When the Carthage College men's basketball team finished a perfect weekend to open the season at 2-0, former Lake Zurich standout Brad Kruse sure helped play his part.
The 6-foot-4 junior finished with a game-high 19 points as the Red Men improved to 2-0 with an 80-66 victory over Robert Morris-Peoria in Kenosha.
It marked the first time the Red Men opened the season at 2-0 in six years.
Kruse went 6-of-8 from the field and 2-3 from 3-point land.
He added 5 rebounds and a pair of steals in his 32 minutes on the floor.
Carthage opened up its largest lead of the game (16 points) with an 8-0 run in the second half that was capped by 6 straight points from Kruse.
"Brad Kruse has worked so hard to get back from an injury, which was a blessing in disguise," said Red Men coach Bosko Djurickovic on the school's website. "He was able to sit back and work on his shot with his dad, who was a great player for me at North Park. They worked on his shot because they were both unhappy last year with the way he shot the ball.
"So far this year, he is shooting the ball better and is doing all the intangibles that he brings to the floor. He and (Kevin) Kozil (Hersey) have been very stellar the first two games. We just need more consistent production from the rest of the squad and that will happen."
had 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting and added 5 rebounds in a thrilling 105-104 overtime victory over Trinity Christian.
• Back-to-back field goals by Augustana sophomore Carly Cameron (Antioch) sparked a 20-7 run that eventually saw the Vikings take a 42-37 halftime lead in a 100-80 nonconference victory over the University of Dubuque.
• Saint Xavier freshman guard Maddie Welter (Buffalo Grove) had a career-best 19 points in an 85-63 win over Indiana University-South Bend.
Welter is averaging 15.4 points for the Cougars, who are 6-0 and 3-0 in CCAC.
• Olivet-Nazarene freshman Sammy Stejskal (Buffalo Grove) came off the bench and finished with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting in a thrilling105-104 overtime win over Trinity Christian.
Stejskal, the Tigers' No. 3 scorer averaging 12.2 ppg, was 2-for-6 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the foul line. She added 2 rebounds and 3 steals in the CCAC contest.
Georgette Topalis might be even quicker this season than she was a year ago when she made two big dashes down court and scored baskets that iced wins over Hersey's state-ranked girls basketball team.
That's because a weight has been lifted from the shoulders of the Buffalo Grove senior.
"I feel so less stressed," said Topalis after making her commitment to Winona State University to play soccer. "Now I can just focus on basketball and see how well we can do this season."
Not too many players did as well as Topalis and her teams a year ago.
She was the Mid-Suburban League East player of the Year while helping Pat Dudle's soccer team win the division title.
Months before that, she played a key factor helping Steve Kolodziej's girls basketball team win the MSL East.
After completing her two seasons with each team this school year, Topalis will switch from the orange and blue Bison jerseys to the Warriors' purple and white at Winona State.
She plans to study athletic training, a field in which she has always had an interest.
"Winona State was definitely a real good fit," said the two-sport all-area athlete. "The coaches loved me and were always so consistent in letting me know how much they wanted me to be a part of their program. They would drive four hours just to watch my club games."
Topalis has been playing soccer since kindergarten.
"I grew up loving it," said Georgette, whose father Panos played soccer at Hersey High School where he wore the same No. 13 that his daughter wears today in both sports.
But despite all the time she put into soccer, Georgette couldn't give up basketball.
"I love the game," said Topalis who scored a career-high 19 points against Rolling Meadows last season. "I debated sophomore year not playing it because of my time commitment to soccer. But I loved it so much I couldn't, and look what happened my junior year."
One of the most influential coaches in Illinois high school girls basketball history will be remembered on Friday in the Maine West Spectator Gymnasium.
A memorial marker and legacy wall for Hall of Fame coach Derril Kipp, who passed away on July 5 from pancreatic cancer, will be dedicated.
Kipp led Maine West's girls basketball program for the past 35 years and logged 788 wins with the Warriors, third-most by any coach at one school. His 1987-88 team won the Class AA state championship, posting one of the few undefeated seasons (35-0) in state girls basketball history.
The dedication night of the memorial marker and legacy wall will take place at 7 p.m. and at halftime of a Central Suburban North girls basketball against Deerfield (tip-off at 7:30 p.m.).
The night will also serve as a fundraiser for a scholarship fund in honor of Kipp.
Kipp's wife, Marianne, and family will be on hand to thank everyone for their contributions.
"Without everyone's beautiful letters, e-mails, Facebook postings and generous gifts, this memorial marker could never have happened," said Kipp's wife Marianne. "Without Dr Audrey Haugan, the possibility of Derril's remembrance in this way would never have been a dream or possibility."
There will be a few speeches and videos playing outside the concession stand (including an interview with Kipp after a state tournament game and a pregame pep talk to his players).
The memorial marker which will be located on the grassy area out side of the school's main gymnasium, will be engraved with a list of the many accomplishments held by Kipp's teams.
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