Saturday, February 22, 2014
Okay, okay, so I picked...
Not only did I miss Curie's historic 69-66 victory over Whitney Young in four overtimes, but I also didn't see Stevenson's 95-93 (not a misprint) win over Lake Forest in two overtimes. (In that second game, two juniors, Jalen Brunson of Stevenson and Evan Boudreaux of Lake Forest, scored 56 and 43 points, respectively. Both were career highs. Wow!)
Instead, I went out to Barrington, above, to see the undefeated Vikings of Fremd warm up for their conference championship game next Wednesday. The Palatine squad defeated the Broncos, 52-30, in a ho-hum game in which several of the Vikings' starters sat out much of the second half.
Why did I go? Good question. Well, you can read all about why I didn't go to the Curie - Whitney Young game here. As for the Stevenson - Lake Forest game, I actually considered it on my way out to Barrington. But I'd already seen the Patriots twice this year (against Zion-Benton and Marian Catholic) and didn't feel like seeing them beat the Scouts for a second time this season. (Although if I'd known how close it would be I certainly would have gone.)
Oh, well. There's always tonight's double-header at Niles West: Marian Catholic and Lake Forest at 6:30 followed by Stevenson and Simeon at 8:30. But it's kind of hard to believe that either one could be as good as last night's games.
So what takeaways, if any, did I get from the contest in Barrington?
Well, first of all, the Broncos are a young team. I counted only four seniors on the roster, including their high-scorer, Austin Madrzyk. Rapolas Ivanauskas, at 6'8", is the leading rebounder in the Mid-Suburban Conference and is only a sophomore. That's a name you'll want to remember for next year (even if you can't pronounce it).
As for the Vikings, well, I'm still not sure how good they really are. They're undefeated at 24-0, but who have they beaten? Well, let's see, there was Conant (21-5) twice by scores of 38-36 and 64-43; Naperville Central (18-6), 44-37, and St. Viator (19-5) by ten points, 77-67, both back in December; and Evanston (18-9) two weeks ago, 54-51. Those are all high-quality opponents and the last three games were on the road.
So who makes up this team? The high scorer, with 392 points, is Riley Glassmann, a 6'5" senior headed to Cornell next year. (He's also the second highest scorer in the conference.) The two other leaders in scoring and rebounds are a pair of 6'6" seniors, Ben Carlson and Matt Ochoa. At guard is the very aggressive Garrett Groot, a 5'9" senior (I wouldn't want him guarding me). And rounding out the starting lineup is another senior, 6'0" Jalon Roundy. As you can see, they have some decent height and they can score.
But how will Fremd do in the postseason? Assuming they get past Prospect (15-10) next week, the Vikings will enter the playoffs at 25-0. As I read the other day, undefeated teams don't always fare so well in the second season. Can Fremd compete with the other suburban powerhouses such as Stevenson, Lake Forest and Marian Catholic? We'll see. The Regionals begin a week from Monday.