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Boys Track: Wheaton North Soars To First At Dupage Valley Indoor Meet

Wheaton North head coach Don Helberg knew his boys track team was special, he just hoped his athletes would rise to the occasion at the Dupage Valley Conference indoor championship.

And boy did they ever. The Falcons soared past the competition, tallying 143 points to become conference champions.

“I knew that we were deep in all the events. We just challenged our guys to rise up to the occasion and we had personal records set almost across the boards,” said Helberg. “We wanted to do well, and we did even better than we expected.”

West Aurora finished second with 82 points, paced by their 200 relay team (Marquette Sanchez, Tony Oros, Parrish McGhee, Benny Prunty) which took first place and set a meet record (1.32:32).

“That was exciting. Those kids ran really well, they competed their butts off,” said West Aurora head coach Cortney Lamb. “Benny Prunty on that anchor leg was impressive. That was really neat to watch.”

Parrish McGhee was the Blackhawks’ workhorse, according to his head coach. McGhee ran in four different events, and placed in three of them—finishing third in the 200, sixth in the 55 dash and first as part of the 200 relay.

Lamb was pleased with his team’s second place finish, and believes it’s a sign of good things to come in the spring.

“We’re very happy with this finish tonight. It’s a great meet to build on going into the outdoor season,” said Lamb. “I think we’re going to see some special things from these kids outdoors”

Naperville Central finished fourth with 66 points while Naperville North finished sixth with 31 points.

Central captured first place in four events, including both the 400 and 800 relays. Sam Bransby captured first for the Redhawks in the 400, and was part of the first-place 400 relay. Mike Juretschke took first in the pole vault.

Jimmy Qiao placed in two events for North, finishing fifth in the 1600 and second as part of the 800 relay. In total, six Huskies placed in their events, with Nick Lyon posting the best finish (second place, pole vault).

Five Wheaton North athletes took first place in their events: Alex Ryan (800), Paul Steeno (1600), Marcus Charles (200), Christian Hollinger (shot put) and Zac Daniels (triple jump). The Falcons had two athletes finish in the top-six of six different individual events (3200 meter, 55 meter, 400 meter, shot put, pole vault and triple jump).

“I think we’re a well balanced team, and that made the difference,” said Helberg.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com. It appears here.

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Jeske, Despot Come Up Big As Glenbard South Wins On Senior Night

Matt Jeske led the Raiders with 24 points on senior night.

Glenbard South 67 Marmion Academy 61

Behind the senior duo of Matt Jeske and Dusko Despot, Glenbard South was able to secure victory on its senior night. Twelve seniors were honored before the Raiders’ 67-61 win over Marmion Academy in Glen Ellyn Friday night.

Jeske led the Raiders with 24 points, while Despot had 16 points and five rebounds.

“Winning on senior night was really important,” said Jeske. “After losing a couple of games on the road, we really needed to pick things up, especially with playoffs coming around the corner. It was a good performance, but hopefully we can peak at the right time and play well in the playoffs.”

The 6’5 Jeske made the most of his size advantage, attacking the paint all night.

“I was just thankful that my teammates found me inside, I got a lot of good post feeds,” said Jeske. “I just tried to keep on working, because I thought I had a mismatch inside. Once I started scoring, I just started feeling it. It was just one of those nights.”

The teams went back and forth in the first quarter, swapping leads six times. The scored was tied 17-17 after the first, but the Raiders went on an 8-0 run over the first two minutes of the second quarter to take a 25-17 lead. Glenbard South (12-11) held on to the lead for the rest of the game.

Marmion (13-12) went into halftime down 38-33, but the Cadets got within two points of the Raiders quickly in the third quarter. Jeff Garofalo converted an old-fashioned three-point play on the first possession of the second half, making the score 38-36.

However, the Raiders responded, going on another 8-0 run to extend their lead. Glenbard South led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter.

While Glenbard South head coach Wade Hardtke was happy to win on senior night, he was more pleased that his team was able to notch a win against a quality opponent.

“Senior night is always a big night for the kids, but right now this is a big win for us because that’s a great ball club we played,” said Hardtke. “Marmion is scrappy and they shoot the ball well, and that’s what makes tonight’s win a good win for us.”

Garofalo led the Cadets with 14 points, while Pete Stefanski added 13 points.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com

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Lisa Palmer Gets Double-Double As Bartlett Defeats Streamwood For Victory No. 26

Bartlett 54 Streamwood 37

Bartlett forward Lisa Palmer notched a double-double as the Hawks recorded their 26th victory of the season Thursday night, defeating Streamwood 54-37 in an Upstate Eight crossover game in Streamwood.

Palmer led Bartlett (26-1) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Haley Videckis scored 12 points while guard Kristin Conniff added 11 for the Hawks.

“They were focusing on getting someone on our perimeter players. I like the fact that we went inside,” said Bartlett head coach Denise Sarna. “When their inside player [Hannah McGlone] got into foul trouble, it was more inviting for us to take the ball to the hole, and I thought Lisa responded with a nice game.”

