic highlights the best of high school girls basketball in what is called “The City In the Suburbs.”

The 20-game event features 5 Elgin schools — Elgin, Harvest Christian, Larkin, St. Edward, and Westminster Christian in a 2-week event held at rotating gyms in Elgin.

The idea originated more than a decade ago by Elgin girls basketball coach Dr. Nick Bumbales.

“It started in 2013,” said Bumbales. “I like that the Elgin City Classic highlights each of the Elgin schools and the girls get to visit each facility and experience playing there. We have even played at “The Pit” at old Elgin High School in the past.”

Larkin girls basketball coach Stephen Knapp credits Bumbales for his insightfulness in establishing the tournament and keeping the annual event on course.

“Doc (Bumbales) has done a great job organizing this tournament for years,” said Knapp. “It creates an atmosphere within the girls (Elgin) high school programs to compete against each other year in and year out. It is good to see the growth of the programs and see the coaches every year.”

There is an added benefit.

“It is a nice tournament that gives us many games to play before the state playoffs begin next month,” said Knapp.

Through the first 3 games of the tournament, Elgin (7-16) and Larkin (12-10) owned identical 3-0 records heading into Wednesday's clash that decided the 2023 Elgin City Classic champion — which the Royals won, 65-49.

Last Friday, Larkin edged Elgin 56-50 in Upstate Eight Conference action.

Larkin, which defeated Westminster Christian 42-10 last Saturday, began the tourney with a 54-32 victory over Harvest Christian on Jan. 9, as senior forward/center Baylei Johnson scored a game-high 21 points and freshman guard Mia Carter had 10 points. Junior Gabrielle Ploche and freshman Sanaii McPherson added 7 points apiece.

Sophomore Daphne Brown led the Lions (6-10) with 13 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals, while junior Katie McClure had 6 points.

Johnson scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the Royals' 42-27 win over St. Edward on Jan. 11. The Green Wave (5-17) opened the tourney with a 44-12 victory over Westminster Christian on Jan. 7. St. Edward led 29-4 at halftime and 42-8 after 3 quarters.

Harvest Christian finished 2-2 in the Elgin City Classic following Saturday's 55-44 win over St. Edward. Brown led the Lions with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while Katie Dickman added 15 points and 8 boards.

Elgin began the tourney with a 55-36 win over Harvest Christian on Jan. 7, before clipping St. Edward, 42-33, on Jan. 9. The Maroons remained unbeaten in Elgin City Classic play with last week's 48-22 victory over Westminster Christian.

Elgin's leading scorers in the tournament include Alyssa Wysuph (14.3 ppg), Izzy Vidallo (7.3 ppg), Jocelyn Bardesi (6.0 ppg), Izzie Castro (5.7 ppg), and Kelly Taruc (3.3 ppg).

Mathitha Ratakonda, Trinity Evans and Aamiyah Dixon have also contributed for the Maroons.

Brown had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for Harvest against Elgin.

St. Charles East celebrated the life of Lloyd Jones, the Saints' “Super Fan,” during the Saints' Alumni Night game against Geneva on Jan. 10.

Former Saints standouts Katie Claussner and Ashley DiOrio spoke briefly before the game, talking about Jones, who passed away in February of 2021 at the age of 87. Jones was one of the school's most loyal supporters who could be found sitting in his customary spot along the wall just to the right of the main entrance to the gym.

Claussner and DiOrio started a GoFundMe page that raised more than $3,200 used to buy a customized stadium chair with Jones' name on it and “Forever A Saint” printed on the front cushion, as well as a plaque than hangs on the west gym wall above the chair. The remainder of the money was donated to Jones' sons, Kyle, and Glenn.

St. Charles East's athletic family also lost a genuine gem in Mike Harland, who passed away on Dec. 4 at the age of 74.

Harland, who worked as a dean's assistant at St. Charles East, also served as a freshman girls basketball assistant coach for the Saints. In addition, Mike served as an usher at Kane County Cougars games since 2006.

“Mike did everything here at St. Charles East,” said Saints athletic director Mike Sommerfeld. “He helped with parking at football games and was always lending a hand at our athletic events.”

Prior to hosting its third annual MLK Showdown Monday, Batavia (12-10) split a pair of games at the New Year's Classic earlier this month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Brooke Carlson scored 24 points with 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in Batavia's 60-52 victory over Somerset Academy Silver Palms (Miami) on Jan. 6. Addie Prewitt chipped in with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, while Kylee Gehrt added 7 points and 3 rebounds. Somerset (12-3) was ranked 21st in Florida, and 3rd in 3A.

The next day, the Bulldogs dropped a 68-52 decision to Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale), the 7th-ranked team in Florida and 2nd in 3A. Carlson led Batavia with 22 points, 3 assists and 3 steals.

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