EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC CONFERENCESt. ViatorCoach: Quin Hayes (4th Yr.)
Last year: 15-17, 6-3 East Suburban Catholic Conference
Top returnees: Jeremiah Hernandez (6-4 Jr. F), Peter Lambesis (6-3, Sr. F.), Matt Doersching (6-3, Sr. F), Jack Geary (6-3, Sr. F), Cori Korab (6-0 Sr. G)
Key varsity additions: Trey Calvin (6-0, Jr. G), Connor Kuchera (6-3, Soph.), Michael Huene (6-7. Soph. C.)
Outlook: The Lions made a great run at the end of last season, winning six of their last seven games. St. Viator advanced to the Class 3A supersectional before being beaten by Fenwick.
St. Viator gets a bump to Class 4A this year and another tough schedule, but coach Quin Hayes thinks his team will be up to the challenge.
"A lot of our younger players were part of the group that helped us succeed," said Hayes. "We think that we have a team that can challenge for the conference title in the East Suburban Catholic. Sure, there a lot of tough teams, like Benet, Marian Catholic, but we think we're in there too."
A loss for the lions was the transfer of guard J.R. Cison to Lake Zurich. But Hayes has plenty in reserve. Junior Trey Calvin a 6-0 guard can lead the St. Viator offense. He will get help from a couple of seniors in Kennedy Gowin and Cori Korab.
Up front is one of the area's best players in Jeremiah Hernandez, who had a strong second half of the year last season as a sophomore.
"He is very talented," said Hayes. "He has taken a leadership role on the team along with senior Peter Lambesis. They both have a year under their belt and that helps."
Sophomore Michael Huene at 6-7 could play a big part in how well the Lions fare in ESCC play. Another sophomore, Connor Kuchera (6-3), will be brought along slowly but Hayes feels he will be a contributor as the season moves along.
"So far in practice, I like the way our defense has looked," said Hayes. "I think we're a little ahead of where we were a year ago. As always defense is going to be key to our success. On offense we need to share the ball like we preach in practice.
"Were going to learn a lot about ourselves early on and we'll be tested by teams that we have in our tournament. It will tell us what we have to do as a team and where we will need to improve. It will be a challenge.
The Lions will be tested by Libertyville, Highland Park, Prospect, Conant and Evanston begining next week.
St. Viator will be back at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic at the winter break following a stint at Hinsdale Central.
The Lions' nonconference schedule includes New Trier, Loyola, Mather, Hersey, Lake Forest and at Ridgewood on Sunday Dec. 3.