Naperville North showing progress
Every boys basketball team likes to believe it's improving throughout the season.
Naperville North's got the proof.
On Friday the Huskies upset Waubonsie Valley 62-53 to ease the sting of a 24-point loss to the Warriors on Dec. 6. Coach Gene Nolan was glad to see his players rewarded for their persistence after suffering five straight losses during that early stretch.
"The kids played a great game," Nolan said. "We knew those rough stretches weren't going to define us. We knew we were going to get better and that process continues."
The process continues for the Huskies (11-12, 2-4 DuPage Valley Conference) with their core of returners including Grant Johnson, Myles Barry, Mike Imhoff, Riley Thompson and Zeke Williams.
The Huskies still seek consistency -- they're 3-4 in their last seven games -- but on Friday they'll get another chance to reverse a previous loss in the cross-town game at Naperville Central.
"We've steadily progressed and that's a credit to their hard work," Nolan said. "We might win some games and lose some games but we're still working hard."
Speaking of progress:
It's been a tough season for Addison Trail, but the bright spots are glaring.
With senior guard A.J. Carlson and junior forward Robert Roskiewicz the Blazers enjoy one of the area's top one-two punches. It hasn't always translated into victory, but it still gives opponents plenty to work on in a game plan.
"We've had A.J. for a while, but Robert was kind of a wild card," said Blazers coach Brendan Lyons. "He was more of a complementary player last year, but it was good he got that experience."
Addison Trail went 1-2 last week, but the big highlight was Friday's 77-70 win over rival Willowbrook. Carlson scored 43 points, while Roskiewicz added 14 points and 6 rebounds.
For the season they've combined to average 30 points and 12 rebounds. As defenses adjust, though, the duo needs help.
"We need guys to step up," Lyons said. "Those guys are going to attract a lot of attention."
St. Francis (16-11) will host "Veteran Appreciation Night" during Friday's Metro Suburban Blue game against Chicago Christian.
"We try to talk to the kids about selfless service," said St. Francis coach Erin Dwyer.
The coach worked with the Travis Manion Foundation and Chicago veteran Vick Lombardo to pair a local veteran with Spartans players to expand their appreciation of leadership and service.
One veteran lives within walking distance of St. Francis -- 99-year-old William "Chick" Chittenden, a York alumnus in the Wyndemere senior living community.
Chittenden, who in 1939 drank two gallons of water to reach the minimum weight needed to join the Marines, spent four years in prisoner of war camps in China and Japan during World War II.
Before St. Francis' varsity game on Friday the entire program will honor Chittenden and any veterans in Spyglass Athletic Center. Spartans players are scheduled to meet with him early next week.
"It's literally about the fact there are POWs in your back yard, and we forget about them sometimes," Dwyer said.
Glenbard South is 2-0 against Glenbard East and hosts the Rams on Friday. The duo are battling for the Upstate Eight Conference title.
"I think a lot of it will come down to who's going to be able to take care of the basketball the best," said Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke.
For the Raiders, that means guards Nick Plaso, Brandon Malone, Trevor Burnett, the surging Aryton Temcio and Cade Hardtke, Wade's son.
Glenbard East (16-7, 9-3) counters with the solid backcourt of DaRon Hall and Deon Cook. Joe Hamilton is a glue guy, while guards Nick Janega and Terrence Spencer come off the bench for offense and defense.
Glenbard South (18-4, 10-2) beat the Rams at the District 87 Tournament and in UEC play Jan. 9. Four points was the widest margin.
"There's a very good chance that it comes down to the wire again," Wade Hardtke said.