FOX VALLEY CONFERENCE
Coach: Brett Porto (14th season).
Last year’s record: 31-4, 18-0 (FVC champion).
Key returning players: Drew Scharnowski, sr., F; Matt Lemon, sr., G; Nicholas Gouriotis, sr., F; Jake Johnson, so., F; Nolan Milas, sr. G; Mitch Pedrigi, sr., G; Mason Erickson, sr., F; Michael Person, jr., F; Caden West, so., G; Aidan Wilson, jr., F.
Key new players: Patrick Shell, so., F; Brady Gilroy, jr., G; Myles Lowe, jr., F; Quinton Erickson, sr., F; Jordan Moore, so., G; LJ Kerr, so., G; Lucas Lemon, jr., G.
Worth noting: The Rockets are 39-6 in their three seasons in the FVC and are two-time defending champions. They have won 27 consecutive FVC games, with their last loss coming against Huntley 61-43 on Feb. 28, 2020. … Scharnowski (6-foot-9) is a threat from all over and will play at NCAA Division I Belmont. He averaged 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds and is the lone returning starter from last year’s school-record-setting team. … The Rockets will be tough to match up with sizewise, not only with Scharnowski. Gouriotis (6-5), Johnson (6-5), Wilson (6-10) and Lowe (6-9) give them the tallest roster in the FVC. … Lemon, Miles and Johnson saw the most time off the bench for Central last season.
Coach: Adam McCloud (seventh season).
Last year’s record: 11-21, 5-13 FVC (seventh place).
Key returning players: Zach Bauer, sr., F; Jake Hornok, jr. G.
Key new players: Reece Ihenacho, jr., C; PJ Weaver, jr., G; Mitch Thompson, sr., G; Spike Boyd, so., G.
Worth noting: The Trojans have only Bauer and Hornok returning who saw significant minutes last season, but they are a good place to start. Bauer (6-6) is an inside presence and Hornok hit 20 3-pointers. … McCloud likes what C-G has in its junior class, although injuries will hold some players back until January. … “We’re looking forward to watching our young guys compete and become a very tough team in February,” McCloud said.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Joe Capalbo (fourth season).
Last year’s record: 3-28, 1-17 FVC (10th place).
Key returning players: Luke Spychala, sr., F; Joey Joswiak, sr., F; Jason Penza, jr., G; Jake Terlecki, jr., G.
Key new players: Danny Cubelic, sr., G; Drew Welder, jr., PG; guard; Connor Drayton, jr., F; Preston Mast, jr., G.
Worth noting: Capalbo feels the Tigers have a young core of players with a lot to prove this season. “We’re looking forward to competing in the Fox Valley Conference this season,” he said.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Matt LePage (11th season).
Last year’s record: 17-15, 11-7 (tied for fourth place).
Key returning players: Cooper LePage sr., G; Zach Peltz, sr., G; Cam Miller, sr., G; AJ Demirov, so., G; Brady Schroeder, sr., F; Josh Washington, sr., F.
Key new players: James Carlson, jr., G; CJ Regillio, jr., F.
Worth noting: The Gators return six of their top eight players from last season, led by All-Area first-team pick Cooper LePage. who averaged 12.1 points and hit 63 3s. … Isaiah Kirkeeng (6-5, 10.7 ppg.) and sharpshooting Arnav Jain (area-best 87 3s) will be missed after graduating, but South looks like it could be in the thick of the conference race. … “This group has good chemistry and I am looking forward to watching them compete in what should be a very balanced and competitive league,” Matt LePage said.
Coach: Lance Huber (20th season).
Last year: 20-10, 13-5 FVC (third place).
Key returning players: Tyler DiSilvio, sr., F; Nate Benton, sr., G; Anthony Aguilar, sr., F; Josh Valera, sr., G; Zach Randl, jr., G.
Key new players: Kali Freeman, jr., G; Jude Arsenaul, jr., F; Jack Sunstedt, jr., F; Kuba Senczyszyn, sr., F; Jared Russell, so., G; Terrion Spencer, so., G.