Bartlett led 14-4 after the first quarter, but the Hawks quickly lost their lead after a sloppy start to the second quarter.

Bartlett turned the ball over on six of their first seven second quarter possessions, and Streamwood (14-13) took advantage.

The Sabres went a 14-2 run, sparked by six points from guard Jessica Cerda, and Streamwood went ahead 18-16 midway through the quarter.

Bartlett responded with a 10-0 run to end the half, and the Hawks went into halftime with a 26-18 lead.

“We were a little uninspired at times tonight. Streamwood has some good players and they were ready to play,” said Sarna. “We lost that lead but we asked some kids to step it up and respond, and they did, especially on the defensive end.”

Palmer scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half as the Hawks took control of the game. Palmer’s lay-up midway through the fourth quarter gave Bartlett a 20 point lead.

“I thought we played well tonight,” said Streamwood head coach George Rosner. “We could have buried some shots, we had some great looks. They’re so big, they pose so many match-up problems for us. They’re going to find the inside people against us, and they did that. That’s why they’re 26-1.”

McGlone led the Sabres with 13 points, while Cerda tallied 11 points.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com

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Donahue Too Much For Huskies, Redhawks Win Eighth Straight

Naperville Central center Emma Donahue was too much to handle Saturday afternoon as the Redhawks extended their winning steak to eight games with a 46-43 victory over Naperville North.

The 6-foot-3 senior led Naperville Central with 21 points and was an aggressive presence in the paint on defense. The Redhawks (18-8, 12-1) racked up seven blocked shots.

“They didn’t have an answer for her. I wanted her to get 40,” said Naperville Central head coach Andy Nussbaum. “There were times we didn’t give her the ball I thought we should have, and there were times she got the ball, and I wanted her to shoot, and she didn’t. But 21 is pretty dang good.”

Both teams got off to a sluggish start. North (12-13, 4-9) led 6-5 after the first quarter, and the teams entered halftime tied 14-14.

Naperville North guard Shannon Bushman’s three-pointer gave the Huskies a 20-18 lead early in the third quarter.

The Redhawks responded with a 10-0 run sparked by three-pointers from guard Jill D’Amico and forward Jamie Cuny. Naperville Central pulled ahead 28-20 and never relinquished the lead.

“We did the things we needed to do to win. But I’m not all too sure that we handled our emotions very well in general. It was out of sorts a little bit,” said Nussbaum. “Certainly, we’re a better team than what we played today. But you know what, at this point of the season, a win is a win, so let’s move on.”

Bushman and Kayla Sharples each had 14 points to lead the Huskies.

Naperville Central enters their final regular season game at West Chicago on Thursday tied for first place in the DuPage Valley
Conference.

“We’re 12-1 and the 12th win wasn’t very pretty. We’re one game away from where we wanted to be at the end of the season,” said Nussbaum.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com.

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Keith Carter, Proviso East Too Much For Batavia

Proviso East guard Keith Carter drives to the hoop. Photo from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Proviso East 90 Batavia 44

Proviso East showed why they’re worthy of their No. 2 ranking with a wire-to-wire domination of Batavia Saturday night in Maywood.

The Pirates’ relentless, full-court pressure was too much for the Bulldogs. Batavia (4-9) turned the ball over 33 times as Proviso East (13-0) cruised to a 90-44 victory.

“We always hang our hats here at Proviso East on defense,” said Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce. “I think Keith Carter really sets the tone for us. Keith is a four-year varsity player, and I thought he did a good job tonight of really balancing our scoring and playing great defense.”

Carter led the Pirates with 24 points. Guards Paris Lee and Paris Burns both had 10 points, while guard Michael Nicholas added 15 off the bench.

“I thought in the first half we really set the tone with our guard play. Keith Carter, Paris Burns and Paris Lee, they really are the ones that get us going,” said Boyce. “We created our offense off our defense.”

Batavia had a 2-0 lead before the game even tipped off. Proviso’s Sterling Brown was called for a technical foul after he dunked during warm-ups, and Batavia’s Cole Gardner was awarded and made two free throws.

Gardner also made the game’s first basket, and the Bulldogs grabbed an early 4-0 lead. However, Proviso East responded quickly with a 28-1 run to take control of the game.

Proviso East expanded their lead with a 23-0 run to end the second quarter and headed into halftime with a 60-15 lead.

The Bulldogs had more turnovers in the first half (18) than points scored.

Cole Gardner led Batavia with 15 points.

Proviso East had ten players register points. Center Trashaun Carrol had 10 points off the bench, and Brown had 9 points.

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times and yourseason.com

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Glenbard West Takes First At Own Holiday Tourney; Hilltoppers Continue Best Start in School History

Glenbard West big man Michael Mache – Photo from Glen Ellyn Patch

Glenbard West 67 Wheaton Academy 48

Behind 25 points from senior forward Michael Mache, Glenbard West defeated Wheaton Academy 67-48 to capture first place at Glenbard West Holiday Classic.

With the victory the Hilltoppers (10-0) remained perfect and are off to their best start in school history.

