West Chicago boys basketball coach Bill Recchia still owns the Wildcats' all-time scoring mark of 1,461 points between 1979-83. He saw one of his scoring marks fall last week, and if senior John Konchar continues at his pace of 31 points a game, Recchia will be only too happy to see that record fall as well.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic for him and what he's accomplishing right now," Recchia said.
On the last of Konchar's six 3-pointers in a 66-58 victory over Bartlett last Saturday, the 6-4 senior registered his 40th point of the game to eclipse his coach's best of 39, set in a 1983 game against Marmion. Konchar finished with 42 points.
"I didn't realize that he had broken the record at that time, I wasn't paying attention to that," Recchia said.
Naturally. Now 2-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division, the second-year coach is busy leading 5-2 West Chicago to its best conference start since it finished 10-4 and second in the DuPage Valley in 2004-05.
"We're pleased, obviously, with the start that we have, but we realize that it is just a start," Recchia said.
Konchar has scored 962 varsity points entering Friday's home game against Metea Valley. Given a minimum of 20 games remaining on the Wildcats' schedule he would need to average 25 points the rest of the way to surpass his coach's record.
Konchar leads West Chicago in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks and steals. Yet basketball remains a team game, and Recchia likes what he's seen elsewhere on the court.
Sophomore swing man Mike Bibbs has definite double-digit ability, hitting Marmion for 25 points at the Wildcats' Thanksgiving Tournament. Mitch Henke and Ryan Orr, a pair of 6-foot-2 senior guards, are averaging about 7 points, and senior center Ethan Doell can also put the ball in the basket.
"Everyone's stepped up when they need to and that's what's making it such a special group. They've got each other's backs," Recchia said.
Every since last season ended Glenbard West looked forward to this year's backcourt potential.
Senior Corey Davis and junior Keith Hayes were expected to form one of the area's top guard combinations, but that changed the week of Thanksgiving when Hilltoppers coach Tim Hoder learned that Hayes would be moving to Arkansas.
Hayes averaged nearly 18 points per game last season as an All-Area honoree, and his departure leaves tough shoes to fill. Davis still brings tremendous talent and senior leadership, but it'll be up to others to step up as well.
"The biggest thing is we have to move on," Hoder said. "The schedule doesn't wait."
Glenbard West fell to 2-5 after Tuesday's loss to Bolingbrook. The Hilltoppers now have a full week to prepare for a West Suburban Silver matchup against unbeaten York.
Sophomores Alex Passi and Justin Pierce and senior Will Reedy are at the forefront in trying to ease the impact of Hayes' departure, especially ballhandling at the point.
"It gives an opportunity for kids to step up," Hoder said.
Hayes spent his freshman year in Arkansas before moving into Glenbard West's district. He's heading back to Little Rock, although he'll be playing for a different high school than his freshman year.
"We were lucky to have him for a year," Hoder said. "It's too bad for us as a program but also as a school because he's such a good kid and a good student."
Welcome to the club:
Congratulations are due a pair of former area coaches for their selection into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Mike Harper, who won 315 games at St. Francis between 1983-2006 before resigning to stick with teaching history, will be inducted into the IBCA Hall on April 26 at a banquet at Illinois State University.
So too will the retired Jim Danforth, who coached at Driscoll and Dundee-Crown before ending his career first as a head coach and then as an assistant for hall of famer Dennis Cromer at Fenton.
The IBCA also has a worthy wing for what it calls "Friends of Basketball." Among those selections this year are a pair of Naperville North Huskies, former underclass boys basketball coaches, Bill Peterson and Don Gebbie.
As the thrill of winning the Class 8A football championship eases, Naperville Central is settling nicely into basketball season.
Heading into Friday's DuPage Valley Conference home game against Glenbard East, the Redhawks are 4-1, including a DVC-opening victory over Lake Park. Their lone loss came in the Hoops for Healing title game against unbeaten Benet.
"We've done a pretty good job so far," said Naperville Central coach Pete Kramer. "We still have a ways to go, but it's been a good start for us."
It certainly helps having a pair of third-year starters back in 6-foot-6 Nick Czarnowski and point guard Ryan Antony. Patrick Maloney and Matt Bennett also return key experience.
Look for Naperville Central to become even better with the return from football of sophomore Emmanuel Rugamba, Tyler Schmidt and Dan Dolehide. Alex Pomeroy returned to the lineup last week.
While Kramer doesn't expect any of the football players to be in full basketball shape anytime soon, he knows it's just a matter of time.
"They're two weeks behind everyone else right now," Kramer said. "It's just going to take some time to get adjusted."
To prevent the chance of being short-handed because of extended playoff football runs, Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South decided not to play in Thanksgiving basketball tournaments.
That meant their season openers came in the DuPage Valley Conference last Friday -- against each other.
Playing a cross-town rival isn't exactly the best way to start a season, but each team made the most of it as Wheaton North claimed a 59-44 road victory.
"It's been interesting," said Wheaton North coach Dave Brackmann. "We were ready to go. We were without football guys at the beginning, but we probably wish we could have played about one week sooner. But we were definitely more prepared."
Starting with Monday's win over Addison Trail, Wheaton North embarked upon a busy stretch of five games in eight days. The Falcons will quickly catch up with others in the number of games they've played.
"We're making up for all those Thanksgiving games now, which is good," Brackmann said. "The kids are ready to play games. We had 22 practices without a game, so I'm sure the kids are loving it."
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