Wauconda not focused on potential to make school history

  • Wauconda's Benji Chung passes the ball as Grayslake Central's Dillan Dumanlang and Daniel Rogers block his line to the basket during action last month. Wauconda visits Grayslake Central on Friday night for a first-place battle in the Northern Lake County Conference.

      Wauconda's Benji Chung passes the ball as Grayslake Central's Dillan Dumanlang and Daniel Rogers block his line to the basket during action last month. Wauconda visits Grayslake Central on Friday night for a first-place battle in the Northern Lake County Conference. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted2/14/2020 1:00 AM

It's been a long time since Wauconda has claimed a conference championship in boys basketball.

And with a few weeks left in the regular season, the Bulldogs are still in the thick of the Northern Lake County Conference race with Grayslake Central and Round Lake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It was 1979 and we were in the Northwest Suburban Conference I believe," Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager said of the Bulldogs' last conference title.

Not that Luetschwager is making a big deal about it.

He says that his players know the history, but that he doesn't beat them over the head with it.

"This year, I've really taken a back seat with that," Luetschwager said. "In years past, I talked a lot about our history and putting ourselves in a position to make history.

"This year, I'm wanting them to live in the moment and not put any pressure on themselves with this whole idea about history. Is their goal to win conference? Yes. But it is also about being in the here and now."

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That approach seems to be working. The Bulldogs are 17-6 and 8-2 in the NLCC, tied with Grayslake Central for first place, while Round Lake is one game back. Wauconda visits Grayslake Central on Friday night.

Luetschwager says that sharing the basketball and the workload has been key. The Bulldogs average 16 assists a game, and different players lead the team in almost every statistical category.

"As much as we share the ball, everyone is equally happy for everyone to score," Luetschwager said. "And everyone is helping in all categories. We don't have just one guy. You can't just stop one player to stop us. We've got five to six guys on any given night who can score double-digits or make a difference in some aspect of the game."

QB mentality: When the going gets tough, Nick Bulgarelli gets going.

"That's when Nick is at his best," Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager said of the junior, who's been the varsity's starting quarterback the last two years. "He's got that quarterback mentality. When it gets tough, he doesn't get rattled."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Bulgarelli was key in Wauconda's win over Grayslake North last Friday.

"Our shots weren't falling and Nick found a way to calmly get to the rim instead of settling for outside shots, and that kind of helped everyone else," Luetschwager said. "As soon as it seems like others are starting to get down, Nick has this knack for making big plays in those moments."

Bulgarelli has had a knack for making big plays lately. He's increased his averages for points and rebounds over the last five games and is averaging 12 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

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