Basketball

High school boys basketball: 2019-20 preview capsules

Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage talks with the Gators between quarters against Lakes during their boys basketball game at Richmond-Burton High School on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 in Richmond.  Crystal Lake South won 63-43.
Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage talks with the Gators between quarters against Lakes during their boys basketball game at Richmond-Burton High School on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 in Richmond. Crystal Lake South won 63-43.

Fox Valley Conference

Burlington Central

Coach: Brett Porto (11th season).

Last year’s record: 26-9 overall, 10-2 Kishwaukee River Conference (champion).

Top returning players: Josh Hudgens, sr. (F, 6-6); Jake Lenschow, sr. (F, 6-5); Edward Wells, sr. (G, 5-8); Zac Schmidt, so. (G, 6-2); Carson Seyller, so. (G, 6-0); Gavin Sarvis, so. (G, 6-2).

Top new players: Nick Carpenter, so. (F, 6-2); Andrew Scharnowski, fr. (G, 6-2); Aidan De La Mar, jr. (G, 5-5); Steven Langtim, jr. (G, 5-9); Charles Freeman, jr. (G, 5-9); Trestan Wagner, so. (G, 5-7).

Worth noting: The Rockets graduated a big-time player in 6-4 guard Patrick Mayfield, but Porto has built a strong program at his alma mater. … Hudgens, Lenschow and Schmidt were regulars in the rotation last year and will take on expanded roles. … “We are working hard to get better every day,” Porto said. “We’re looking forward to being a competitive and hungry group.”

Cary-Grove

Coach: Adam McCloud (fourth season).

Last year’s record: 21-8 overall, 11-5 FVC (third place).

Top returning players: Beau Frericks, sr. (G, 6-1); Frank Jakubicek, sr., (F, 6-8); Clark Cunningham, sr. (G, 6-1); Ryan Weaver, jr. (G, 6-2); Drew Szydlo, sr. (F, 6-2); Dan Sowa, sr., (F, 6-2).

Top new players: Trevor Beaugureau, sr. (F, 6-3); Mikey Clarke, so. (G, 6-0).

Worth noting: C-G has high expectations after one of its winningest seasons with several key players returning. … Jakubicek signed with NCAA Division I Belmont; Frericks signed with D-II Lewis. Frericks averaged 19.4 points a game, Jakubicek averaged 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. … Cunningham, Weaver, Szydlo and Sowa all played in the rotation. … Beaugureau adds size inside and Clarke gives the Trojans more backcourt depth.

Crystal Lake Central

Coach: Joe Capalbo (first season).

Last year’s record: 20-12 overall, 12-4 FVC (tied for first).

Top returning players: Ryan Mendoza, sr. (G, 5-9); Blake Pokora, sr. (G, 6-0); Connor Bartesch, jr. (F, 6-2); Caleb Noennig, sr. (F, 6-1); Jahkari Anderson, sr. (G, 5-8).

Top new players: Reid Solberg, sr. (G, 5-9); Aidan Ellinger, sr. (G, 5-11), Luke Wagner, sr. (G, 5-10).

Worth noting: The Tigers shared the FVC title with Crystal Lake South, but graduated five starters from that team, led by 6-9 center Alex Timmerman, who now is at D-I Bucknell. … Mendoza and Pokora were in the rotation last year. … Central drops to Class 3A this season. … Capalbo played at Central and takes over for Rich Czeslawski, who stepped down after 13 years as the Tigers head coach. … “This group has come a long way since the summer and has a very high ceiling,” Capalbo said. “Their competitive nature is contagious at practice and they have been extremely fun to coach.”

Crystal Lake South

Coach: Matt LePage (eighth season).

Last year’s record: 23-8 overall, 12-4 FVC (tied for first).

Top returning players: Tyler Miller, sr. (G, 6-2); Damir Glamoc, sr. (F, 6-5); Casey Haskin, jr. (F, 6-6); Brock Jewson, jr. (G, 6-1); Tom Wolek, sr. (F, 6-4).

Top new players: Cooper LePage, fr. (G, 6-1); Will Stewart, jr. (G, 6-0); Isaiah Kirkeeng, so. (G, 6-4); Ryan Murtaugh, sr. (F, 6-6).

Worth noting: Miller and Haskin are returning starters, while Glamoc and Jewson played important roles as reserves. … Miller averaged 13.4 points a game and his 83 3-pointers were fifth among area players. … Cooper LePage, the coach’s son, should provide another outside scoring threat and will help run the offense. … South, which drops to Class 3A this season, notched its most wins since 1994, also the last time it won the FVC title. The Gators should be contenders again. … “We hope to have a very balanced team that has many different contributors each game,” Matt LePage said.

