Cook boys basketball notes: Football players making quick transition at Barrington

Surprisingly, the high school basketball season is nearly 25 percent old. Let's catch up with area teams as they head toward the holiday tournaments in a few weeks.

Barrington: The Broncos are using the momentum of an extremely successful football season to spark a great start on the hardwood.

Alec Schmidts, who is averaging 16 points, and Nick Peipert, who is averaging 8 points, have helped pace Barrington (4-1,1-0) to a fast start.

"Our football players returning to the hardwood, knocked the rust off quickly," said Barrington coach Bryan Tucker, who picked up his 500th career win on Tuesday against Wheeling.

The Broncos have also received superb play from 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Oliver Gray, who is averaging 18 points.

Buffalo Grove: The Bison backcourt could be one of the toughest in the area.

It features Connor Woodin, a senior who is averaging 20.8 points, and junior Lucas Anam-Ndu, who is averaging 13.2. Freshman C/F Alex Sirbu has also been impressive with his defensive and rebounding play for Buffalo Grove (3-3, 0-1).

"He is so coachable," Buffalo Grove coach Kevin Geldon said. "He has already had an impact on our team."

Conant: After a slow start when they lost their first two games, Conant is back on track.

The Cougars (4-3, 1-0) have been able to turn things around thanks to the return of Bradley Biedke from an injury. The 6-foot-5 sophomore has averaged 10 points. Meanwhile, Camden Lathos has been leading the team, averaging 17 points and Yusuf Cisse is averaging 7 points. "We have played a great schedule so far and are focused on getting better every day," Conant coach Matt Walsh said. "Every week in the MSL West is going to be a test."

Elk Grove: Injuries and illness have slowed the Grenadiers (1-6, 0-1).

But those setbacks have given Cooper Casterton an opportunity. The freshman, who was pulled up to the varsity four games ago, has averaged 7 points. That, along with the scoring of Amir Hussein (10.4 points), Roland Fouche (8.3 points) and Devin Wildi (8 points), has given the Grens balanced scoring.

"We are slowly getting everyone back," Elk Grove coach Nick Oraham said. "Hoping to be hitting our stride around holiday tournament time."

Fremd: The Vikings were able to pull out of an early rut.

Fremd (3-3, 0-1) had lost three consecutive games, but turned things around with a convincing 62-40 win over Hersey on Tuesday. Sophomore Jordan Williams, who had 18 points Tuesday, is averaging 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Ryan Cox (12 ppg, 5.8 rebounds) and Sam Hirsch (11.8 ppg, 3.1 rebounds) also have been key contributors. "We have been playing better every game," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "I like their attitude and approach to practice and games so far this season."

Hersey: Jackson Rupp has taken a huge step forward this season.

The 6-foot-7 junior, who has been a starter for the past two seasons, has doubled his scoring output going from 12.3 points to 24.7 points per game for the Huskies (3-4, 1-0). He has also increased his rebounding from 4.7 to 7.6.

"Hupp is having a breakout year," Hersey coach Dave Hess said "He was the leading scorer last year and all conference. But he is becoming dominant this year, with huge games against Lake Forest and Glenbrook South, facing double teams, and sometimes three defenders in games."

Jared Ryg has also stepped up, going from averaging 9 points last season to 13.3.

Hoffman Estates: After winning their first four games, the Hawks have dropped their last two, including a one-point loss to Schaumburg.

The Hawks have a plethora of scoring options in Daiquan Daniels (15 ppg), D'marion Dunn (3 ppg), Nate Cleveland (11 ppg), Torey Baskin (10 ppg) and Trendell Whiting (8 ppg).

"We have a busy stretch of games this month where we will learn a lot about our group," Hoffman Estates coach Brian McBride said. "We are continuing to develop and grow as our guys gain more experience, and we believe our best basketball is still ahead of us."

Leyden: The Eagles (5-2, 0-1) are off to a solid start with a win over Amundsen on Monday.

Drelyn Jones continues to look good for Leyden, averaging 21.5 points while Mike Medious is at 14.5 ppg. "I am really pleased with where we are defensively," Leyden coach Bill Heisler said. "We still have some work to do on how to close out games. But this is an intelligent, senior-led group that embraces the process and that should allow for us to continue to improve as we go."

Maine East: Maine East (4-2, 1-0) is continuing to build off its success from last season.

The Blue Demons are led by seniors Tristan Walton (15 ppg), JJ Alphonse (13.1 ppg) and Tre Himes (12.3 ppg). They are also getting also getting big production from 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Brandon Schrieber.

"This team is making a name for itself," Maine East coach Sergio Muro said. "The team is built on having everyone on the same page and staying connected. We have a senior-heavy led group that are taking ownership of playing basketball with a high intensity."

Maine West: David Hutchinson, who is averaging 12 points, has been pacing the Warriors (0-4, 0-1), who are off to a slow start.

