Rolling Meadows junior guard Jackie Kemph and St. Charles East senior guard Kendall Stephens have earned MVP honors from the Daily Herald for their performances in the early going of their basketball seasons.
Kemph had 28 points and 8 assists to lift the Mustangs past Fremd in the championship game of the Turkey Thriller tournament at Lake Zurich, while Stephens averaged 24.3 points as the Saints won four times to win their own tournament for the first time since 1994.
Jackie Kemph, Rolling Meadows: Kemph, the 2011-12 Mid-Suburban East player of the year, helped lead Rolling Meadows to its sixth win without a loss. The 5-foot-6 junior guard scored a season-high 28 points with 8 assists and 2 steals in a 69-64 win over Fremd in the championship game of the Turkey Thriller held at Lake Zurich High School.
Ali Andrews, Huntley: The Red Raiders' 6-foot-2 freshman burst onto the varsity scene with authority, helping Huntley to a 5-1 start to the season. Andrews averaged 18.3 points per game in Huntley's first six contests, scoring 21 in wins over South Elgin and Streamwood and 20 against St. Viator. She also averaged 8.8 rebounds and had double-digit rebounds in three games, including 13 against Streamwood. She also averaged 3 steals, 2.7 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.
Megan Borries, Antioch: The shooter wears No. 3, fittingly. A three-year varsity starter at guard, she poured in a career-best seven 3-pointers and scored a career-best 29 points in the Sequoits' 64-48 win over Taft at Niles North. It was the Sequoits' fourth victory in their first five games.
Liza Fruendt, Batavia: The junior guard led Batavia with 72 points in 4 games last weekend at the Morton Tournament to earn a spot on the all-tournament team. Batavia dropped its first two games despite Fruendt's 17 and 21 points, then bounced back to blow out Normal and Moline with Fruendt scoring 19 of her 23 points in the first half against Moline.
Gabrielle Rush, Hinsdale Central: This high-scoring sophomore guard led the Red Devils to the championship of the Hinsdale South Tournament. Rush poured in a personal-high 32 points to beat Hinsdale South 58-48, scored 24 in a 68-63 win over Stagg and tallied 20 points as Hinsdale Central topped Sandburg 64-54. She is averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East: This future Purdue guard got his senior season started in exciting fashion winning MVP honors as St. Charles East won its own Thanksgiving tournament for the first time since 1994. Stephens scored 31 points in an 18-point win over St. Joseph and 30 more in a championship victory over St. Charles North. Averaged 24.3 points in the Saints' 4 wins.
Mike Blaszczyk, Naperville Central: The Redhawks claimed the Hoops for Healing title behind the play of their 6-foot-3 senior forward. Blaszczyk earned tournament MVP honors by averaging 18 points and 6.5 rebounds in three wins and a loss to state-ranked Proviso East. Blaszczyk assisted the game-winning basket in the tourney final against Benet.
Connor Cashaw, Stevenson: Cashaw was as good as money for the Patriots in their tournament finale at Buffalo Grove. The sophomore guard was named MVP of the tourney after his career-best 27 points led the way in a 75-67 win over the host school. He averaged 16.3 points in four games, as the Patriots won the title with a 4-0 record.
Adrian Ponce, St. Edward: This 6-foot-4 forward helped St. Edward to a 4-0 start and the Westminster Christian Thanksgiving Tournament title. The senior was named tournament MVP after he scored 51 points and averaged 7 rebounds per game. Ponce notched 5 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and made 5 steals in a 51-39 title-game victory over Immaculate Conception.
Luke Potnick, Buffalo Grove: After 4 games, the BG senior standout is averaging a nice, round number: 25. Potnick's top performance in four tournament games at BG was a 30-point effort in the season opener against Elgin, but he also had quality efforts against Grayslake Central (29), Christian Liberty (17, in limited minutes) and tourney champ Stevenson (24) as the Bison finished 2-2 on their homecourt.