Dundee-Crown

Coach: Lance Huber (16th season).

Last year’s record: 18-10 overall, 9-7 FVC (tied for fourth).

Top returning players: Kyle Huber, sr., (G, 6-1); Justin Prusko, sr. (F, 6-6); Trayvon Hatcher, sr. (G, 5-8); Doug Miller, sr. (G, 6-1).

Top new players: Ryan Hodor, sr. (F, 6-4); Vinny Mercado, sr. (G, 5-8); Josh Harris, jr. (C, 6-4); Terrell Powell, jr. (F, 6-3).

Worth noting: The Chargers lost five starters from last year, with Jack Michalski (6-3), Brad Stec (6-5) and Josh Raby (6-5) leading the way. … D-C still has some size with 6-6 Justin Prusko, who is committed to NCAA Division I Southeast Missouri State for football. … Hatcher and Kyle Huber, the coach’s son, and Miller were in the rotation last year. … Hodor, Harris and Powell add some size for the Chargers. … “We’re excited about the group we have returning and look forward to seeing how they progress,” Lance Huber said.

Hampshire

Coach: Mike Featherly (first season).

Last year’s record: 15-17 overall, 9-7 FVC (tied for fourth).

Top returning players: Nick Erickson, sr. (F, 6-7); Collin Woods, sr. (G, 6-5); Jackson Milison, sr. (G-F, 6-3); Jeremy Rosa Jr., sr. (F, 6-5); Kenyan Davis, so. (G, 6-4); JT Parreno, jr. (G, 5-9); Charlie Le, sr. (F, 6-0).

Top new players: Zach Bailey, jr. (G, 6-1); Kevin DelaPaz, so. (G, 5-5); Chris Le, jr. (F, 6-0); Zakk Percival, jr. (G, 6-3).

Worth noting: Hampshire had one of its best recent seasons and again should be an FVC contender. … Woods is one of the area’s top players and a tough defender. … The Whip-Purs have good length with Erickson, Rosa, Davis, Milison, Woods and Davis. … Featherly coached the Whips girls team to the FVC title last season and takes over for Ben Whitehouse as boys coach. … “We have an experienced team returning that is expecting more,” said Featherly, whose Hampshire girls teams were 116-64 in six seasons.

Huntley

Coach: Will Benson (sixth season).

Last year’s record: 18-15 overall, 9-7 FVC (tied for fourth).

Top returning players: Uchenna Egekeze, sr. (G, 6-3); Ryan Sroka, sr. (G, 6-4); Ryan Crosby, sr. (G, 5-8); Hunter French, sr. (G, 6-0); Niko Mendoza, sr. (F, 6-1); Ryan Vrugt, sr. (G, 5-11).

Top new players: Luke DiFrancesca, sr. (F, 6-5); Ben Ahmer, so. (G, 6-0); Zach Fitzgerald, sr. (G-F, 6-2); Paul Kerber, jr. (F, 6-3).

Worth noting: The Red Raiders had their most successful season under Benson last year and hope to take another step this year, led by third-year varsity players Egekeze, Sroka and Crosby. … Egekeze (16.0 ppg., 7.8 rpg.) and Sroka (13.3, 5.1) will lead the offense. Both have shots at reaching 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds. … “We’re hoping to challenge for the conference title and make a run in the playoffs with 20-plus wins,” Benson said.

Jacobs

Coach: Jimmy Roberts (seventh season).

Last year’s record: 13-18 overall, 7-9 FVC (seventh place).

Top returning players: Jaden Henderson, sr., (G, 6-4); Andrew Balkcom, sr. (G, 6-1); James Hayes, jr. (G, 5-11); Zach Leahy, jr. (G, 6-0); Robert Pennel, jr. (G, 5-11); Max Stec, jr. (F, 6-2); Matt Lodi, jr. (F, 6-3).

Top new players: Jacobs had most of its best sophomores already on varsity last season.

Worth noting: Roberts is 131-51 in his six previous seasons at Jacobs. Last year was his first with a losing record with the Golden Eagles. … Henderson did a little bit of everything for the Eagles with a 13.4-point scoring average and 37 3s. … Jacobs will miss the sharpshooting of Matt McCoy, who hit 97 3s last season and is its biggest graduation loss. … “We return a good deal of experience and had five sophomores up on varsity,” Roberts said. “If we can find some leadership and toughness, we’ll have a chance in what will be a highly competitive Fox Valley Conference.”

McHenry

Coach: Chris Madson (third season).

Last year’s record: 2-28 overall, 2-14 FVC (eighth place).

