Area boys basketball fans had plenty to cheer about this season.
Geneva (25-6), West Aurora (24-5), Kaneland (18-10), St. Charles East (18-12) and St. Charles North (16-10) combined for a 101-43 record (.701 winning percentage) and 3 regional championships.
Led by Nate Navigato and Chris Parrilli, the Vikings were the epitome of true team basketball as they captured their first regional title since 1963 with a come-from-behind 66-63 victory over Bolingbrook.
Here's a recap of the 2013-14 season:
Simeon 82, St. Charles North 74, 3 OT.
In December, the North Stars gave 4-time defending Class 4A state champion Simeon a scare during the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Senior guard Alec Goetz poured in a career-high 36 points with eight 3-pointers during the North Stars' triple-overtime defeat.
Simeon was 0-for-11 from beyond the arc until junior Jaycee Hillsman canned a 3-pointer with 1 second remaining in regulation to force the first extra session.
St. Joseph 71, St. Charles East 68, OT.
Junior guard Cole Gentry hit a pair of free throws with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter as the Saints tied St. Joseph during the St. Charles East/Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament. However, the state-ranked Chargers sank 8 of 10 free throws in overtime to earn the win and advance to the title game against St. Charles North.
Kaneland 62, Marmion 60
Two weeks ago, Kaneland earned its second 2-point victory of the season over Marmion as senior guard Drew David connected on a 2-pointer with 2 seconds remaining to propel the Knights to their second Class 3A regional title in 3 years.
Geneva 70, West Aurora 68
My apologies to Frankie Valli & and the Four Seasons but "O, What A Night" it was for Geneva, which advanced to the sectional championship game for the first time since 1963 with last week's hard-fought semifinal win over the Blackhawks at East Aurora.
Top Individual Performances
Geneva junior forward Nate Navigato scored a career-high 41 points during the Vikings' 61-57 victory over Bloomington. Navigato, who made 17 consecutive free throws, scored 33 points in a 12-minute stretch.
St. Charles East senior guard Dom Adduci poured in 32 of his career-high 40 points in the first half during the Saints' victory over Elgin. Adduci, who sat out the fourth quarter, single-handedly outscored the Maroons 32-27 in the opening half.
Kaneland senior Tyler Carlson scored 29 first-half points en route to a career-high 38 points during the Knights' 76-61 sectional semifinal loss to Rockford Lutheran.
West Aurora senior guard Jontrell Walker tallied 36 points against a Glenbard North team that claimed its first sectional title since 2002 last Friday night against Morton.
Alec Goetz's aforementioned 36-point performance in St. Charles North's triple-overtime loss to Simeon.
"Every game we have is gravy. I like gravy. I like getting extra helpings of gravy. This is a gravy game for us." -- Geneva coach Phil Ralston on facing Benet in the sectional finals.
"If he's making that many shots, there's no reason any of us need to shoot it." -- St. Charles East guard Cole Gentry on teammate Dom Adduci's 40-point effort against Elgin.
"He's a freak. That's what we say on our bench all the time. I've seen him do stuff athletically even I say he shouldn't have made that play or got that rebound." -- Marmion coach Ryan Paradise on junior guard Jordan Glasgow.
"He's very poised down low. When he catches the ball down low, he surveys the situation pretty well. Being 6-7, he can rise up and make mid-range shots but he can also maneuver inside and finish." -- Glenbard North coach Joe Larson on Geneva's Nate Navigato.
"Winning a regional title would be like winning a national title for us." -- Geneva coach Phil Ralston prior to the postseason tournament.
"I remember sitting in the small gym when he was a 3rd-grader at our summer camp. I was like, ‘who is this tiny, little blond-haired kid?' He gets up and dribbles better than I ever could." -- St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin on senior guard Alec Goetz.
"There's a reason why he's able to find the basket like he does because he puts the time and effort in that a lot of kids don't." -- St. Charles East coach Patrick Woods on senior guard Dom Adduci.
Congratulations to Mooseheart on capturing the school's first state championship with last Saturday's 63-47 victory over Heyworth in the Class 1A title game in Peoria.
St. Charles East's basketball program presented a check for $10,000 for the Jim Valvano Foundation for Cancer Research as part of its Hoops for Homecoming fund-raising event this past season.
You think you've seen it all…
Englewood recorded what amounted to be an 8-point play in a November game against Kaneland.
First, Shartone Moore hit a 3-pointer from the corner. Then the Knights received a technical foul and Ray Rushing made a pair of free throws. Awarded possession of the ball, Moore's thunderous dunk led to a 3-point play. Four seconds = eight points.
A fire alarm sounded at the 2:37 mark of the first quarter when St. Charles North visited Batavia in February. Action resumed after a 48-minute delay and the North Stars went on to win 48-42.
West Aurora held St. Patrick scoreless throughout the entire first quarter of its 58-27 victory during Batavia's Night of Hoops in February.
Best two teams I saw
Stevenson and Benet squared off during Batavia's Night of Hoops. Junior guard Jalen Brunson scored 39 points in the Patriots' 77-64 triumph. The teams could meet again -- in Saturday's Class 4A state championship.
Playing with a heavy heart
About 24 hours after his older brother, Jarred, was killed in a head-on auto accident on Route 30 (and his older sister, Janella, was injured), Aurora Christian senior Johnathan Harrell scored 15 points with 7 assists and 5 rebounds during the Eagles' 64-45 loss to Ottawa at the Plano Christmas Classic.
Aurora Christian sophomore R.D. Lutze picked up a loose ball near midcourt and launched a 3-point half-court heave that banked off the backboard and fell through the net as time expired during the Eagles' dramatic 60-57 win over Marmion.
The shot II
Geneva senior guard Chris Parrilli calmly sank a 10-foot baseline jumper with 4 seconds remaining to lift the Vikings to a 70-68 sectional semifinal win over West Aurora.
The shot III
With the game tied at 60-60, Kaneland senior guard Drew David canned an 18-footer with 2 seconds left during the Knights' 62-60 regional championship triumph over Marmion.
Dom Adduci, St. Charles East; Tyler Carlson, Kaneland; Alec Goetz, St. Charles North; Johnathan Harrell, Aurora Christian; Chris Parrilli, Geneva; Jontrell Walker, West Aurora.
Jack Callaghan, St. Charles North; Cole Gentry, St. Charles East; Roland Griffin, West Aurora; Jake Ludwig, St. Charles North; R.D. Lutze, Aurora Christian; Nate Navigato, Geneva.
Jack Callaghan, St. Charles North; Jordan Glasgow, Marmion; Tucker Knox, Batavia; Michael Sheehan, Marmion; Pace Temple, Geneva; Mick Vyzral, St. Charles East.
Jack Callaghan, St. Charles North; Tyler Carlson, Kaneland; Roland Griffin, West Aurora; Nate Navigato, Geneva; A.J. Washington, St. Charles East.
First off the bench
Andy Czerak, Aurora Central Catholic; Jake Clodi, St. Charles East; Ryan Olson, Batavia; Dylan Vaca, Kaneland.
You can reach Craig Brueske at firstname.lastname@example.org