“It’s a great start, but its just a great start to keep moving from,” said Mache. “We’re 10-0 and have two tournament championships but we’ve just got to keep moving along and take every day to get better and stronger.”

Wheaton Academy was able to keep the game close for three quarters. The Warriors trailed by five points at halftime, and by just three points entering the fourth quarter.

However, the Hilltoppers’ physical play in the post wore down the Warriors, and Glenbard West pulled
away with a dominant performance in the fourth quarter.

The Hilltoppers took control of the game with a 15-3 run to begin the final frame.

“I thought the key to the game was Glenbard West did a great job of playing discipline and getting the ball inside,” said Wheaton Academy coach Paul Ferguson. “That just wore us down in the second half.”

Michael Mache, 6’6”, lead the Hilltoppers with 25 points while Pat Mazza, 6’8”, added 11 points.

The Hilltoppers won the Glenbard West Holiday Classic for the first time since 2007. Wheaton Academy entered the tournament as the defending champion, having won in 2009 and 2010.

THIRD-PLACE GAME: Leyden 52 Timothy Christian 43

Led by Alex Herrera’s 15 points, Leyden defeated Timothy Christian 52-43 in overtime to capture third place at the Glenbard West Holiday Classic.

Leyden dominated the overtime period, scoring the first seven points of the extra frame.

Leyden’s Jonathan Woolf made a layup with a minute left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 39-39, and the game went to OT after the Eagles missed three layups in the final seconds of regulation

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Montini Rides Rhode To Victory Over Wheaton Academy

Montini cruised to victory under Friday night lights in Lombard.

Montini 54 Wheaton Academy 6

It’s hard to imagine a team getting off to a better start than Montini did Friday night. Quarterback John Rhode threw three touchdown passes in the first three minutes of the Broncos’ 54-6 victory over Wheaton Academy in Lombard.

Rhode finished the game completing 18 of his 25 pass attempts for 328 yards and seven touchdowns. Rhode has now thrown for more than 1,100 yards and 22 touchdowns in just over 10 quarters of play since coming back from a broken right thumb.

“With John back in the offense, everything has opened up a lot more. We’ve been executing, coaches have been making great calls, we’ve just been adapting to defenses,” said the Nebraska-bound Westerkamp. “John is an unbelievable kid. He’s got a great arm, he just fits this offense so well.”

Interceptions by Montini defensive back Joe Cione on back-to-back possessions led to touchdown passes of four and six yards by  Rhode on his first two pass attempts of the game.

Rhode threw a four yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp on Montini’s first offensive play of the game and the Broncos led 7-0 just 14 seconds after kickoff.

Rhode’s six yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Joe Borsellino gave Montini a 14-0 lead just a minute into the game.

Running back Dimitri Taylor took a shovel pass from Rhode and ran 41 yards into the end zone just two minutes later, and the Broncos led 21-0 with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.

“We can put points on the board in a hurry, so if the defense can get us the ball like that, we’re going to score,” said Montini Head Coach Chris Andriano. “It’s nice to see that we are able get those leads and get teams into our kind of game.”

Rhode threw touchdown passes to five different Bronco receivers. Westerkamp (7 catches, 105 yards) and Borsellino (5 catches, 74 yards) both had two touchdown grabs, while Mark Gorogianis, Anthony Taylor and Dimitri Taylor each had one.

“Our quarterback is the guy who makes it all work, but our receivers are really good. It’s a very special group of kids,” said Andriano.

Wheaton Academy (1-8, 0-5) quarterback Drew Decker threw a two yard pass to wide receiver Mark Lindsay early in the second quarter for the Warriors’ only touchdown of the game.

Montini, the two-time defending 5A state champion, enters the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the state. The Broncos have won five straight games and have outscored opponents 276 to 50 over that stretch.

“Everything seems to be rolling. We can’t wait to find out who we’re going to play in the first round. We’re really excited to get started,” said Westerkamp.

“Hopefully we can keep this up in the playoffs and win a state championship again.”

SCORING PLAYS

FIRST QUARTER

[11:46] MON John Rhode 4 yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp (PAT good) – 7-0 MON

[10:55] MON John Rhode 6 yard pass to Joe Borsellino (PAT good) – 14-0 MON

[9:03] MON John Rhode 41 yard pass to Dimitri Taylor (PAT good) – 21-0 MON

[6:54] MON John Rhode 21 yard pass to Joe Borsellino (PAT good) – 28-0 MON

[3:38] MON John Rhode 30 yard pass to Mark Gorogianis (PAT good) – 35-0 MON

[0:52] MON Andrew Harte 20 yard field goal – 38-0 MON

SECOND QUARTER

[7:56] WA Drew Decker 2 yard pass to Matt Lindsay (PAT blocked) – 38-6 MON

[6:21] MON John Rhode 14 yard pass to Anthony Taylor (PAT good) – 45-6 MON

[3:26] MON John Rhode 11 yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp (PAT good) – 52-6 MON

[1:05] MON Safety – 54-6 MON

PLAYER OF THE GAME:

John Rhode, QB, Montini: 18-25, 328 yards, 7 TDs

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