Top returning players: Brett Loeding, sr. (G, 6-0); Carter Foat, sr. (G, 5-10), Matt Gallimore, jr. (G, 6-1); Adam Benton, jr. (G, 6-2); Kyle Kaempf, so. (G, 6-1).

Top new players: Nate Rosegay, jr. (F, 6-3).

Worth noting: The Warriors were hit hard by graduation last season and struggled to find wins on the court. They return several players who saw significant minutes last season. … “We are returning a young group of players that played important roles and minutes last season,” Madson said. “We will use valuable experience from last season to improve and compete at a high level against a tough schedule.”

Prairie Ridge

Coach: Ryan Smith (second season).

Last year’s record: 2-27 overall, 1-15 FVC (ninth place).

Top returning players: Ryan Fist, sr. (G, 6-2); Carter Evans, jr. (F, 6-4); Cam Gablenz, sr. (F, 6-2).

Top new players: Mason Loucks, so. (G, 5-7); Bennett Barr, jr. (G, 6-2); Connor Lydon, sr. (G, 6-0); Taidhgin Trost, jr. (F, 6-1); Luke Wolf, jr. (G, 5-10).

Worth noting: The Wolves will miss Evans for a while after he suffered a broken leg in the football playoffs. … Prairie Ridge plays in Class 3A this season. … Smith feels like the Wolves made progress late last season, even though it may not have shown in their record. … They will have several players get late starts because the football team is in the Class 6A state championship. Loucks, Lydon and Trost all play football. … “We have a great group of guys that work hard, compete and are invested in each other,” Smith said.

Kishwaukee River Conference

Harvard

Coach: Donnie Nolen (eighth season).

Last year’s record: 10-21 overall, 0-12 KRC (seventh place).

Top returning players: Damon Mueller, sr., (G, 6-1); Dylan Perkins, jr. (G, 5-11); Jacob Stanley, jr. (G, 5-9).

Top new players: Austin Kohley, jr. (G, 6-1); Nolan Frenk, jr. (F, 6-0); Trey Amaya, jr. (F, 6-2); Omar Garcia, jr. (G, 5-11).

Worth noting: The Hornets return three starters and have a strong junior group on their roster. … Harvard is the smallest Class 3A school in the state at 698 students. … Mueller scored 11.9 points a game last year and had a standout season for the Hornets’ 4-5 football team. He also hit 34 3s. … Harvard returns to Marengo’s E.C. Nichols Christmas Tournament.

Johnsburg

Coach: Mike Toussaint (ninth season).

Last year’s record: 20-14 overall, 9-3 KRC (second place).

Top returning players: Joe Comstock, sr. (C, 6-3); Josh Nortiano, jr. (G, 6-0); Stan Thill, sr. (G, 5-10).

Top new players: Dylan Schmidt, fr. (G, 6-2).

Worth noting: The Skyhawks lost four starters to graduation, led by the area’s all-time scoring leader Zach Toussaint (2,249 points). Toussaint, the coach’s nephew, was the two-time Northwest Herald Player of the Year and is playing at NCAA Division II West Texas A&M. … Comstock is the lone returning starter. Notriano was in the rotation last year and hit 22 3s. … Schmidt should help the Skyhawks right away as a freshman. … “We’re coming off of back-to-back regional titles and our seniors are hungry to keep that run going,” Toussaint said. … Johnsburg dips to Class 2A this season.

Marengo

Coach: Nate Wright (sixth season).

Last year’s record: 15-14 overall, 6-6 KRC (tied for fourth).

Top returning players: Matt Volkening, so. (G, 6-5); Brady Cannon, sr. (G, 6-1); Aiden Smith, sr. (G, 6-1); Finn Schirmer, sr. (F, 6-2); Jagger Ferden, sr. (F, 6-5).

Top new players: Michael Jennett, jr. (G, 5-11); Mitch Kunde, jr. (G, 5-11); Jonah Pace, jr. (F, 6-3).

Worth noting: Volkening led the Indians in scoring at 11 points a game and hit 37 3s as a freshman. … Smith led Marengo with 60 3s last season. … Jennett is slated to step in at point guard. … “We should be a deep team this year with a lot of competition in practice,” Wright said. “Hopefully that competition can help us build off some early successes. We are still young, with a few sophomores and a handful of juniors.” … Marengo is the largest Class 2A school at 696 students, falling from 3A.

Richmond-Burton

Coach: Brandon Creason (11th season).

Last year’s record: 14-15 overall, 7-5 KRC (third place).

Top returning players: Logan Hutson, sr. (F, 6-1); Tyler Anderson, sr. (F, 6-1); Payton May, sr. (G, 6-1); Dylan Schmidt, sr. (F, 6-1).