"We knew going into the season that every game will be a grind," Maine West coach Dan Paxson said. "Our level of execution has not risen to the level of our effort at this point in the season. Our guys are playing hard and have great attitudes, but we still need to execute our half-court offense better and limit turnovers. "

Maine South: The Hawks (4-2, 0-1) are coming off a huge nonconference win last Saturday against Rolling Meadows.

They have had the week off until Friday's huge conference matchup with Glenbrook South. "We are getting contributions from all. Have a great group of guys that are buying into our culture and focused solely on winning," Maine South coach Colin Wehman said.

Sophomore Panayiotis Sotos leads the Hawks in scoring with 10.5 ppg while junior Tyler Sierra is averaging 8 points. Wehman also points to seniors Matthew Yadger and Zach Plate as huge contributors.

Palatine: Connor May notched his 1,000th point Tuesday as the Pirates (4-3, 0-1) have won three of their last four.

May, who has not made a college choice as of yet, is fully recovered from his wrist injury suffered while playing football and is averaging 17.7 points. Tommy Elter (9 ppg) and Carter Monroe (8.1 ppg) have also stepped up nicely while Darrin Dick had 24 against Libertyville last Saturday and got the Wildcats out of their box-and-one zone with his 3-point shooting. "We've done some good things and have gotten some contributions from other kids," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "But we also know there are a lot of things that we need to keep working on to be the team we want to be in February."

Prospect: The Knights have been able to overcome a serious knee injury to Ben Schneider, which may have ended his season.

Drew Terpins (11 points), Cole Chapman (8.5 points) and Jerry Drucker (8 points) stepped in nicely to pick up the scoring slack for Prospect (5-1, 1-0). Brian Cantieri has come off the bench with some big plays. The Knights are also outrebounding opponents 31-19. "We play with a sense of toughness that I am proud of," Prospect coach Brad Rathe said. "We will continue to improve our offensive execution."

Rolling Meadows: Ian Miletic has taken huge steps this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior has become the scoring force that Mustangs coach Kevin Katovich hoped for. Miletic averaged 7 points per game last year and he has tripled that output this far with 21 ppg. "Ian has really taken the next step in his third year as a varsity starter," Katovich said.

Katovich is also impressed with the progress of 6-5 junior forward Lazar Lazarovic who is averaging 10 points. "It's not a surprise, but Lazar is a bit ahead of where we thought he would be right now," Katovich said.

The Mustangs (7-1, 1-0) are also getting strong play from jack Duffer (12 ppg), Jaeden Warrener (7 ppg) and Gavin Escobedo (6 ppg).

Schaumburg: The Saxons (7-0, 1-0) continue to excel in the early part of the season and finding ways to win.

Schaumburg has won its last two games by 1 point. "The biggest surprise has been the togetherness of this group," said Schaumburg coach Jason Tucker, whose next win will be the 300th of his career. "They don't care about stats. They want to win. It's a special group of guys."

Jordan Tunis leads the Saxons with 17.3 ppg. Zion Young (13.2 ppg), Michael Tancredi (10.2 ppg) and Javonte McCoy (8.7 ppg) are right behind.

Schaumburg Christian: Despite a 1-2 start, new head coach Addison Calley feels his team has made progress from last season.

The Conquerors had lost to Families of Faith Christian by 23 last season and were down 20 last week in the third quarter. Schaumburg Christian rallied behind Irfan Kahn, who is averaging 22 points, and Lucas Bustamante, who is averaging 12.5 points, to send the game into overtime. The Conquerors had a four-point lead in overtime but succumbed 78-74. The Conquerors showed Tuesday that they were on the right track with a 59-58 win over Westminster Christian.

St. Viator: After winning a 3A regional title last year while starting four sophomores, hopes were high for the Lions (5-2, 2-1) this season. And they are living up to those expectations.

Henry Marshall (16 ppg), Brandyn Michaels (11 ppg), Mitch Humphrey (8 ppg), and Dayvion Ellis (8 ppg) have Viator rolling at 62 points per game. The Lions will be without Josiah Calvin who broke his hand against Libertyville. "We may not have a big-name player that everyone talks about, "St. Viator coach Michael O'Keeffe said. "But our chemistry on and off the court is tremendous, and our kids are truly playing for each other."

Wheeling: The Wildcats continue to get the most out of their youthful corps.

Wheeling (3-5, 0-1) is led by 6-foot-5 junior guard Brent Collar who is averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. Pawel Rakoczy and Zach Neukirch are each averaging 10 points. "Our group has shown great strides since our first game," Wheeling coach Tom Antosz said. "We are looking to have a growth mindset by continuing to stack days."

IBCA Hall of Fame: Congratulations are in order for a trio of local area contributors to basketball in Illinois.

Fremd girls coach David Yates, who just won his 400th career game, was selected - as was Bill Murman, who has been an assistant boys and girls coach at Wheeling, Bartlett, St. Viator and Schaumburg. Maine West's longtime floor announcer Tom Sochowski was selected as Friend of the Game.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.