Boys basketball: Lake County all-area team
Joe Borcia LibertyvilleA blast from the past, the 6-foot-10 Borica has a more traditional feel to his game. "Joe is a quality big man that is sort of a throwback, a back to the basket low post player that you do not see very often anymore," Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil said. Borcia, an all-tournament selection at both the Maine West Thanksgiving tournament and the Wheeling Hardwood Classic, averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game, along with 2 blocks and 2 assists per game. He had 14 double-doubles on the season and went off for a season-high 30 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in a win over Carmel. "With added strength and further development," Bogumil said, "Joe can be a nice addition to a college team."
Jalen Brunson StevensonThere's a plaque inside the gym at Stevenson that lists all the records for the boys basketball team. Brunson's name is repeated almost too many times to count. A four-year starter at point guard, Brunson obliterated Stevenson's all-time scoring record. He had 2,484 points heading into the state tournament after averaging 22.8 points per game this season. Brunson, who signed with nationally ranked Villanova, also averaged 5.1 assists and 2.6 steals per game. He's hit 63 3-pointers at a clip of 38 percent. "Jalen has been a varsity starter since the first game of his freshman season and has amassed 100 career wins as a varsity player," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "I definitely think he will be an impact player at Villanova."
Ben Carlson WaucondaA former post player himself, Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager has a special appreciation for the 6-foot-8 Carlson. "He is the most talented post player I have coached," Luetschwager said. "He has great body control and is patient with the ball to let plays and shots develop. He has great vision and a soft jump shot that allows him to pass or shoot out of the high post and short corners." Carlson averaged 13.1 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. He also shot 59 percent from the field and had 11 double-doubles. Against Prairie Division champion Vernon Hills, Carlson had 17 points and 18 rebounds.
Connor Cashaw StevensonCashaw made big gains in the weight room over the off-season and his game did what it always has from one season to the next: hit the next level. "Connor has worked extremely hard throughout his career and has shown a great amount of improvement with each season," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. "Connor is a dynamic basketball player with a great ability to get to the basket and finish, as well as hit the three. He is a phenomenal rebounder as well." Cashaw, a four-year varsity player who averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 steals per game this season, has been a part of 100 wins at Stevenson. He will play at Rice next year.
C.J. Duff CarmelDuff, who temporarily transferred to Waukegan after last school year, returned to Carmel in October. Because he was away, he didn't play with his Carmel teammates all summer, nor did he get a chance to ease into the new system of first-year coach Zach Ryan. "It makes the season he had even more unbelievable," Ryan said. "He did it all for us this year. He handled the ball, facilitated, scored, defended and rebounded. He did anything we asked of him and he really thrived playing in our up-tempo system." Duff averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. He also made 62 3-pointers. Just a junior, he scored his 1,000th career point in February. Duff had multiple 30-point games and broke the all-time record for scoring at the Jacobs Holiday tournament.
Aidan Einloth Grayslake NorthFrom A to Z, Einloth had it covered. "Aidan is the most complete player we have had at Grayslake North," Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh said. "He has the ability to change the game in a variety of ways. He is our best rebounder, best passer, he is a great ball handler and he is our best scorer who can shoot extremely well from the perimeter, can get to the basket and can score in the post." Einloth averaged 16.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. A three-year starter, Einloth is third on the all-time scoring list at Grayslake North with 902 points. "Aidan understands what opposing teams are trying to do and has the ability to exploit it himself or give himself up in order to have his teammates exploit the defensive breakdown," Grunloh said.
Jake Falish WarrenFalish certainly made up for lost time. After years of playing basketball, he decided to sit out last season in order to focus on baseball, the sport he thought he had the best chance to play in college. He ended up missing basketball so deeply that he couldn't wait to go out for the team again this year as a senior. Falish wound up leading Warren in scoring this season with 14 points per game. He's also made about 100 3-pointers thus far. "He has had an outstanding season for us," Warren coach Ryan Webber said. "He has such a quick release on his shot. He has been a real pleasure to coach this season. He has been improving defensively and he has a really good feel for playing the ball press." As it turns out, Falish will keep playing basketball after this season. Marian University, which signed him for baseball, has asked him to play basketball there, too.
Michael Green Round LakeGreen doesn't just compete hard in games. "He pushes his teammates to be as successful as they can in drills in practice," Round Lake coach Jeremy Fisher said. "He is a competitor and he hates to lose. Michael has a keen basketball sense. He understands situations and tries to help teammates succeed in various situations during games and practices." Green, just a junior but a three-year varsity player, averaged 12.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.6 assists per game. He scored a season-best 25 points twice, against Alden Hebron and Woodstock North. In the Alden Hebron game, Green scored all 15 of Round Lake's first-quarter points.
David Llorens Grayslake CentralA baseball player who will be pitching next year at Heartland Community College, Llorens certainly didn't look out of place on the hardwood. In fact, he became a regular dunker and could hit from anywhere on the floor. Llorens, a 6-foot-5 forward, banged in the paint but also drained 36 3-pointers. "David has evolved from a perimeter player to a wing man who can score from all over the floor," Grayslake Central coach Kosta Kougias said. "He has learned to dribble penetrate and finish in traffic and in some cases with dunks. His biggest moments have come in the clutch of close games, knocking down 3-pointers or free throws or making a dunk." Llorens averaged 10.7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1.5 steals per game.
