Seventeenth in a series The Patch Hardwood Tour examines boys high school basketball on a weekly rotational basis, focusing on teams in a 12-town region. Its intent is to celebrate and inform about prep hoops; the best high school sport in the state. With this column, The Tour officially concludes for this season.
Excellence was abundant on The Patch Hardwood Tour during this past hoops season. From the gloriously outstanding campaigns of the Huntley Red Raiders and Crystal Lake Central Tigers to the late-season victories finally garnered by struggling squads from Prairie Ridge and Lake Zurich, effort earned rewards.
In that same spirit, this column wraps up the 2010-11 basketball season by acknowledging the teams and individuals who made following the 17 clubs on The Tour an enjoyable experience. I want to point out that selecting the top guards of this season was an especially difficult task. I could have easily acknowledged a dozen more back-court players.
Final Ranking of Top 10 Teams on the Hardwood Tour
1. Huntley Red Raiders (25-5) Won Sycamore Thanksgiving Tournament; captured Fox Valley Valley division championship; won Prairie Ridge 4A Regional Championship; and made it to 4A Jacobs Sectional championship game.
2. Crystal Lake Central Tigers (24-5) Won own Thanksgiving Tournament; Fox Valley Fox division champions; and were 3A Hampshire Regional champions. Top 3A team in Patch area.
3. Barrington Broncos (19-11) Co-champs of Mid-Suburban League West Division.
4. Fremd Vikings (19-10) Co-champs of Mid-Suburban League West Division; won own Regional title.
5. Buffalo Grove Bison (17-10)
6. Jacobs Golden Eagles (16-13)
7. Grayslake Central Rams (17-13) Won 3A Vernon Hills Regional championship.
8. Crystal Lake South Gators (15-12)
9. Grayslake North Knights (19-7) Established school record for wins in one season.
10. Stevenson Patriots (15-13)
The All-Patch Hardwood Tour Team
Guard – Zach Monaghan, 6-2 senior, Fremd Vikings
Guard – Nick Hofman, 6-3 senior, Jacobs Golden Eagles
Center – Sam Wacker, 6-7 junior, Buffalo Grove Bison
Forward – Mirko Grcic, 6-5 junior, Lake Zurich Bears
Forward – John Schneider, 6-7 junior, Barrington Broncos
Guard – Tyler Brunschon, 6-3 senior, Huntley Red Raiders
Guard – Jordan Taylor, 5-7 junior, Grayslake Central Rams
Center – Matt Gleixner, 6-7 senior, Crystal Lake Central Tigers
Forward – John Millin, 6-4 junior, Palatine Pirates
Forward – Dylan Neukirch, 6-3 senior, Huntley Red Raiders
Guard – Troy Miller, 5-11 junior, Huntley Red Raiders
Guard – Teddy Ludwick, 6-0 senior, Grayslake North Knights
Center – David Sparks, 6-6 senior, Grayslake North Knights
Forward – Jamel Kimbrough, 6-4 senior, Dundee-Crown
Chargers Forward – Jake Chrystal, 6-6 senior, Crystal Lake Central Tigers
Nick Prus, 6-4 senior guard, Buffalo Grove Bison
Nick Richter, 6-2 senior guard, Cary-Grove Trojans
Ryan Barth, 6-0 senior guard, Libertyville Wildcats
Kevin Rogers, 6-4 senior forward, Crystal Lake South Gators
Joe Pijanowski, 6-2 junior guard, Crystal Lake Central Tigers
Ellis Matthews, 6-3 junior guard, Libertyville Wildcats
Sean Valentine, 6-3 junior forward, Prairie Ridge Wolves
Chase Cane, 6-1 junior point guard, Crystal Lake Central Tigers
Michael Fleming, 6-0 junior guard, Stevenson Patriots
Thomas Durrett, 6-3 junior forward, Lake Forest Scouts
Greg Gerrard, 6-2 senior guard, Barrington Broncos
Mike Peterson, 6-3 senior guard, Jacobs Golden Eagles
Top 10 Individual Performances Witnessed on the Tour
1. AJ Fish, Grayslake North Knights sophomore guard, in a 59-56 home win versus Crystal Lake Central, Jan. 19: Led team to biggest win of year with 18 points, four assists and three steals, consistently making superb decisions from his point guard position.
2. Dylan Neukirch, Huntley Red Raiders senior forward in 52-49 overtime road win versus Jacobs on Feb. 8, that gave the Golden Eagles their first conference loss and vaulted the Raiders into first. The senior leader put up a game-high 21 points and was 7 for 8 from the free-throw line in overtime.
3. Nick Hofman, Jacobs Golden Eagles senior guard in 65-56 overtime home win versus Libertyville, Feb. 19: Poured in 26 points on 12 of 18 shooting on a variety of drives and outside shots.
4. Kevin Rogers, Crystal Lake South Gators senior forward in 66-46 home win over Prairie Ridge, Dec. 4, 2010. When Rogers was hot, he owned the land beyond the arc, and on this night he ripped the cords for seven 3-pointers, including six in succession in a 30-point performance.
5. Ellis Matthews, Libertyville Wildcats junior guard in 64-62 overtime home loss to Zion-Benton, Dec. 11, 2010. With team’s star Ryan Barth out with injury, Matthews stepped up big time, scoring 26 points, including nine in the fourth quarter to send the game to an extra session.
6. Thomas Durrett, Lake Forest Scouts junior guard/forward in 67-56 road loss to Zion-Benton, Feb. 9. Scored 24 points, including a trio of treys while going 7 for 7 from foul line.
7. Robbie Lemke, Crystal Lake South Gators senior forward in 61-58 overtime road loss to McHenry Warriors, March 2. Led his team in scoring with 13 while coming up with an amazing total of seven steals. Also blocked two shots and dealt out a pair of assists in season-ending Regional defeat.
8. Tyler Weathered, Barrington Broncos senior guard in 75-61 road win versus Fremd on Feb. 4. Knocked down three 3-pointers while scoring game-high 16 in crucial battle for first place in Mid-Suburban West.
9. Sam Wacker, Buffalo Grove Bison junior center in 60-48 home win versus Stevenson, Nov. 27, 2010. The visiting Patriots had no answer for the 6-foot-7 senior, who led his team with 19 points, including 11 in the first quarter that gave Buffalo Grove a comfortable 21-6 lead.
10. Jordan Taylor, Grayslake Central junior guard in 51-50 loss at Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament versus Barrington, Nov. 23, 2010. The diminutive point guard sizzled for 23 points, but the Rams were outscored 15-5 down the stretch and lost a tough one.
Scouting the Future
Here’s a ranking of the top sophomores and freshmen who contributed on the varsity level this past season. Talent is not lacking in the seasons to come.Stay tuned for next season.
1. Brad Zaumseil, 5-11 point guard, Barrington Broncos
2. Carter Bass, 6-2 guard, Lake Forest Scouts
3. AJ Fish, 6-2 point guard, Grayslake North Knights
4. Bryce Only, 6-1 guard, Huntley Red Raiders
5. Dylan Kissack, 6-2 forward, Dundee-Crown Chargers
6. Corban Murphy, 6-2 guard, Crystal Lake Central Tigers
7. Luke Potnik, 6-0 guard, Buffalo Grove Bison
8. Connor Conzelman, 6-1 forward, Jacobs Golden Eagles
9. Jake Dachman, 5-10 guard, Huntley Red Raiders
10. Alex Crowley, 6-6 center, Cary-Grove Trojans
1. Amanze Egekeze, 6-5 center, Huntley Red Raiders
2. Riley Glassman, 6-3 guard, Fremd Vikings