Athlete of the Week
Jeff Jankowski, Richmond-Burton, sr., F
Jankowski scored a career-high 38 points on Friday to lead the Rockets past Woodstock, 61-49, in their Kishwaukee River Conference game.
Jankowski scored 19 points in each half. He dumped in 15 points in the fourth quarter to help R-B secure the victory. He finished with two 3-pointers and hit 8-of-8 free throws.
Northwest Herald Power Rankings
1. Crystal Lake Central (11-5): The Tigers suffered a horrible shooting night and fell to Dundee-Crown, 39-32, to end their 10-game winning streak. But their body of work is strong enough, along with other teams' losses, to maintain the top spot.
2. Dundee-Crown (13-3): The Chargers were just outside the top five last week, but leap up to No. 2 after their upset of Central. “We’re just finding a way right now,” D-C coach Lance Huber said. D-C has won five in a row.
3. Crystal Lake South (12-6): The Gators are the last FVC team to beat D-C, a 19-point win before Christmas. They lost to Central on Friday, then beat McHenry on Wednesday.
4. Cary-Grove (12-6): The Trojans fell at Hampshire on Friday when the Whip-Purs blistered the nets at 68 percent in the first half and hit 11 3-pointers. Guard Beau Frericks is scoring at a torrid pace.
5. Huntley (10-5): The Red Raiders get the nod for the last spot by virtue of their 67-53 victory over Hampshire on Wednesday. They have won five of their last seven games and are tied for second in the FVC with D-C and Hampshire.
Crowded at the top: Friday will mark the halfway point of the Fox Valley Conference schedule for most teams and there currently are six teams within 1 1/2 games of the top spot, held by Crystal Lake Central at 5-1.
Dundee-Crown, Hamphsire and Huntley (all 5-2) are one-half game back, while Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake South (both 4-3) are 1 1/2 games back.
Although Central had played consistently well, Tigers coach Rich Czeslawski never expected his team to run the table in the FVC.
“No one’s going to, that’s not going to happen in this league this year,” Czeslawski said after Wednesday’s 39-32 loss to D-C. “You can’t have an off night. We showed that.”
Impressive wins: Central won Marengo’s E.C. Nichols Holiday Tournament and C-G won Jacobs’ Hinkle Holiday Classic, and D-C is the only local team with wins against both. Coach Lance Huber feels frontcourt players Josh Raby, Jack Michalski and Brad Stec have led the team.
“They’ve put us on their backs and are taking us along for the ride,” Huber said. “We have guys who really compete. Michalski, Raby and Stec just really compete. We’re kind of grinding and trying to fine a way.”
D-C should get a lift when guard Jordan Hairston returns to the lineup. Hairston has missed a few games for what Huber termed “a coach’s decision.” He said Hairston is working on some things and could not pinpoint a definite time when he would return, but said it probably will not be this week or next week.
Hairston, a 6-1 guard, can provide another strong scoring threat as well as a tough defender when he returns. Hairston played a vital role on last year’s Class 4A regional championship team and was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable-mention selection last season.
Whip it good: Hampshire just slipped out of the top five in this week's power rankings, but the Whip-Purs should make it back at some point. They have more than doubled last season’s win total and beat C-G and South, and lost to Central in overtime.
“Last year we were the team that everybody came in and beat,” forward Justin Anderson said. “We’re trying to show everybody in the area we deserve a bye when it comes to regionals. We want a bye.”
Anderson was referring to the play-in games that the higher-seeded teams usually avoid in the regionals. They have a good chance of attaining that goal.
Happy 10th anniversary: D-C will celebrate its 2009 team, which finished fourth in the Class 4A State Tournament, at next Friday’s home game against Prairie Ridge.
The Chargers are the only FVC team that has played in the state tournament in the larger classes. Johnsburg played in the 2003 Class AA State Tournament, but the Skyhawks were in the Big Northern Conference at that time.
Most of the players from the 2009 team are expected to attend the game. The players will be recognized at halftime. Huber, who also coached the 2009 team, said forward Aaron Reams will not be there as he is in Europe.
What to Watch
Hampshire at Dundee-Crown, 7 p.m. Friday: The two teams are tied for second place with Huntley, one-half game behind Crystal Lake Central.
Burlington Central Martin Luther King Classic: Johnsburg and McHenry are the two local teams playing at the tournament, which will be played on Wednesday, Saturday and will finish on Monday, the holiday for Dr. King’s birthay.