Boys basketball: Scouting the Fox Valley Conference
FOX VALLEY CONFERENCE
Coach: Brett Porto (14th season)
Last year's record: 31-4, 18-0 (FVC champion)
Key returning players: Drew Scharnowski, sr., F; Matt Lemon, sr., G; Nicholas Gouriotis, sr., F; Jake Johnson, so., F; Nolan Milas, sr., G; Mitch Pedrigi, sr., G; Mason Erickson, sr., F; Caden West, so., G; Aidan Wilson, jr., F
Key new players: Patrick Shell, so., F; Brady Gilroy, jr., G; Myles Lowe, jr., F; Quinton Erickson, sr., F; Jordan Moore, so., G; LJ Kerr, so., G; Lucas Lemon, jr., G
Worth noting: The Rockets are 39-6 in their three seasons in the FVC and are two-time defending champions. They have won 27 consecutive FVC games, with their last loss coming against Huntley 61-43 on Feb. 28, 2020. ... Scharnowski (6-foot-9) is a threat from all over and will play at NCAA Division I Belmont. He averaged 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds and is the lone returning starter from last year's school-record-setting team. ... The Rockets will be tough to match up with sizewise, not only with Scharnowski. Gouriotis (6-5), Johnson (6-5), Wilson (6-10) and Lowe (6-9) give them the tallest roster in the FVC. ... Lemon, Milas and Johnson saw the most time off the bench for Central last season.
Coach: Adam McCloud (seventh season)
Last year's record: 11-21, 5-13 FVC (seventh place)
Key returning players: Zach Bauer, sr., F; Jake Hornok, jr. G
Key new players: Reece Ihenacho, jr., C; PJ Weaver, jr., G; Mitch Thompson, sr., G; Spike Boyd, so., G
Worth noting: The Trojans have only Bauer and Hornok returning who saw significant minutes last season, but they are a good place to start. Bauer (6-6) is an inside presence and Hornok hit 20 3-pointers. ... McCloud likes what C-G has in its junior class, although injuries will hold some players back until January. ... "We're looking forward to watching our young guys compete and become a very tough team in February," McCloud said.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Joe Capalbo (fourth season)
Last year's record: 3-28, 1-17 FVC (10th place)
Key returning players: Luke Spychala, sr., F; Joey Joswiak, sr., F; Jason Penza, jr., G; Jake Terlecki, jr., G
Key new players: Danny Cubelic, sr., G; Drew Welder, jr., PG; Connor Drayton, jr., F; Preston Mast, jr., G
Worth noting: Capalbo feels the Tigers have a young core of players with a lot to prove this season. "We're looking forward to competing in the Fox Valley Conference this season," he said.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Matt LePage (11th season)
Last year's record: 17-15, 11-7 (tied for fourth place)
Key returning players: Cooper LePage sr., G; Zach Peltz, sr., G; Cam Miller, sr., G; AJ Demirov, so., G; Brady Schroeder, sr., F; Josh Washington, sr., F
Key new players: James Carlson, jr., G; CJ Regillio, jr., F
Worth noting: The Gators return six of their top eight players from last season, led by Cooper LePage. who averaged 12.1 points and hit 63 3s. ... Isaiah Kirkeeng (6-5, 10.7 ppg.) and sharpshooting Arnav Jain (87 3s) will be missed after graduating, but South looks like it could be in the thick of the conference race. ... "This group has good chemistry and I am looking forward to watching them compete in what should be a very balanced and competitive league," Matt LePage said.
Coach: Lance Huber (20th season)
Last year: 20-10, 13-5 FVC (third place)
Key returning players: Tyler DiSilvio, sr., F; Nate Benton, sr., G; Anthony Aguilar, sr., F; Josh Valera, sr., G; Zach Randl, jr., G
Key new players: Kali Freeman, jr., G; Jude Arsenaul, jr., F; Jack Sunstedt, jr., F; Kuba Senczyszyn, sr., F; Jared Russell, so., G; Terrion Spencer, so., G
Worth noting: The Chargers were hit hard by graduation, especially with Kennon Cook (10.4 ppg., 9.5 rpg.) and Jason Huber (12.1 ppg., 60 3s). DiSilvio (6-7) and Randl (29 3s) are the two most experienced returning players. ... "The boys have been working hard and we are hoping to get the right pieces in the right spots and continue to improve each day," Lance Huber said.
