Defense keys Waubonsie Valley's 4-0 start
Waubonsie Valley is a team to watch this season.
After winning 27 games for consecutive seasons from 2018-2020, the Warriors are on track for another solid showing -- if the first four games are any indication. The Warriors (4-0), under second-year coach Andrew Schweitzer, took a big step in the first week of the season.
The Warriors, who finished 15-15 last season, beat Batavia in the Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic Championship game on Saturday. Six-foot-6 senior forward Jackson Langendorf was named MVP of the tourney, with Tre Blissett earning all-tourney honors.
The Warriors managed to take home the tourney title despite staring point guard Tyler Threat and key rotational player Braylon Spicer sitting out.
"Our defense has carried us and created a lot of easy offense," Schweitzer said. "It's year two in our defensive system, and our ball press keeps getting better. We're not there yet, but I like our trajectory. We also have a lot of players with experience, which helps our practices and ability to handle adversity.
"Jackson Langendorf and Tre Blissett have been huge for us ... Those guys should be on the radar of colleges. I don't understand why they aren't receiving more interest. Eric Chtilianov and Shoi Rathi have been big pieces for us, too. Tyreek Coleman, a sophomore playing his first year on varsity, has been incredible running the point. He has such a great feel for the game, and he makes all the right decisions. Junior Elijah Whitaker has provided us with a lot of scoring off the bench as well."
IC Catholic takes second:
By this point, IC Catholic coach T.J. Tyrrell is accustomed to the routine. Nearly every fall, the Knights' football team makes an extended run in the playoffs, which puts Tyrrell's rotation in flux due to the absence of several key contributors.
After the Knights won the Class 3A football state championship on Friday, Tyrell and the hoops team will soon welcome Andrew Hill back in the fold. The 6-foot-5 Hill is a key player for the basketball team.
"Andrew Hill has missed all of the season so far because of football, but he returns Tuesday and will give us a nice boost once he catches up," Tyrrell said. "He will make a positive impact."
Thus far, the Knights (2-2) have played well without one of their top players. They finished in second place in the Coal City Tournament, losing to Chicago Ag Science in the championship game. The Knights opened the season with a an overtime defeat to Peotone.
"After the tough first loss in overtime, the team rallied together to make it to the tournament championship," Tyrrell said. "Beating Beecher brought the guys closer together and gave us some confidence. Our rebounding drastically improved from the first game, as well as our ability to execute offensively."
Senior Dominik Ciegotura is handling a heavy load of the offense until Hill returns to full strength after a long football season. Ciegotura is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds against Beecher. Junior Matthew Karsten is playing a key role, tallying 17 points and 6 assists against Beecher. He's averaging 4 assists per game. Senior Dean O'Brien is averaging 2.3 steals and 2.5 deflections.
"One of the biggest surprises has been Matthew Karsten," Tyrrell said. "He was battling for a role in the rotation and he solidified it with his effort and performance. He led us in assists and contributed in the scoring column. But more importantly, he has been executing both offensively and defensively. He has been a bright surprise."
Metea Valley update:
Metea Valley opened up the season with a strong showing at the Wheaton Academy tournament. The Mustangs (3-1) closed out the tourney with an impressive 78-50 win over Bartlett in the third-place game.
"I thought we played well defensively all week," Metea Valley coach Isaiah Davis said. "I also love the energy the guys play with. Will Ashford has been playing really good this season. He has been really good defensively and has been really efficient scoring. The strength of our team is our depth. We have a deep rotation of players who are interchangeable."
Addison Trail update:
Addison Trail is another team to watch after winning the title in the Elmwood Park Thanksgiving Tournament. The Blazers (3-0) crushed the host Tigers 68-47 in the title game, as senior Joey Morales scored a game-high 23 points and sophomore Luke Smith added 22 points. Morales and Smith were both named to the all-tourney team, with Smith leading the way by averaging 25 points per game and Morales averaging 15 points.