2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 12/4/2013 7:11 PM

Boys basketball season opens with a bang

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This is supposed to be a column about the opening week of the high school basketball season.

However, I'd be remiss if I didn't offer congratulations to Batavia's newly crowned Class 6A state football champions.

Job well done, Bulldogs.

As for the basketball ...

By the numbers

1 -- Sean Masoncup recorded his first victory as St. Charles North's girls basketball head coach last Friday after the North Stars' 55-54 win over York at the York Thanksgiving Tournament. Sam Novak's 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining turned out to be the game-winning shot.

200 -- Phil Ralston earned his 200th career coaching victory during last Saturday's 55-43 Geneva triumph over West Chicago, sealing the Vikings' second consecutive Wildcat Turkey Classic title.

1,000 -- St. Charles East senior guard Amanda Hilton scored her 1,000th career point during the Saints' game against Montini on Nov. 23 at the Schaumburg tournament. In fitting fashion, Hilton's milestone was reached on a 3-pointer.

Fresh faces

I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more from these varsity newcomers in the coming weeks:

• Johnny Davern, St. Charles North, junior guard.

• Ryan David, Kaneland sophomore forward.

• Tyler Lovestrand, Batavia junior guard.

• Chasen Peez, Batavia junior forward/center.

• Mike Landi, Geneva junior forward.

• Loudon Volbrecht, Geneva sophomore forward/center.

• Mick Vyzral, St. Charles East junior forward.

"During the summer, I thought he was our best player," Saints coach Patrick Woods said of Vyzral. "He's very smart with the ball and he does pretty well defensively, too."

Working overtime

Batavia fans might want to plan to stay an extra 20 minutes or so at upcoming games.

Last weekend, the Bulldogs played 4 overtime periods in 3 days during their own Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic, capped by their 76-74 double-overtime victory over Englewood on Saturday night.

Batavia opened its season with an 81-74 overtime loss to Kaneland last Wednesday before earning its first win of the year in a 68-62 overtime decision over St. Francis last Friday.

Coffey, anyone?

There's another Coffey on the basketball landscape at Batavia.

Following the lead of his older brothers Jordan, Jesse, and Micah, Canaan Coffey enjoyed a monster varsity debut as he drained seven 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 26 points in the Bulldogs' season-opening loss to Kaneland.

Canaan's seven 3-pointers tied a tournament record set by Aurora Christian's Joe Mann in 1994.

The 6-1 sophomore guard, also came up big in the Bulldogs' win over Englewood as he connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game at 63-63 and help force overtime.

When Micah Coffey returns to the basketball court after a highly successful gridiron campaign at quarterback, he figures to provide head coach Jim Nazos' team with plenty of leadership, ballhandling and outside shooting of his own. He'll also undoubtedly take some of the defensive pressure off his younger brother.

It's like seeing double when you look at the scoreboard in the Bulldogs' gym -- Canaan Coffey and Micah Coffey are located next to each other wearing numbers 12 and 14, respectively.

Competition committee

Geneva (4-1), St. Charles North (3-1), West Aurora (3-1), Kaneland (2-1), Batavia (2-1), and St. Charles East (2-2) combined for a 17-7 record during the first week of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Vikings got better defensively throughout at West Chicago, allowing an average of 43 points over the final 3 games -- victories over Lake Zurich (52-47), Addison Trail (42-41) and West Chicago (55-43).

Meanwhile, the North Stars advanced to the championship game of the annual Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament at St. Charles East for the second straight season before losing to St. Joseph, 58-49.

"We got better in each one of these games," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin, whose team includes varsity newcomers Garrett Johnson, Chase Gianacakos and Evan Kurtz -- football players who decided to return to the basketball court after a 1-year hiatus.

"We've got some guys who are still rusty that are only going to get better," said Poulin. "We've got guys who maybe haven't seen as many minutes as they want but they're going to be counted on.

"We're only going to improve. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of season these guys can have because I really believe in them."

"We learned a lot about ourselves at this tournament," said North Stars junior guard Jake Ludwig, who scored 28 points against the state-ranked Chargers last Saturday. "We're excited. It's going to be a good season."

St. Charles East sandwiched victories over East Aurora and Downers Grove South around tough losses to Schaumburg (65-60) and St. Joseph (71-68).

"It was a good early test to see where we're at," said Woods. "We got exposed as far as what we need to work on -- specifically at the defensive end. People think we're experienced but we have three seniors and only two of them are playing (Dave Mason sidelined with a foot injury) so we're young in that aspect.

"I'm encouraged because I think we're going to be real good when it's all said and done. I'm happy to come out .500 with a lot of potential."

Shining stars

Kendall Stephens (St. Charles East) and Quinten Payne (St. Charles North) have moved on to NCAA Division 1 programs at Purdue and Ball State, respectively, but that did not leave the area devoid of talent.

All-tournament selections from last weekend included Geneva's Nate Navigato, St. Charles East's Dom Adduci, and St. Charles North's Alec Goetz and Jake Ludwig.

Adduci, a 6-foot senior guard, was a model of consistency throughout the weekend, scoring 25, 28, 26, and 29 points in 4 games. Averaging 27 points per game, Adduci showed he could score in a variety of ways -- hitting 3-pointers, driving to the basket and the ability to get to the free-throw line.

"I'm just so happy for him," Woods said of Adduci. "(St. Joseph's Glynn) Watson and (Jordan) Ash have been offered scholarships from mid-majors and Big 10 schools and they couldn't stay in front of him. I think we're going to have a lot of people calling us in the next week or so. That will be good because he deserves it with all the hard work he has put in."

Rivalry weekend

There is little rest for the weary. Friday night's Geneva at Batavia and Saturday evening's St. Charles East at St. Charles North showdowns highlight this weekend's Upstate Eight Conference River Division schedule.

Wait 'til next year

St. Joseph captured its first Thanksgiving title at St. Charles East since 2006 last weekend and certainly rates as the early team to beat next November in St. Charles.

Legendary coach Gene Pingatore's Chargers will return their entire starting lineup in 2014-15 -- Joffery Brown, Jordan Ash, Glynn Watson, Lavon Thomas, and Nick Rakocevic.

You can reach Craig Brueske at csb4k@hotmail.com

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