Top new players: Nick Legnaioli, jr. (G, 5-7); Jacob Barthel, jr. (F, 6-2); Blake Volkmar, jr. (F, 6-0); Luke Eckhardt, jr. (F, 6-6).

Worth noting: The Rockets will sorely miss guard Jeff Jankowski, who scored 23.2 points a game, second in the area to Toussaint’s 23.8 at Johnsburg. Jankowski graduated and is playing at McHenry County College. … Some of R-B’s top players are on the football team, which plays for the Class 4A state championship on Friday. Hutson, Anderson and Legnaioli are three of those players and three of the Rockets’ best athletes.

Woodstock

Coach: Al Baker (12th season).

Last year’s record: 10-19 overall, 4-8 KRC (sixth place).

Top returning players: Javier Garay-Vasquez, so. (G, 5-10); Nate Archambeau, jr. (G, 6-3); Ethan Patterson, sr. (F, 6-4); Nick Weber, sr. (C, 6-6).

Top new players: Jeremiah Betts-Moses, so. (G, 5-10); Ryan Steponaitis, so. (C, 6-7).

Worth noting: The Blue Streaks hit 275 3s last season, which ranks among the top 15 in state history. … Woodstock will lean on three sophomores a lot (Garay-Vasquez, Betts-Moses and Steponaitis). Garay-Vasquez played as a freshman and will be point guard; Betts-Moses is a transfer from Chicago Uplift. … The Streaks have some size with Steponaitis, Weber, Patterson and Archambeau.

Woodstock North

Coach: Dale Jandron (third season).

Last year’s record: 17-15 overall, 6-6 KRC (tied for fourth place).

Top returning players: Cole Brey, jr. (F, 6-0); Joe Chase, sr. (G, 5-10), Elijah Pena, sr. (G, 5-10).

Top new players: Austin Zieman, sr. (C, 6-1); Rex White, so. (G, 5-9); Javy Salas, sr. (C, 6-1); Ben Busse, jr. (F, 5-11).

Worth noting: The Thunder recorded the first winning season in school history and won the first regional title in boys basketball, the second in any sport. … Among graduation losses was guard Ryan Schaffter, who averaged 16.3 points a game and hit 85 3s (fourth in the area). Three other starters (Zach White, Carter Coalson and Matt Fallaw) also graduated. … Brey is the lone returning starter and averaged 9.5 points a game. … Chase and Pena were in the rotation last season. … “We want to win a conference title while trying to compete for a sectional title,” Jandron said.

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Marian Central

Coach: Charley Walsh (first season).

Last year’s record: 2-29 overall, 0-9 ESCC (10th place).

Top returning players: Jakub Baranski, sr. (G, 5-9); Ben Moscinski, sr. (G, 6-1); Austin Geils, sr. (F, 6-2); Jacob Shukis, sr. (F, 6-3); Brogan Pivnica, sr. (G, 6-2); Brad Truckenbrod, sr. (G, 6-0); Dan Stumpf, sr. (G, 5-11); Shane Gibson, sr. (C, 6-2).

Top new players: Ryan Saxleby, jr. (G, 5-11); Jake Giangreco, fr. (G, 6-1).

Worth noting: Walsh last coached high school in 1991 at Harvard, and now takes over for Curtis Price, who returned to focus on his duties as athletic director. Walsh has coached youth programs for several years. … The Hurricanes return most of their players from last season, led by point guard Jakub Baranski, who missed most of last season with a back injury. He was a starter and averaged 10.3 ppg. as a sophomore. … Moscinski teams with Baranski to give Marian a solid backcourt. … “Our biggest challenge will be to stay on task, no matter what the outcome is,” Walsh said. “Every day get better. Compete like your hair’s on fire, and have a blast.”

Northeastern Athletic Conference

Alden-Hebron

Coach: Tim Hovanec (first season).

Last year’s record: 11-14 overall.

Top returning players: Mikey Ellison, sr. (G, 6-1); Cody Kurcab, jr. (C, 6-3).

Top new players: Logan Bohl, sr., (G); Matt McCaskill, sr. (G); Tyler Cunningham, so. (F); Thomas Webber, so. (G).

Worth noting: The Giants were hit hard by graduation with Brad Judson (16.0) and Gideon Schauer (15.0) both gone now, along with two other starters. … Ellison hit 32 3s last season and is the leading returning scorer. … Hovanec takes over after Tim Lenckus had coached the Giants for two seasons. … “How well we achieve will depend on how well nine new players to the varsity level blend in and help offensively and defensively,” Hovanec said. “Our young, thin roster will have to learn how to compete.”

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