Glenbard West continues fast start
Glenbard West senior Aidan Murphy planted himself in the far corner waiting for an opportunity to launch another 3-pointer in Saturday's game against Lyons.
A few minutes earlier, Murphy, a 6-foot-6 Carnegie Mellon recruit, had just swished a corner 3-pointer.
Waving his arms in hopes of attracting a pass in his direction, Murphy never got an opportunity to shoot another 3-pointer after the ball squirted out of bounds.
But Murphy will certainly have his share of opportunities to shoot this year, especially with defenses gearing to slow down high-profile juniors Branden Huff and Caden Pierce.
In another dominating effort, Glenbard West cruised to a 57-29 victory over Lyons in LaGrange. Huff, in limited minutes, scored 17 points, Pierce tossed in 12 points and Murphy made two 3-pointers for 8 points.
Later, Huff scored 28 points, Pierce 11 and Paxton Warden 8 for Glenbard West (7-0) in a 55-47 win over Hinsdale South.
Murphy, a two-year starter, credited his teammates for finding him for open 3s in the blowout win.
"They distribute really well, just driving and kicking for that's our game," Murphy said. "We try and get it there, and I'll know they will get me the ball.
"My shooting started off slow this year, but I've been getting it going. It's all due to my teammates because they hit me with the passes right in my chest."
The 6-9 Huff, an elite recruit who could be among the main candidates for the state's Mr. Basketball next season, garners most of the attention from opposing teams. But Murphy's behind-the-scene role leading the team is a key factor in the Hilltoppers winning their first seven games.
Glenbard West coach Jason Opoka said Murphy, a team captain, kept the team focused and motivated throughout the long offseason.
"Aidan is a team player and has the ability to stretch the floor," Opoka said. "He's very strong when it relates to rebounding and defense. He holds a huge role within our team, and he's our leader. He's been the most positive kid in the program and his passion for the game of basketball is so high that everybody feeds off his energy."
Murphy served primarily as Glenbard West's sixth man last year, and shot 32% from 3-point range despite not being completely healthy.
Murphy credits his solid start in the first few weeks to adding nearly 20 pounds to his frame to raise his weight to "200 to 205" pounds, and he also has a 35-inch standing vertical. The additional strength showed in Saturday's game, with Murphy crashing the boards against the smaller Lions (5-1) and bulldozing his way for a fastbreak layup in the second half.
"We've all been hitting the weight room, and it has helped so much," Murphy said. "On defense, guys can't get past us when you are that much bigger. Now, I feel I can get more rebounds. I'm feeling stronger with shot fakes and on fast breaks I can just body guys, so it's been a big thing for me."
Lyons coach Tom Sloane said his team's slow start hampered any chance for a comeback against the talented Hilltoppers. Cade Nelson and Tavari Johnson both scored six points for the Lions.
"Glenbard West is really, really good and are big and physical and shot it well this game," Sloan said. "They are going to be tough to beat."