Worth noting: The Chargers were hit hard by graduation, especially with Kennon Cook (10.4 ppg., 9.5 rpg.) and Jason Huber (12.1 ppg., 60 3s). DiSilvio (6-7) and Randl (29 3s) are the two most experienced returning players. … “The boys have been working hard and we are hoping o get the right pieces in the right spots and continue to improve each day,” Lance Huber said.
Coach: Mike Featherly (fourth season)
Last season’s record: 15-16, 9-7 (tied for fourth).
Key returning players: Joey Costabile, sr. G; Gavin Khounnoraj, sr. G; Sam Ptak, sr. G/F; Jeffrey Cruickshank, jr. G/F; Nick Louis, jr. G; Daniel Luckett, jr. G; Ryan Regalado, jr. G
Key new players: Bailey Woods, sr. G; Keyshaun Davis, sr. G; Nathan Vonic, sr. F; Aman Adeshina, sr. F; Grayson Mull, jr. G; Elijah Dollete, jr. G; Luke Lacke, jr. F.
Worth noting: Featherly again wants the Whip-Purs’ defense to be their identity. It served them well last year as they had only one player, graduated Adam Ugochukwu (10.5) who averaged near double figures. … Ptak (6.4, 39 3s), Costabile (6.0, 31) and Louis (5.2, 27) were three of the next four high scorers behind Ugochukwu. … “We have a good mix of returning and new players,” Featherly said. “Practices have been incredibly competitive. We have been getting better every day.”
Coach: Will Benson (ninth season).
Last year’s record: 27-6, 15-3 (second plac).
Key returning players: Ian Ravagnie, sr., G; Noah Only, sr., G-F; Ty Goodrich, sr, G; Mark Roesner, sr., G.
Key new players: Omare Segurra, jr., G; Lucas Crosby, jr., G; Ethan Blackmore, jr., G; Carter Schaap, jr., F.
Worth noting: Huntley graduated guards Aiden Wieczorek (13.3 ppg., 69 3s) and Ben Ahmer (12.5, 85), along with forward Adam Guazzo (7.0 ppg., 10.1 rpg), whose 314 rebounds led the area and set Huntley’s school record. … Only started and Ravagnie was in the regular rotation last season. … Benson sees opportunities for a lot of new varsity players this season. “We are looking forward to seeing how that plays out,” Benson said. … Huntley hopes to get Bryce Walker (broken leg) back at some point after a football injury. Benson sees him as a potential big contributor.
Coach: Jimmy Roberts (10th season).
Last year’s record: 7-25, 5-13 (eighth place).
Key returning players: Jackson Martucci, sr., G; Brett Schlicker, sr., G; Ben Jurzak, so., G; Carter Roper, sr., G; Amari Owens, sr., F; Jack Bonkoski, sr., G.
Key new players: Treval Howard, jr., F; Emaan Thomas, so., PG.
Worth noting: Roberts is 164-97 in his 10 years at Jacobs and last year was his fewest wins. He has had only two losing seasons at the Golden Eagles coach. … Martucci is one of the area’s best outside shooters, having made 65 3s and hitting 91.4% on free throws. … Schlicker is the other returning starter and hit 32 3s. … A lot of returning players saw action last season and Roberts feels like his team should be strong at shooting.
Coach: Chris Madson (sixth season).
Last year’s record: 8-21, 3-15 (ninth place).
Key returning players: Marko Visnjevac, sr. G; Zack Maness, sr., G; Hayden Stone, sr., F.
Key new players: Caleb Jett, so., G; Conner McClean, so., F.
Worth noting: The Warriors will miss graduated forward Anthony Fowler, an All-Area second-teamer who averaged 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. … Madson likes the young players coming up who will be battling for playing time. … Maness (8.0 ppg., 34 3s) and Visnjevac (7.9, 42) are the best scoring options returning for McHenry.
Coach: Ryan Smith (fifth Season)
Last year’s record: 17-16, 8-8 (sixth place).
Key returning players: James Muse, sr., G.; Cade Collins, sr., F.; Sam Loeding, sr., G.; Kevin Fist, sr., G.
Key new players: Ben Gablenz, so., G.; Drake Tomasiewicz, jr., G.