Coach: Mike Featherly (fourth season)
Last season's record: 15-16, 9-7 (tied for fourth)
Key returning players: Joey Costabile, sr., G; Gavin Khounnoraj, sr., G; Sam Ptak, sr., G/F; Jeffrey Cruickshank, jr., G/F; Nick Louis, jr., G; Daniel Luckett, jr., G; Ryan Regalado, jr., G
Key new players: Bailey Woods, sr., G; Keyshaun Davis, sr., G; Nathan Vonic, sr., F; Aman Adeshina, sr., F; Grayson Mull, jr., G; Elijah Dollete, jr., G; Luke Lacke, jr., F
Worth noting: Featherly again wants the Whip-Purs' defense to be their identity. It served them well last year as they had only one player, graduated Adam Ugochukwu (10.5) who averaged near double figures. ... Ptak (6.4, 39 3s), Costabile (6.0, 31) and Louis (5.2, 27) were three of the next four high scorers behind Ugochukwu. ... "We have a good mix of returning and new players," Featherly said. "Practices have been incredibly competitive. We have been getting better every day."
Coach: Will Benson (ninth season)
Last year's record: 27-6, 15-3 (second place)
Key returning players: Ian Ravagnie, sr., G; Noah Only, sr., G-F; Ty Goodrich, sr, G; Mark Roesner, sr., G
Key new players: Omare Segurra, jr., G; Lucas Crosby, jr., G; Ethan Blackmore, jr., G; Carter Schaap, jr., F
Worth noting: Huntley graduated guards Aiden Wieczorek (13.3 ppg., 69 3s) and Ben Ahmer (12.5, 85), along with forward Adam Guazzo (7.0 ppg., 10.1 rpg), whose 314 rebounds set Huntley's school record. ... Only started and Ravagnie was in the regular rotation last season. ... Benson sees opportunities for a lot of new varsity players this season. "We are looking forward to seeing how that plays out," Benson said. ... Huntley hopes to get Bryce Walker (broken leg) back at some point after a football injury. Benson sees him as a potential big contributor.
Coach: Jimmy Roberts (10th season)
Last year's record: 7-25, 5-13 (eighth place)
Key returning players: Jackson Martucci, sr., G; Brett Schlicker, sr., G; Ben Jurzak, so., G; Carter Roper, sr., G; Amari Owens, sr., F; Jack Bonkoski, sr., G
Key new players: Treval Howard, jr., F; Emaan Thomas, so., PG
Worth noting: Roberts is 164-97 in his 10 years at Jacobs and last year was his fewest wins. He has had only two losing seasons at the Golden Eagles coach. ... Martucci is one of the area's best outside shooters, having made 65 3s and hitting 91.4% on free throws. ... Schlicker is the other returning starter and hit 32 3s. ... A lot of returning players saw action last season and Roberts feels like his team should be strong at shooting.
Coach: Chris Madson (sixth season)
Last year's record: 8-21, 3-15 (ninth place)
Key returning players: Marko Visnjevac, sr. G; Zack Maness, sr., G; Hayden Stone, sr., F
Key new players: Caleb Jett, so., G; Conner McClean, so., F
Worth noting: The Warriors will miss graduated forward Anthony Fowler who averaged 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. ... Madson likes the young players coming up who will be battling for playing time. ... Maness (8.0 ppg., 34 3s) and Visnjevac (7.9, 42) are the best scoring options returning for McHenry.
Coach: Ryan Smith (fifth season)
Last year's record: 17-16, 8-8 (sixth place)
Key returning players: James Muse, sr., F.; Cade Collins, sr., F.; Sam Loeding, sr., G.; Kevin Fist, sr., G
Key new players: Ben Gablenz, so., G.; Drake Tomasiewicz, jr., G
Worth noting: Smith likes that the Wolves played for a regional title last season and have several key players back from that group. ... Muse (6-3, 11.8 ppg., 8.1 rpg.) was one of the area's top rebounders. Collins also was a solid contributor. ... The Wolves will miss graduated Mason Loucks (49 3s) and Jackson Otto (35), their top outside threats. ... "We have lost some senior leadership since last season, but it has been nice to see a few guys step up and fill those roles," Smith said. "I believe we have the potential to see this group be successful in the postseason. We will look to build off our conference record from last year."