Scheduling games becomes a challenge in this abbreviated season
Waubonsie Valley boys basketball coach Jason Mead encountered an unanticipated yet difficult opponent in late January -- scheduling games.
Scheduling games is often completed months in advance before the start of each season, but after the IHSA announced the restart of a condensed season in mid-January, several coaches were forced to scramble to find opponents.
Mead said he continues to have a hard time filling out a schedule for the five-week season, mainly due to the DuPage Valley Conference's size of six teams. His team is seeking a game this Friday and coming Monday.
"We've tried, but it's not easy," Mead said. "It's difficult for a lot of reasons. Our league is small compared to most (Class) 4A leagues around here. The DuKane has 15 conference games, which takes up most of their games.
"We have six teams with only 10 games. We've been trying to find people in a 30-mile radius to have a game on one of their off days but that's been very challenging. I've emailed probably 70 people to try and find a game."
The Warriors entered the season coming off a 27-win season, which marked the program's best run since a 28-2 record in 2001-02.
With Loyola recruit Ben Schwieger among the 12 seniors, the Warriors opened the season by defeating South Elgin and Naperville Central.
"We're a very senior-heavy team," Mead said. "They are a really good group. It's gratifying to have a season with them. They all want to be able to finish the next five weeks, so we're trying to stay apart on the sidelines and keeping our masks on."
Wheaton South hits ground running:
Wheaton Warrenville South boys basketball coach Mike Healy had no problems finding suitable opponents for the shortened season. In fact, Healy scheduled three games for the first three days, ending the segment against Benet on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Tigers wrapped up the weekend with some impressive results, beating Naperville North behind a solid efforts from Parker Brown and Tyler Fawcett.
Against St. Joseph, the Tigers slowed down highly regarded junior center Kyle Thomas, the son of former Indiana star Daryl Thomas, until a second-half injury forced him to leave the game. The Tigers ran out of gas in a 42-29 loss to Benet.
Overall, Healy said he was pleased with the small sample size he saw from his team. He said the Tigers plan on playing four Sunday conference games.
"It was a good weekend and with everything going on, it was great to get out there," he said. "With the JV games, we got all of our kids minutes. We couldn't asked for a better weekend. We played some really good teams. We were a bit tired after the weekend, but it was good to play those teams."
Healy said he wanted to schedule tough opponents to help the development of his team, plus the seeding of his team wouldn't be affected by any losses because of the lack of a state tournament this season.
"We were challenged in all three, but especially in this season, that's what you want because you are not playing for sectional seeds," he said.
Neuqua Valley senior guard John Poulakidas is happy to be back on the court after a long offseason filled with distractions. He spent the offseason refining his go-to moves and sorted through nearly 20 offers before committing to Yale on Sept. 20.
Through the on-and-off again basketball offseason, Poulakidas patiently waited for the start of the season to showcase his vast talents. He scored 26 points in a season-opening win over Timothy Christian on Saturday.
"It feels great to play again, especially now that the recruiting process is over and I can focus on the next four years of my life," Poulakidas said. "The recruiting process is very stressful. To get that over with and to focus on the season and try to win as many games as possible, there's nothing more I can ask for."