Athlete of the Week
Alex Timmerman, Crystal Lake Central, sr., C
Timmerman had 54 points and 27 rebounds in three games as the Tigers repeated as champions at Marengo’s E.C. Nichols Holiday Tournament. He scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds and hit 9-of-11 free throws in a 78-64 win over Harvest Christian in the quarterfinals.
Timmerman scored 16 and had eight rebounds in the Tigers’ 75-58 victory over Hampshire in the championship.
Northwest Herald Power Rankings
1. Crystal Lake Central (10-4): The Tigers have won nine consecutive games, repeated as champions at Marengo’s E.C. Nichols Holiday Tournament and are going to be hard to handle in the Fox Valley Conference race.
2. Cary-Grove (11-4): The Trojans won Jacobs’ Hinkle Holiday Classic and are off to one of their best starts in years. C-G had 19 wins in 2005, then won 18 each in 2006 and 2007, totals this group is on pace to top.
3. Crystal Lake South (11-5): The Gators are on pace to have coach Matt LePage’s best record in his seven seasons at the school. LePage’s 2015 team was 18-11.
4. Huntley (8-5): The Red Raiders lost to Hononegah, 57-53, in DeKalb’s Chuck Dayton Classic third-place game, but they could soon have the most wins in coach Will Benson’s five years at the school. His 2015 team was 12-18.
5. Hampshire (8-5): The Whip-Purs have lost two of their last nine games, both to Crystal Lake Central, the first of which was an overtime decision.
Harvard wins at A-H: Harvard went 4-0 to win the Alden-Hebron Christmas Tournament with more big contributions from senior Andrew Cooke, who had a game of 32 and another of 29 points.
The Hornets beat the host Giants, 51-39, to move to 9-5 for the season. Cooke, a 6-foot-2 forward, is averaging 16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He also has 23 3-pointers and is making 42.6 percent of his shots behind the arc.
In the last game against A-H, Cooke hit five 3s, four in the first half, as the Hornets led most of the way.
Getting better: Johnsburg did not make the championship bracket of the Hinkle Holiday Classic last week, but the Skyhawks could be considered one of the teams that gained the most out of the tournament.
Johnsburg, with the smallest enrollment of the schools in the tournament (628), finished 3-2 and won the consolation B championship over Grant. The Skyhawks also beat Jefferson in the consolation B semifinals. Jefferson was the only team in the tournament to beat champion Cary-Grove (in pool play).
Assistant coach Eric Toussaint said the Skyhawks look forward to playing at Jacobs every year because they play much better after that tournament. A few days before the tournament started, the Skyhawks struggled and put up only 28 points in a loss to Crystal Lake South. Apparently they fixed some things before and during the tournament.
First win: Prairie Ridge coach Ryan Smith has had a rough first season as far as wins and losses, but is enjoying his first varsity head coaching position. The Wolves (1-15) picked up their first win in the Hinkle Holiday Classic, beating Marian Central.
Smith, 26, is the third head coach in Prairie Ridge history. Steve Karlblom coached the first five years, then Corky Card coached the next 16. Smith took over a young team without much experience this year.
“I love it so far, it’s been awesome,” Smith said. “The kids work really hard, they listen. They’re fun to be around, practice is enjoyable every day and they’re learning. They ask questions. It’s a great group of kids.”
Smith coached the previous four seasons at Streamwood. He was hired as a math teacher and boys basketball coach last spring.
“I’m throwing a lot of different things at them,” Smith said. “We went back to man-to-man, we’re doing different stuff offensively, it’s a transition phase and the kids have been open to it. I think they understand. I think guys are excited to be learning new roles and learning to compete. You can see we’re close, there just has to be some consistency for us, but I’m really enjoying it so far.”
What to Watch
Cary-Grove at Hampshire, 7 p.m. Friday: The Trojans are coming off their championship at the Hinkle Holiday Classic, while Hampshire was runner-up at Marengo’s E.C. Nichols Holiday Tournament.
Crystal Lake South at Crystal Lake Central, 7 p.m. Friday: South has played well and can match up with Central’s size. The Tigers have won nine consecutive games.