Willowbrook ties school record for victories in a season Two wins this week will lock up the conference title By Chris Fox LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
Friday night’s West Suburban Gold Conference action unfolded nicely for the Willowbrook boys basketball team. The Warriors and Hinsdale South both entered Friday’s play with two conference losses. By the end of the night, Willowbrook had a simple path to sole possession of the conference championship. The Warriors defeated Morton 52-39 in Friday’s conference battle in Villa Park. Hinsdale South, meanwhile, lost 51-27 to Downers Grove South. Willowbrook improved its conference record to 8-2 with Friday’s victory. Hinsdale South, which has dealt the Warriors their only two losses of the season, dropped to 6-3 in the conference with Friday’s loss to Downers Grove South. If the Warriors can win their last two conference games—this week’s road contests at Leyden and Downers Grove South—they will win sole possession of the conference title. Friday’s win didn’t just help the Warriors in their bid for a West Suburban Gold Conference title. The victory gave Willowbrook an overall season record of 23-2. The 23 victories ties a program record for wins in a season. The 1969-70 Warriors also won 23 games. “The school record for wins wasn’t a primary thing,” said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins after Friday’s victory. “We had other goals. Catching the school record is a by-product of those goals.” Junior Ethan Schuemer scored a team-leading 16 points in Friday’s victory. Schuemer, who scored eight points in each half, made six of nine field-goal attempts and converted four of six shots from the foul line. “It feels great,” Schuemer said when asked about reaching the 23- win mark. At the beginning of the season, Schuemer said the Warriors were gunning for 25 wins. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but this is definitely a huge milestone for us. We feel we can get to that 25-win mark.” Like Perkins, Schuemer said reaching a certain number of wins was never the team’s primary objective. “I think the main goal is always the conference title,” he said. “When we were about 15-1, that’s when we really started shooting for the school record.” Senior Iman Reynolds added 12 points, all of which came during the first half. Reynolds caught fire in the second quarter, when he made four shots, including a pair of 3-point attempts. His 10-point output in the second period helped Willowbrook build a 28-15 halftime lead. Sophomore Matas Masys provided nine points, while junior Cornelius Paxton scored six points. Senior Freddie Clay, who made a key 3-point shot in the third quarter, finished the night with five points and a team-leading eight rebounds. The Mustangs reduced the Willowbrook lead to 32-26 with about two minutes left in the third quarter. Clay then made a 3-point shot to increase the Warriors’ lead to 35-26. Willowbrook held a 35-28 advantage at the end of the third quarter. The Warriors opened the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run that featured a steal and basket by junior Sikander Zafar and a 3-point shot from Masys. Morton then scored four straight points to cut the lead to 40- 32. Schuemer responded with two inside baskets in a span of less than 30 seconds to push the lead to 44-32. A layup by Masys and two straight baskets from Paxton helped the Warriors increase their lead to 50-34 with a little more than two minutes to play. The Warriors earned their 22nd win of the season on Feb. 7, when they hung on for a 61-57 victory over Marian Central Catholic in Villa Park. Schuemer piled up 19 points and 18 rebounds for Willowbrook, which held a 30-23 halftime lead. The Warriors held a 46-41 edge at the end of the third quarter. Masys, who made four shots from 3-point range, scored a team-leading 20 points. Masys scored five points—one 3-pointer and one 2-point basket—in each of the game’s four periods.
