Warren, Vernon Hills off to good start to season
The Warren boys basketball team has proved it can take the heat.
The Blue Devils were 6-2 through their eight games, including opening North Suburban Conference action with a pair of close wins over Zion-Benton (59-54) and at Lake Zurich (42-39).
In the Zion game, Cooper Stacey led all scorers with 24 points, while Adam Panek had 14 points. Stacey leads Warren in scoring at 16 points per game, while Drew Dolan is at 13 points a contest.
"We want to keep playing team basketball and improve together," Blue Devils coach Jon Jasnoch said.
Vernon Hills update:
Also off to a strong start are the Cougars, who were 7-1 through their first eight contests, including a 1-1 mark in Central Suburban North action. Vernon Hills defeated Highland Park 46-42 in recent conference play.
Coach Matt McCarty noted the return of Erik Rimas has helped the team. He missed two games and a full week with the flu. "Erik has gotten back into basketball shape and has played really well for us the last two games," McCarty said.
Also assisting in the success narrative is Milan Raval. "Milan has continued to show he can score in multiple ways," McCarty noted. "He can knock down 3-pointers, and he is a really good finisher in traffic around the basket."
McCarty also has been a big fan of the Cougars' recent defensive exploits, holding Grayslake Central to 49 points in a 21-point triumph and then limiting Highland Park to 42. "I think if we continue to do that we can find a way to be in the game at the end," said McCarty, whose squad was holding opponents to an average of 44 points through the first eight games.
Grayslake North update:
Some quick Knights notes: Through the team's first nine games, freshman Jayden Hunt was shooting 35 percent from 3-point range and hadn't missed a free throw.
North received a recent jolt when Dominic Jankowski returned from an ankle injury and scored 18 points against crosstown foe Grayslake Central. Jankowski and Joe Valera lead the team in scoring at 14 points per game apiece.
The Eagles won their first two Northern Lake County Conference games, winning on the road at Grayslake North and Grant. Lakes also hit the nonconference trail and won at Waukegan.
Coach Chris Snyder liked the way Brock Marino and Ethan McGruder have stepped things up of late. McGruder had 25 points in Fox Lake, while Marino hit for 22 in the win over Grayslake North. "Both have taken turns as the leading scorer and done a great job of leading the team," Snyder pointed out.
Marino is averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds per game.
Wauconda joins the list of teams on the upswing thanks to a 6-1 start that included two conference-opening wins (one being a 62-30 doubling of Antioch). The Bulldogs also ran through a pair of Fox Valley Conference entrants in McHenry and Crystal Lake South by a combined 25 points.
Looking at December thus far, Griffin Daun is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.3 steals, while shooting, get this, 77.8 percent from the field -- 80 from 2 and 71.4 from 3.
For the year, Daun is shooting a lofty 73.2 percent from the floor while averaging 3.6 steals. Justin Drobnik is averaging 4.3 assists per game from the 2-guard position, while Garrison Carter was at 13 points, 7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game to start the week. Drobnik has added 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3.7 steals.
Coach Scott Luetschwager pointed out Wauconda has a 1.59 assist-to-turnover ratio, while averaging 18.9 assists against 12 turnovers per through the first seven games.
Grayslake Central update:
The Rams were also off to a 2-0 Northern Lake County start that included a 60-44 win over neighbor Grayslake North. Dennis Estepp had 19 points and 7 assists against North, while Brendan Whalen had 22 points and 8 rebounds. "Dennis and Brendan had big games," Central coach Brian Centella said.
Whalen was leading the team in scoring at 12 points per contest.
Kyle Glassman has been a key cog for the Sequoits thus far. He went for 16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals against Grant in a recent NLCC game.
Coach Sean Connor also praised the play of freshman Marshall Gehrke, who was averaging 13 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game to start the week.
Two names that have stood out for coach Wayne Bosworth's Bulldogs squad thus far have been Chad Kiesgen and Carter Kaye. Kiesgen was averaging a team-high 14.6 points to go with 5.9 rebounds, while Kay was averaging 11 points.