2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/20/2017 6:48 PM

Recapping the thrills and spills of the 2016-17 Fox Valley basketball season

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Taking a look back at the Fox Valley basketball season for 2016-17.

Best postgame line from a coach: "It was nice yelling at ya," Montini boys basketball coach Daryl Thomas said to the three referees as they prepared to leave the building following the Broncos' 56-50 victory over Aurora Central Catholic on Feb. 21.

Best post-tournament line from a coach: "We drew it up that way -- nah, I'm just kidding," Geneva girls basketball coach Sarah Meadows said following the Vikings' pair of 1-point victories in the Class 4A state semifinals and finals last month at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Catch of the year: Elgin junior guard Trevon Morris may have saved the day for a little girl as he attempted to keep the ball from going out of bounds during the Maroons' Upstate Eight Conference River Division game against St. Charles North at Chesbrough Field House. Heading on a collision course with the little girl located several feet away from the court alongside the Elgin cheerleaders, the player scooped up the mini-Maroon to avoid what could have been a serious injury. Fortunately, all parties were uninjured -- though the young girl spent the remainder of the game sitting in the stands.

Boys game of the season: St. Charles North 62, Geneva 60, OT. The North Stars snapped Geneva's 26-game winning streak on senior guard Anthony Delisi's pull-up jumper with 4 seconds left in the extra session.

Girls game of the season: Of course, it had to be Geneva capturing its first state championship, edging previously unbeaten Edwardsville 41-40 on Stephanie Hart's offensive rebound putback with 3.7 seconds remaining.

Ranking as a close second -- the Vikings' 34-33 state semifinal triumph over Fremd as junior guard Margaret Whitley banked in a runner in the lane with 3.2 seconds left.

Tourney buzzer-beaters: St. Charles East junior forward Justin Hardy swished a 30-foot, 3-point jumper as time expired during the Saints' 59-58 victory over cross-town rival St. Charles North in the title game of their annual Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament last November.

Larkin's Pierre Black connected on a 3-pointer with 1 second left to lift the Royals to a 68-66 win over Deerfield in the Rockford Jefferson MLK tournament.

Same name, same game: Former Batavia basketball coach Jim Roberts introduced himself to Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts in the hallway at Glenbard East following the Golden Eagles' 67-55 victory over Hillcrest. All that was missing was the presence of ESPN reporter Jimmy Roberts to complete the trio.

Straight shooter: Aurora Central Catholic senior guard Brett Czerak put on an awesome shooting display when he connected on 19 of 20 free throws during the Chargers' 68-62 overtime victory over Plainfield Central in the East Aurora Holiday Tournament last December.

Like any great shooter, Czerak was upset with himself about the one missed free throw.

"I hate missing free throws," said Czerak, who finished with 37 points.

Feeling it: Geneva junior guard Margaret Whitley connected on a career-best nine 3-pointers during the Vikings' 65-60 holiday tournament loss to Montini last December.

Career milestones: Led by the Navigato brothers -- Cole and Dom -- Geneva's boys basketball team set a program record for best start to a season with its 16th consecutive win, a 49-38 victory over Woodstock in January. It broke a 57-year-old school mark dating back to the 1959-1960 campaign. The Vikings won 10 more games in a row to improve to 26-0 before their OT loss to St. Charles North. Nearly a week later, Geneva's Phil Ralston recorded the 300th victory of his 17-year coaching career in the Vikings' 68-49 win over Elgin at Chesbrough Field House.

Larkin senior guard Marlee Kyles scored the 2,000th point of 4-year career when she hit the first of 2 free throws with 44 seconds left in overtime during the Royals' 70-65 regional win over Jacobs. The Arizona-bound Kyles, who scored a school-record 50 points in a 65-50 victory over Woodstock in February, finished her career with 2,039 points.

In mid-January, ACC's Brett Czerak became the school's all-time leading scorer when he canned a 15-foot turnaround jumper during the Chargers' 60-59 win over St. Edward. Czerak eclipsed 2008 graduate Mark Adams' previous career mark of 1,593 points.

Burlington Central's Zach Schutta, Harvest Christian's Brennen Woods and Alyssa Iverson, Geneva's Margaret Whitley, St. Charles East's Sara Rosenfeldt, St. Edward's Maddie Spagnola, and West Aurora's Camron Donatlan joined the 1,000-point club this season.

Jacobs' Cam Krutwig and Geneva's Grace Loberg finished their prep careers as 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound performers.

St. Edward senior guard Kelvin Cortez-Harvey set a single-season school scoring record with 818 points while Geneva sophomore guard Jack McDonald established a regular-season assist mark with 168.

Fond farewell: On a personal note, St. Charles East girls basketball coach Lori Drumtra and longtime St. Charles North boys basketball assistant Rob Prentiss announced their retirement following the 2016-2017 school year. I'll miss them both next season.

Craig Brueske can be reached at csb4k@hotmail.com.

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