Lake boys basketball notes: Warren looking good against top competition

The Warren boys basketball team has quality and quantity covered.

The Blue Devils were 6-1 overall to start the week, which included a pair of key wins against Chicagoland Top 20-ranked teams in New Trier (56-42 win) and Bolingbrook (77-64 win). Warren also blew out Chicago Kennedy by 47 points recently.

Freshman Jaxson Davis leads Waren in scoring at 17.4 points and also averages nearly 6 assists per game. Javerion Banks is at 12.6 points and 3.8 assists, while Alex Daniels averages 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds. Warren is putting up 72.7 points per game, and as coach Zack Ryan noted, rebounding the ball at a high level.

Banks is shooting 42.7% from 3, while Ryan likes what he sees from Immanuel Brown. "Immanuel has stepped up his rebounding, defense and offensive production," he said.

Antioch update:

Antioch notched its first win of the year, 41-37, over Lakes in its Northern Lake County opener. The Sequoits were 1-4 to start the week.

Marshall Gehrke is Antioch's leading scorer at 10.3 points per game, while Joel Bulka (4.2 rebounds), Dean Brewer (2.4 assists and 1.2 steals) are also statistical standouts in the early going.

"They are learning what their new identity is compared to last year's team," Antioch coach Sean Connor said, "and who they need to be to maximize their success."

Antioch lost 9 seniors from a year ago.

Bulka, Connor pointed out, has played every position at some point in the first five games.

"Joel's numbers may not pop out, but he leads us in rebounds and steals, as well as is second in assists," Connor said. "His intelligence, unselfishness and versatility allows us to do a lot of different things."

Carmel update:

Kaleb Jackson is averaging 17.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists for the Corsairs, who started the week 3-4 overall and 0-2 in East Suburban Catholic action after recent losses to St. Viator, Libertyville and Marian Catholic. Jacob Chajet averages 8.1 points, 4 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

"We are a great 2-point shooting team, but struggling as a 3-point shooting team," coach Dmitry Pirshin said. "We are improving on our shot selection and being more aware defensively."

Pirshin also likes what he's seen from Jared Goodale and Ethan Henderson coming off the bench.

Grant update:

Coach Wayne Bosworth's squad opened Northern Lake County play with a 64-54 win over North Chicago and also notched wins against Johnsburg (58-52) and Woodstock (59-44). The Bulldogs stood at 4-3 overall to start the week.

Landon Enters is averaging 14.1 points, while Will Schubert is at 11.7 points. Braylon Gray averages 4.3 rebounds and 5 assists.

"Landon is filling it up and putting up points in a hurry," Bosworth said. "Will has established himself as a true inside-outside threat, and Braylon is leading us in assists and rebounds from the guard position."

Bosworth pointed out Grant has had 7 different players score 9 or more points in the team's first seven games. "We are very deep where anyone can step up on any night," he said.

Grant is 3-0 since Thanksgiving tournament play. "We have gotten better on defense," Bosworth said. "We are holding teams to 50 points per game since our Thanksgiving tournament."

Grayslake Central update:

The Rams (3-2, 1-0) were on a 3-game winning streak to begin the week with recent wins against Marian Central (76-46) and a conference-opening triumph over town foe Grayslake North (64-34).

Coach Brian Centella's squad is led junior Xavi Granville, who is at 17 points, 6 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game, and Jayden Hall (11 points, 3 assists).

"We are starting to find our defensive identity," Centella said. "We were able to hold some very good individual scorers down below their averages the last few games. Our juniors have really started to gain confidence and are playing really well."

Centella said Granville's excellence in the early-going veers well past scoring. "Xavi has been outstanding," he noted. "He defends his tail off every possession and is a great rebounder."

Hall hit for 20 points in the first half of the win over North. "Jayden had an offensive explosion," Centella said. "He's a flat-out winner."

Senior shooting guard Cayden Woods has rebounded from an early-season illness, the coach reported. "Cayden has had back-to-back great games," Centella said.

Grayslake North update:

North split a pair of recent games with Westlake Christian (64-37 on an early senior night) and lost its Northern Lake County opener to Central 64-34. The Knights stood at 2-3 to start the week.

Individually, sophomore Uros Mitrovic is shooting 48% from 3 and is also averaging 8 rebounds per game. Junior point guard Jayden Hunt averages 20 points per game.

"Jayden and Uros have been our catalysts in the early going," North coach Josh Feinzimer said. "We expected a lot from them and they are living up to those expectations. Really, as they go this season, we go."

In the Westlake game, North won the rebound battle 34-20, and in an early-season win over Woodstock, the Knights shot 8-for-15 from 3. "Those trends need to continue for us to be successful," Feinzimer said. "I feel having some game experience has helped the players the most. We only have two guys who played significant minutes last season, so the more game action the other guys get, the better we will be as a group. Getting better with each added game we get under our belts."

Junior center Tyler Morgan had 9 points in the Central game. "It was great to see Tyler play aggressively in the Central game," Feinzimer said. "He took the ball to the basket with strength and determination. We are going to need him moving forward to win games."