Will McClaughry Lake ZurichAt 6-foot-6, McClaughry is a big target for the Bears. He often became an even bigger target late in games. "Will has been our go-to guy down the stretch in many games," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. "It's so great to have a good big guy to get the ball to for a high percentage shot." McClaughry, a three-year starter, hit 58 percent of his field goals and averaged 11.7 points per game. He also hit 16 3-pointers at a clip of 51 percent. McClaughry was tough on the boards, pulling down 6.2 rebounds points per game. An all-tournament selection at Grant and at the Lake Zurich Martin Luther King Classic, McClaughry is getting strong looks by dozens of Division II and Division III schools.
Robby Nardini Vernon HillsA sharpshooter from 3-point range, Nardini can quickly get on a roll. Just ask Niles North. The Cougars were down by 10 points with under four minutes remaining and Nardini hit three 3-pointers to help force overtime and then drained two more 3s to propel Vernon Hills to victory. "Robby's competitiveness fuels his desire to win drills in practice just as much as it does to win games," Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said. "When you put that component together with the skills he possesses, then you have a special high school player." Nardini averages 21 points per game and has rolled up 95 3-pointers while shooting 44 percent from the field. Nardini is only the second player in school history to score more than 1,000 career points and has committed to play at Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He was the most valuable player of the Lake Zurich Martin Luther King tournament and made the all-tournament team at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic.
Ethan Sage LakesJust 6-foot-3, Sage held his own in the post against much bigger players. "He is able to just out-quick the guys who are bigger than him," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "He is also strong enough to battle and compete down there. He has strong finishing ability around the rim and is able to power through contact to finish at the hoop." Sage, who averaged 15.7 points per game, scored double-figures in 22 of 26 games and had huge outbursts of 38 and 29 points against South Elgin and Oswego East, respectively. He also averaged 7.3 rebounds per game.
Justin Smith StevensonLast year as a freshman on a team that went to the state finals, Smith was happy to occasionally make contributions off the bench. This season, he's been a starter that opposing coaching have to game-plan for. Smith is a tough matchup, a 6-foot-5 forward who can score in the paint as easily as he can drain three-pointers. He's also become one of Stevenson's best showmen, rolling up dozens of dunks. His favorite is the alley-oop. Smith is averaging 9.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He's hit 17 3-pointers and 61 percent of his shots overall.
Mike Travlos Lake ZurichIt's been a season of milestones for Travlos. He scored his 1,000th career point at the Grant Thanksgiving tournament and has moved all the way up to second on the all-time scoring list at Lake Zurich with 1,529 points heading into the state tournament. Travlos, a three-year starter, was the most valuable player at the Grant tournament and made the all-tournament team at Pekin and at the Lake Zurich Martin Luther King Classic. Travlos averages 19.7 points per game and has nailed 68 of 175 3-pointers for a clip of 38 percent. "Mike really worked hard in the off-season on his game, strength and athleticism," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. "Teams really keyed on him and doubled him so it's really impressive that he was able to up his average (from last year)." Travlos has earned a full scholarship to Division II Hillsdale College.
Matt Weaver Vernon HillsThe momentum kept going for Weaver. He finished his junior season last year with a bang and has ridden that all the way through his senior year. "In that last game last year, Matt had one of the most memorable individual performances in the history of the program," Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said. "He was 11 of 12 from the field, including 6 of 6 from the 3-point line for 28 points in a win over Warren. He has continued to be a big-time producer for the Cougars." Weaver averaged 11.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season and put up 16 points and 6 rebounds in the North Suburban Championship game against Stevenson. He was named to the all-tournament team at the Lake Zurich Martin Luther King Classic.
Player Pos. Yr. School
Joe Borcia C Sr. Libertyville
*Jalen Brunson G Sr. Stevenson
Ben Carlson C Sr. Wauconda
Connor Cashaw G Sr. Stevenson
C.J. Duff G Jr. Carmel
Aidan Einloth F Sr. Grayslake North
Jake Falish G Sr. Warren
Michael Green G Jr. Round Lake
David Llorens F Sr. Grayslake Central
Will McClaughry C Sr. Lake Zurich
Robby Nardini G Sr. Vernon Hills
Ethan Sage F Sr. Lakes
Justin Smith F So. Stevenson
Mike Travlos G Sr. Lake Zurich
Matt Weaver F Sr. Vernon Hills
* honorary captain
Honorable mentionG Shareif Bailey, Carmel, jr., G Jake Balliu, Lakes, sr., F Michael Benko, Grayslake Central, sr., G Malik Doby, Mundelein, sr., G Kyle Gofron, Antioch, jr., G Matt Johnson, Stevenson, sr., F Jovan Jokic, Warren, sr., G Bobby Krebs, Grayslake North, jr., F Zac Lahrman, Wauconda, jr., G Cory Levin, Vernon Hills, sr., G/F Bo Manso, Vernon Hills, sr., F James Mobley, Grant, jr., G Joey Mudd, Grayslake Central, sr., F Parker Nichols, Stevenson, sr., G Nick Penny, Lake Zurich, jr., G Jack O'Neill, Lake Zurich, sr., F Conor Peterson, Libertyville, sr., G Sam Ruhlmann, Grayslake Central, jr., F Ricky Sidlowski, Wauconda, sr.
Selections and profiles by Patricia Babcock McGraw