Worth noting: Smith likes that the Wolves played for a regional title last season and have several key players back from that group. … Muse (6-3, 11.8 ppg., 8.1 rpg.) was third in area rebounding. Collins also was a solid contributor. … The Wolves will miss graduated Mason Loucks (49 3s) and Jackson Otto (35), their top outside threats. … “We have lost some senior leadership since last season but it has been nice to see a few guys step up and fill those roles,” Smith said. “I believe we have the potential to see this group be successful in the postseason. We will look to build off our conference record from last year.”
KISHWAUKEE RIVER CONFERENCE
Coach: Dan Krauser (third season).
Last year’s record: 6-24, 0-10 (sixth place).
Key returning players: Myles Brincks, sr., G; Ricky Bennett, sr., F; Jovon Ratcliff, sr., F; Connor Pederson, sr., G; Johnathan Brummett, sr., G.
Key new players: Adam Cooke, so., F; Ryan Bennett, so., G.
Worth noting: The Hornets are a senior-dominated team with All-KRC pick Brincks and Ricky Bennett leading the way. … Krauser likes what Harvard got from Ratcliff, Pederson and Brummett later in the season. … Krauser hopes the Hornets can say healthier than last season, when they dealt with a lot of injuries.
Johnsburg’s Dylan Schmidt (3) goes for the ball last season against Marengo’s Exzavier Meyer (1).
Coach: Mike Toussaint (12th season).
Last year’s record: 14-15, 7-3 (second place).
Key returning players: Dylan Schmidt, sr., G; Jacob Welch, sr., F; Ian Boal, sr., G; Jake Metze, sr., G; Ben Person, jr., G; Gavin Groves, sr., G.
Key new players: Kyle Patterson, jr., G; JT Schmitt, so., G.
Worth noting: Johnsburg is loaded with experience, with mostly the same starting lineup (Schmidt, Metze, Welch and Boal) it has had for the last two seasons. … Schmidt (6-3, 18.0 ppg., 7.9 rpg., 73 3s) was third in scoring in the area, fourth in 3s and made All-Area second team. Schmidt starts the season with 947 career points. … Welch averaged 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds, Boal averaged 6.7 points and hit 36 3s. … Toussaint said Person will step into a starting role and feels as if he can do big things. … Johnsburg has the experience and talent to challenge for the KRC championship.
Coach: Adam Webb (first season).
Last year’s record: 15-15, 6-4 (tied for third place).
Key returning players: Riley Wiess, sr., G; Patrick Signore, sr., G.
Key new players: Andrew Johnson, so., F; Michael Kirchoff, so., F; Quinn Lechner, so., G.
Worth noting: Marengo will miss 6-6 guard Matthew Volkening, who finished his brilliant four-year varsity career as one of three local players to reach 2,000 points. He is playing at NCAA Division III New York University. … Weiss and Signore are seniors who will be relied upon as leaders. … Webb takes over for Nate Wright, who left Marengo for an administrative position in Sycamore, after coaching for eight seasons. … “There is a lot of excitement at school and in the community surrounding our program,” Webb said. “We’ll be young and inexperienced, but our group can make up for the lack of experience by approaching each practice session and every game with the same goal – play as hard as you possibly can.”
Coach: Brandon Creason (14th season).
Last year’s record: 13-17, 6-4 (tied for third place).
Key returning players: Joe Miller, sr., F; Deegan Cooley, jr., G; Maddox Meyer, jr., G; Luke Bresnahan, jr., F.
Key new players: Ryan Saranzak, jr., G; JT Groh, jr., G-F; Aiden Wicinski, jr., G; Tanner Thompson, jr., F; Mason Kulidge, jr., G; Jeff Barthel, jr., G; Max Loveall, jr., F; Luke Robinson, fr., F; Ryan Wisniewski, so., F.
Worth noting: R-B is extremely young, with Miller as the only senior on the team. It will lean heavily on its juniors, many of whom are moving up to varsity. … Meyer hit 20 3s last season. … The Rockets, as usual, will rely on their ball press defense to disrupt opponents and help create offensive opportunities.