Rams close regular season with a pair of conference victories
By Chris Fox LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
Glenbard East’s girls basketball team closed out its regular season by winning a pair of Upstate Eight Valley Conference games last week. The victories over West Chicago and East Aurora gave the Rams an overall season record of 9-16 and a conference mark of 5-5. Glenbard East beat West Chicago 40-31 on Feb. 7 in Lombard. The Rams finished their regular season with another conference home victory— Friday’s 53-29 win over East Aurora. Junior Briana Raysby poured in 21 points in the victory over West Chicago. Raysby made three 3-point shots in the first half. She accounted for all seven of the team’s second-quarter points with two 3-pointers and one free throw. Raysby turned in a perfect performance from the free-throw line, making all 10 of her attempts. She converted six foul shots during the fourth quarter. Junior Mattie Pusateri supplied 12 points, eight of which came during the fourth quarter. Pusateri contributed a 3-point basket and a 2-point field goal in the final eight minutes. She also made three of four free-throw attempts. As a team, the Rams converted 16 of 21 foul shots. Glenbard East led West Chicago 20-17 at halftime, but the Wildcats held a 26-24 lead by the end of the third quarter. Raysby made a pair of free throws to tie the score at 26-26 with 7:29 to play. She added two more foul shots with 6:51 remaining to give the Rams a 28-26 lead. West Chicago scored four straight points to take a 30- 28 advantage, but Pusateri gave the Rams a 31- 30 lead when she netted a 3-point shot with 5:17 left in the game. Senior Christina Dolinski made an inside basket to push the Rams’ lead to 33-30 with under four minutes to play. A steal and breakaway basket from Pusateri increased the lead to 35-30 with 2:35 remaining. The Wildcats scored their last point of the game when they made a free throw at the 2:02 mark. Pusateri made three free throws in the final minute. Raysby made a pair of foul shots with 51.9 seconds left in the game. Glenbard East led East Aurora 20-15 at halftime of Friday’s regular-season finale. The Rams outscored the Tomcats 19-4 in the third quarter to take a 39-19 lead with eight minutes to play. Raysby scored 10 points during the third period. Dolinski scored 14 points in Friday’s win over East Aurora. Raysby finished with 12 points, while junior Faith Davies provided 10 points. The Rams will open the IHSA Class 4A post-season with this week’s regional quarterfinal game against Hoffman Estates at the Hoffman Estates Regional.
Reason to celebrate; Rams win two in a row Conference victories over West Chicago and Bartlett
By Chris Fox LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
The Glenbard East boys basketball team enjoyed its most successful week of the 2016-17 season last week by posting two Upstate Eight Valley Conference wins in Lombard. The Rams, who have struggled through a rough 2016-17 season, earned their first conference victory of the season on Feb. 7, when they beat West Chicago 60-55. Two nights later, the Rams edged Bartlett 44-43. The Feb. 9 win over Bartlett gave the Rams a conference mark of 2-6 and an overall record of 3-22. “Coming out of Christmas, we’ve been playing better,” said Glenbard East coach Scott Miller after the victory over Bartlett. “Our young guys are really getting better. Our defense, rebounding and shot selection are improving. The kids are having fun. I’m proud of them for sticking with it. It would have been easy to quit and give up. They haven’t done that.” Freshman Alijah Nelson drained five 3-point shots and scored a team-leading 22 points in the win over West Chicago. Nelson made a pair of 3-pointers in each of the first two quarters. He sank his fifth 3-point shot of the night in the fourth period. Junior Austin Esterly added 11 points in the win over the Wildcats, while sophomore Anthony Shockey contributed 10 points. Junior James Peterkin provided seven points. Senior Jimmy Fairbairn-Vargas scored all six of his points during the fourth quarter by making one field goal and connecting on four of six free-throw attempts. Glenbard East led West Chicago 15-13 after one quarter, 32-24 at halftime and 42-33 through three quarters. Peterkin provided half of the Rams’ offensive output by scoring 22 points in the Feb. 9 win over Bartlett. Fairbairn-Vargas scored 10 points, and sophomore Jeremy Johnson provided six points by making two 3-point shots during the fourth quarter. The Rams trailed Bartlett 10-5 after one period. The visiting Hawks held a 22-19 halftime lead, but the Rams grabbed a 32-31 edge by the end of the third period. Johnson hit a 3-pointer during the first minute of the fourth quarter to give the Rams a 35-31 lead. Peterkin provided a basket and a pair of free throws in the next two minutes to help Glenbard East maintain the lead. Johnson’s 3-point shot with about 4:40 to play gave the Rams a 42-38 lead. Bartlett then scored five straight points to take a 43-42 lead. Fairbairn-Vargas provided what turned out to be the game’s final points when he scored a basket with about 40 seconds to play. Bartlett missed an inside shot with under 10 seconds to play. The Hawks maintained possession after a held ball, but a strong defensive effort from the Rams helped to prevent Bartlett from scoring a go-ahead basket in the final seconds. “I feel comfortable being back; it’s a great feeling,” said Peterkin after the narrow win over Bartlett. Peterkin didn’t play his first game of the season until January. “We’ve just got to stay with the process and get better. It’s the little things that get us the wins.” Peterkin saluted his teammates, including those on the bench, after the Rams’ second straight win. “Our bench is amazing; we feed off their energy,” said Peterkin in describing Glenbard East’s enthusiastic reserve players, who were on their feet during most of the fourth quarter of the battle against the Hawks. Peterkin also noted the connection between his inside game and the team’s outside shooters. “If I’m hot on the inside, those guys are ready to shoot; we have a lot of good shooters on our team,” Peterkin said. “He was really a force today,” said Miller of Peterkin after the Feb. 9 win. “He makes people collapse on him. That helps open it up for the perimeter guys to start hitting shots.” The Rams will play a conference home game against West Aurora this Friday. They will complete their regular season with a Feb. 22 conference home game against East Aurora.
Eleven area wrestlers advance to individual state meet Jessen closes in on a state title, and a perfect season
By Chris Fox LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
Eleven wrestlers from area schools earned berths in the IHSA Class 3A individual state meet with their topfour finishes at the Downers Grove North Sectional. Seven Montini wrestlers will join two athletes from both Willowbrook and Glenbard East to compete in the state meet, which begins today at the State Farm Center in Champaign. The top four finishers in each weight class at the sectional secured state-meet berths. Willowbrook junior Jack Jessen maintained his perfect season record by winning three straight matches and claiming the title in the sectional’s 182-pound weight class. Jessen pinned Montini sophomore Pete Christensen in the first period of Saturday’s sectional final. Jessen improved his overall season record to 47-0 with his three sectional victories. As a freshman, Jessen claimed second place in the 170-pound division at the state meet. One year ago, he placed third in the 182-pound class in Champaign. “I’ve always wanted that high school championship, ever since I was a little kid,” said Jessen after winning the sectional title on Saturday. “Being so close and not getting there has definitely motivated me.” Jessen added that he feels comfortable wrestling in Champaign, and he won’t alter his game plan for any of his opponents. “I face the guy who they put in front of me,” he said. “It’s a matter of execution. I go out there and I wrestle the match the way I want to wrestle. I don’t let my opponent dictate the match.” Senior Dominic Ranieri of Willowbrook earned his first state-meet berth by battling to a third-place finish in the sectional’s 132-pound weight class. Ranieri lost his first sectional match on Friday. He then won four straight matches on Saturday, including a 3-2 decision in the third-place match. “It’s an honor to be moving on to state,” said Ranieri, who improved his season record to 41-11 with his sectional performance. “It’s so amazing to be able to do this.” Ranieri had not competed in a sectional until this season. He narrowly missed a sectional berth as a sophomore. He suffered an injury late last season and was unable to wrestle in the post-season. “I had nothing else to lose,” said Ranieri of his mindset after losing his opening match at the sectional. “I just came back and dominated.” Glenbard East seniors Scott Szabo and Brandon Raines qualified for the individual state meet by earning fourth-place finishes in their respective weight classes. Szabo placed fourth in the 138-pound level, while Raines finished fourth in the 285-pound division. Szabo will enter the state meet with an overall season record of 32-8, while Raines heads to Champaign with a 38-7 record. Four Montini wrestlers won sectional championships at Downers Grove North. The Broncos’ sectional winners included freshman Dylan Ragusin (106 pounds), junior Real Woods (126), freshman Fidel Mayora (132) and junior Will Lewan (145). Ragusin and Mayora will both head to the state meet with season records of 40-3. Woods finished the sectional with a 32-2 record, while Lewan improved to 36-2 with his sectional victory. Christensen advanced to the state meet with his second-place finish behind Jessen in the 182-pound division, while junior Joey Melendez (113) and sophomore Matt Ortiz (152) earned state-meet trips for the Broncos with third-place finishes at the sectional.
Rams turn in strong sectional performance Veronika Srey qualifies for the state meet
By Chris Fox LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
The Glenbard East girls gymnastics team produced its best score of the season in last week’s Glenbard North Sectional in Carol Stream. The Rams finished the Feb. 8 meet with a team score of 139.85. That output was slightly better than the team’s previous top score of 139.625, which came eight days earlier at the Lake Park Regional. That regional effort secured Glenbard East’s first sectional berth in the history of the school’s girls gymnastics program. Senior Veronika Srey, who produced the Rams’ best individual scores in three sectional events, qualified to compete in the IHSA state meet, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at Palatine High School. Srey qualified for the state meet’s all-around competition. She also earned state-meet berths in three individual events. Srey placed eighth in the all-around standings at the highly competitive Glenbard North Sectional, which included gymnasts from DeKalb, Glenbard West, Lake Park and Geneva. She earned scores of 9.275 in the vault, 9.325 on the uneven bars, 9.175 on the balance beam and 8.75 in floor exercises for her allaround total of 36.525. Srey finished 22nd in floor exercises, which was the Rams’ first event of the sectional. She proceeded to deliver her score of 9.275 on the vault, which tied for 10th place. She added her 9.325 on the uneven bars, which earned a tie for sixth place in the sectional. Srey completed the meet with her score of 9.175 on the balance beam, which was good for an eighth-place tie. Srey earned at-large berths to the state meet with her performances at the sectional. The top five finishers in each individual event and the all-around competition secured automatic berths into the state meet. The 12 best scorers from each individual event (and the all-around competition) among all contestants in the state’s four sectionals earned at-large berths to the state meet. Glenbard East freshman Kelsey Donovan placed 14th in the sectional’s all-around standings with her total of 35.075. Donovan earned a score of 9.05 for her routine in floor exercises, which was good for 13th place. Sophomore Sierra Olson provided the Rams with an 18th-place finish in the all-around standings. Olson’s total score of 34.25 included an 8.8 on the balance beam, as well as an 8.65 on the uneven bars. Glenbard East’s sectional lineup also included junior Krasimira Ganeva, junior Breanna Page, sophomore Sydney Nasternak and freshman Grace Tu. The quintet of Tu, Nasternak, Srey, Olson and Donovan completed the sectional with five strong performances on the balance beam. The Rams struggled on the beam at the Lake Park Regional, but they were much sharper in that event at the sectional, with no falls in any of the team’s five beam routines. When Donovan completed the Rams’ final performance on the beam, the entire Glenbard East team converged around her for a celebratory group hug. “We had a great sectional meet,” stated Glenbard East coach Jessica Bugajsky. “We hit five of five beam routines, which was a great improvement from the regional. We also did great on all of the other events.” DeKalb won the sectional title with a team score of 148.575. Glenbard West placed second with its total of 145.725, while Lake Park placed third with a 144.10. The Rams landed in fifth place with their overall total of 139.85. DeKalb earned an automatic berth to the team competition at the state meet, while Glenbard West and Lake Park both secured at-large berths. This year’s state meet will feature a total of nine teams—the four sectional champions plus five at-large qualifiers. Lake Park and Conant both earned at-large berths after posting identical sectional scores of 144.10.
Warriors narrowly miss a state-meet berth Jordan Tiberi qualifies as an individual
The Willowbrook girls bowling team needed a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s IHSA Oak Lawn Sectional to earn a spot in this week’s state meet in Rockford. The Warriors came up a few pins short in their state-meet bid, placing fifth in the 12- team sectional, which took place at Palos Lanes in Palos Hills. Willowbrook finished the sectional with a total score of 5,307, exactly 100 pins behind fourth-place Oak Lawn (5,407). Waubonsie Valley won the sectional title with a score of 6,212. Richards placed second with a team total of 5,949, while York secured third place with its total of 5,428. Senior Jordan Tiberi of Willowbrook qualified for the state meet as an individual with her six-game sectional total of 1,204. Tiberi opened the sectional with a 232 and added scores of 168, 229, 203, 202 and 170 to earn one of the sectional’s five at-large individual bids to the state meet. Tiberi finished 10th among all individuals at the sectional. Willowbrook sophomore Katie Pettinger turned in a 41st-place sectional score of 1,045. Junior Dana Sasenick placed right behind Pettinger with her six-game total of 1,044. Sophomore Holly Helsper rolled a sectional total of 1,021, while junior Betsy Soriano delivered a six-game score of 993.
Warriors finish the regular season at 8-19
The Willowbrook girls basketball team completed its regular season with a pair of losses last week. The Warriors dropped a 54-28 decision to Lyons Township on Feb. 8. One day later, Glenbard South defeated the Warriors 54-42 in Glen Ellyn. Willowbrook finished the regular season with an overall record of 8-19. The Warriors trailed Lyons Township 14-1 after one quarter and 30-13 at halftime. Sophomore Hanna Konrath scored a team-high 12 points for Willowbrook in the team’s season- ending crossover game against an opponent from the West Suburban Silver Conference. Konrath made three shots from 3-point range and scored 15 points in the loss to Glenbard South. Sophomore Maureen Schmid added seven points. Sophomore Katelyn McCann provided six points, while senior Jayla Smith and freshman Sara Fitzgibbon both scored five points. The Warriors led the Raiders 13-12 after one quarter, but Glenbard South overtook Willowbrook in the second period and seized a 31-22 lead by halftime. The Warriors will begin the IHSA Class 4A playoffs with this week’s game against Oak Lawn at the Oak Lawn Regional.