Lakes update:

The Eagles lost by 3 to Vernon Hills (56-53), but 23 to Lake Forest and by 2 hoops to Antioch (41-37). Lakes was 1-6 to start the week.

Thomas Mercure leads Lakes in scoring at 13 points per game. JJ Jackson has 40 assists through the first 7 games, and set a program record with 11 assists in the Vernon Hills game, breaking a decade-old record. Prodive Matumona has 41 rebounds so far.

"We are a work in progress," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "We are still working to improve in the details and focus that we need to win games at the varsity level. The team has brought a great attitude and effort to all we do and will continue to improve as the season goes on."

Snyder said Mercure and Jackson have been models of consistency thus far. "As evidenced in the stats, they are our team leaders offensively and also do a great job on the defensive end," he said.

Lake Zurich update:

Two recent wins at Prospect (48-46) and at home against Waukegan (71-60) in the North Suburban opener had the Bears at 4-2 overall to start the week.

Anton Strelnikov is leading the Bears in scoring at 20 points per game. He's also bringing in 8 rebounds per, while Nick Popovic is at 12 points and 4 assists per game.

"Nick and Anton are playing like two returning players who started almost 30 games a season ago," Lake Zurich coach Terry Coughlin said. "They have both used their varsity experience to play well and lead our team."

Coughlin pointed out Popovic and Ryan Carroll both have 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratios, "has been a key to our success," he said. "Taking care of the basketball has been a point of emphasis and those two are doing a great job sharing the ball and making sure we maximize our possessions."

Coughlin added defensive play also has been notable. "We have done some nice things defensively early, including holding our opponents' field goal percentage down and causing about 12 turnovers per game," he said. "We have done a good job rebounding the ball, but there is room for growth. These statistical categories have led us to being more efficient, which has helped us in close games."

Mundelein update:

The Mustangs were 2-4 through their first six games (recent games included a 5-point loss to Niles West and a 13-point setback to Glenbrook North). Derek Bishop is hovering around the 20-point-per-game mark. Evan Salvador averages about 14 points and Vinny Rogalski is handing out 4 assists a game for Mundelein, which teed up a North Suburban doubleheader this week with games against Zion and Waukegan (Saturday).

"We are learning our roles and how to play with the other roles within the team," coach Matt Badgley explained. "Continual improvement is evident."

Round Lake update:

The Panthers opened Northern Lake County action with a loss to Wauconda. Round Lake, 0-5 to start the week, is led by Cameron Hundley (7 points per game), Aldo Vega (4 rebounds) and Cesar Gutierrez (4 rebounds).

"Cameron when healthy has been a big spark off the bench for us by being aggressive and providing much-needed scoring," Panthers coach Jack Hansa said.

Freshman DJ Billups also has provided bursts of energy on the defensive and offensive ends, Hansa noted. "DJ has been a force on the boards and is not afraid of anyone, even for a freshman," he said. "When he gets healthy, he is going to provide us with scoring. We are eager to get him back fully healthy."

Hansa said Round Lake's turnover percentage and overall number of turnovers has decreased significantly each game.

Stevenson update:

The Patriots lost a recent 59-56 nonconference game to Chicago Westinghouse and stood at 3-2 overall to start the week.

Jack Dabbs averages 14.4 points, while Atticus Richmond is at 12.8, Aidan Bardic averages 11.2 points and Rocco Pagliocca is at 11.0.

"We've had really nice balance so far," Stevenson coach Will Benson said. "Our top four guys are averaging double figures. It's tough to get three guys averaging double figures, let alone four."

Benson added Stevenson's cohesiveness and chemistry have improved over the course of the first five games.

Vernon Hills update:

The Cougars were 4-2 through their first six, which included a recent win over Lakes (56-53) and a Central Suburban North-opening 61-33 loss to Niles West.

Vernon numbers leaders include Dylan Chung at 13 points per game, Daniel Odhiambo at 5.5 rebounds and Anthony Martorano at 3.2 assists. Sophomore Brady Larsen is shooting 43% from 3 (13 made). He is second on the team in 3s behind Chung.

Cougars coach Matt McCarty saw some late-game grit from his crew in the Lakes win. "I liked our resiliency against Lakes when they made a very nice run in the second half against us," he said. "Lakes was playing very well, but we didn't hang our heads. We found ways to get some important buckets when we needed them in the fourth quarter. We didn't do too much right (vs. Niles West), but I was proud that the team dug into the film over the weekend to try and make corrections."

Chung, the team's point guard, was all-tournament at the Battle at the Ridge Thanksgiving tournament. "Although we came up a little short in the championship game, Dylan had a great week for us and demonstrated why he is so important to our team," McCarty said.

Sophomore Odhiambo, who stands 6-5, leads the team in total rebounds just ahead of Anthony Morgan.

"Daniel continues to get better every day and picks things up very quickly in practice," McCarty said. "Daniel spent a lot of time on freshman B last year, so the move to varsity was a big jump for him. He soaks things up quickly."

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