Coach: Ryan Starnes (first season).
Last year’s record: 9-20, 2-8 (fifth place).
Key returning players: Spencer Cullum, jr., F; Aidan Sivore, sr., G; Hayden Haak, sr., G; Kaden Perkins. sr., G; Jackson Lyons, sr., F; Dylan Stone, sr., F.
Key new players: Keaton Perkins, jr., F; Trent Butler, jr., F; Sam Chapman, jr., G; Charlie Gilmore, jr., G.
Worth noting: Cullum, a 6-5 forward, led the Blue Streaks at 13.5 ppg. last season and averaged 6.6 rebounds. “He is a tough matchup with his ability to score at all three levels,” Starnes said. … Starnes takes over after Al Baker, who now is Woodstock’s athletic director, coached for 14 seasons. Starnes was a long-time assistant at Huntley with coach Will Benson. … “Emphasis will be put on physical and disciplined defensive principles that will keep the Streaks competitive in most games,” Starnes said. “The goal will be to improve every day, so they are playing their best basketball at the end of the season.”
Coach: Dale Jandron (sixth season).
Last season’s record: 17-15, 9-1 (KRC champion).
Key returning players: Gabe Filetti, sr., G-F; Javion Rodriguez, sr., G; Cesar Ortiz, sr., G-F; Isaac Salas, sr., G; Jay Zinnen, sr., F; Nii Amoo, sr., F-C; JD Czischki, sr., G.
Key new players: David Falade, sr., C; Tyler Ward, jr., F-C; Justin Chase, sr., G; Brad Schwartz, sr., G-F; Cade Blaksley, jr., G; Andy Svitak, sr., G.
Worth noting: North has become one of the KRC’s top programs with four consecutive winning seasons. Jandron is 68-65 in his five seasons as coach and took the Thunder to a conference title for the first time last season. … “We want to win the conference back-to-back,” Jandron said. “They also have the all-time wins record (19-13 in 2020) that they are shooting for.” … PG Rex White, an All-Area first-teamer who graduated, is a big loss. White did a little bit of everything. … Filetti, Rodriguez, Ortiz, Salas and Zinnen got a lot of playing time, so there is varsity game experience there.
Coach: Charley Walsh (fourth season).
Last season’s record: 12-20, 1-9 East Suburban Catholic Conference.
Key returning players: Christian Bentancur, jr., F; Cale McThenia, jr., F; Jake Giangreco, sr., G; Luca Raso, sr., G; Mike Jablonski, sr., F; Phil Hanlon, sr., C; Braedon Todd, jr., G.
Key new players: Sean Truckenbrod, jr., G; Jackson Jakubowicz, sr., G; Dominic Aragona, sr., G.
Worth noting: Marian has a lot to look forward to this season with its top three players returning and an independent schedule. The Hurricanes struggled in the mighty East Suburban Catholic Conference. … Bentancur (6-5, 18.9 ppg., 6.1 rpg.) is a force inside and led the ESCC in scoring last season. He has 845 career points to start the season. … McThenia (6-3) averaged 11.7 points a game and hit 46 3s. Giangreco is a fourth-year varsity player who averaged 8.1 points and 5.0 assists a game, and hit 34 3s. … “Hopefully we can find a few returning, or new players, to complement our solid, veteran core,” Walsh said. “I am anxious to see this group progress as the season wears on.”
NORTHEASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Coach: Rick Peterson (second season).
Last year’s record: 8-18, 1-6.
Key returning players: Justin Gritmacker, sr., G; Jake Nielsen, sr., C; Parker Elswick, sr., G; Nolan Vanderstappen, jr., F; Ben Vole, jr., G; Jared Cunningham, jr., F.
Key new players: Fabian Carreno, fr., F.
Worth noting: Last season’s win total was the Giants’ highest since 2017, and several of the losses were by less than 10 points, which Peterson considers positive steps. … “Confidence is key,” Peterson said. “We talk about it every day. We had quite a few close games last year, our goal this year is to win these close games, instead of playing not to lose. If we stay healthy I’m really looking forward to us taking that next step.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle