PREP HOOPS NOTES: Wayne passes “sectional scenario” test; Teams getting physical with North Side
What’s the best way to simulate sectional week? Well, play three good teams in a five-day span, of course.
That is what Wayne did last week, with coach Aaron Rehrer’s team going 3-0 in games Tuesday (vs. Norwell), Friday (Bishop Dwenger) and Saturday (South Bend Washington), the typical sectional week format.
“We told the guys that with the schedule we had, it fit a sectional where we had to win them all,” Rehrer said. “We were able to do that.”
It was by no means easy, as the Generals (7-4) had to beat three teams with a combined 22 victories. Friday’s conference game against Bishop Dwenger went to overtime before Wayne was able to pull it out. A bizarre stat emerged in the first half of that game as Rehrer’s team went 0-for-11 from the free throw line.
“We were only down five (at half) and we just couldn’t buy a basket,” said Rehrer about Friday’s game. “A lot of that is mental and the kids kept battling.”
The Generals heated up at the right time, shooting 19-of-25 from the field in the fourth quarter and overtime to earn the 71-67 victory.
Saturday saw Wayne shoot 28-of-33 from the free throw line in a road win at 10-win South Bend Washington.
The week continued the positive play from the Generals since a disappointing SAC Holiday Tournament.
“We preach toughness every day, and I am not sure how we didn’t have that in the holiday tournament,” Rehrer said.
Wayne is at Class A No. 1 Blackhawk on Tuesday.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
More and more teams are battling North Side’s talent with physicality, lots of it.
It isn’t sitting well with coach Shabaz Khaliq, particularly when it comes to knocking around junior Keion Brooks Jr.
Whereas last year defenders were more physical with Brooks when he had the ball, this year is seeing more off-ball contact.
“Teams are pushing, shoving and bumping him and sometimes it gets called and sometimes it does not, it’s baffling sometimes,” Khaliq said. “He is trying to adjust to it, but it is unfair for him to play through that. I don’t expect him to get calls because of who he is, I just expect it to be fair.”
Northrop appeared to take that approach in last Friday’s 74-48 Legends victory. The game was extremely physical, with emotions boiling over in the fourth quarter. While there was no contact between players, words were exchanged that led to four technicals — two on each team — including a pair on North senior Brandan Johnson, who will be forced to sit out Friday’s game against Homestead due to IHSAA rules on ejections.
“It was a real physical, chippy-type situation (last Friday),” Khaliq said. “We had a lot of players holding us, a lot of players pushing us.
“My approach has been that if a kid talks back to an official or uses profanity, that’s on the kid. But if it is in the environment of the game and things escalate over the course of the night, that’s the officials’ responsibility.”
Blackhawk Christian senior Drake Thompson is now the program’s all-time blocks leader. He was honored last week for his 122 career rejections, which surpassed the record formerly held by 1997 graduate Gabe Graham…Garrett’s Kenzie Castleman connected on her 129th made three-pointer of her career in last Thursday’s NECC Tournament win over Churubusco. She is now the program’s all-time leader in made three-pointers and is only a junior. Courtney Feagler held the old record…Leigha Brown dropped 37 points in last Friday’s loss to East Noble to became DeKalb girls basketball’s all-time leading scorer. The record was formerly held by Michelle Joseph, who graduated in 1988 with 1,633 points. Brown now has 1,662 career points…South Side senior Trejean Didier surpassed the 1,000-point mark in last Friday’s win over Concordia…Sylare Starks of Homestead also eclipsed 1,000 career points over the weekend. She is still just a junior.