Gordon Tech Beats Mather in opening game 53-22

Maybe former Weber star Kevin Geredine can change the fortunes of Public League basketball on the North side. Geredine is currently the assistant basketball coach at Mather.

Foreman, Taft, Steinmetz, and Von Steuben have advanced to the city semifinals, but no team from this area has won the Public League championship since Roosevelt in 1952. In fact, the last time a team from the North side advanced to the championship game was Lake View in 1954.
Mather head varsity basketball coach Glen Heffernan resigned after posting 50 wins over the past two seasons.
Geredine is trying to help the Rangers recover from a 2-8 start.
Gordon(5-5) beat Mather(2-8) 53-22 on Wednesday night at the Luther North tournament. The Rangers struggled in the loss missing their first seven shots at the basket and finished the contest shooting only 7-of-42.
Geredine played at Weber while Gordon head coach Shay Boyle was on the sophomore squad for the Red Horde.
“He’s got a great basketball mind,” Boyle said of his former classmate. “He has great experience. He’s worked hard to get back into the game. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s one of my favorite high school players ever. He’s one of the most underrated players in state history when he was at Weber.”
“I’m just trying to get a little more experience,” admitted Geredine who currently works as a barber.
Boyle enjoyed the days when Weber faced Gordon in Catholic League play.
“There was nothing like a Weber-Gordon game on a Friday night,” said Boyle who played at Weber and was an assistant basketball coach at Loyola University after graduating from Notre Dame.
Mather has six underclassmen as the Rangers fell behind 23-3 after the opening quarter and trailed 44-8 at halftime.
“I wouldn’t say embarrassed(by the loss),” stated Geredine after the loss. “I would say it’s lack of experience(with our team). We have a group of guys that haven’t played high school basketball. They played in grammar school. We are still trying to find our identity.”
“We played a tremendous defensive first half,” Boyle said after the win.
The Rangers lost all five starters from a 25-win club so some rebuilding was expected.
Gordon is on the verge of playing for the championship at Luther North after beating Mather. Jerry Davis led the Rams with 11 points while Devanchey Bell added 10 points for Gordon who made 19-of-40 shots.
The Rams need a victory over Chicago Academy(8-3) to advance to the finals on Friday night against Taft(8-5) or Maine East(4-7).
“Tonight is a huge night,” said Boyle. “We always play well in tournaments. I think we are 10-3 all-time (at Luther North). We love playing in this gym. We are not looking forward to anything else but playing Chicago Academy.”
“I think they have a pretty good team,” Geredine said in appaising the Rams. “They are disciplined.”
Gordon won the Consolation title at Luther North last season.
“We have a young team,” Geredine said of the Rangers who have won the Luther North tournament the last two years. “I think the problem is they don’t trust each other. We play hard. We don’t trust each other-that’s the bottom line.”
The bottom line for the Rams is just find a way to beat Chicago Academy.

Catalyst finds neighborhood high schools losing neighborhood kids

Catalyst, in a report issued earlier this week, noted that neighborhood high schools have fewer and fewer students from within their attendance area.

“Five years ago, no high school enrolled fewer than 20 percent of the students in its attendance area,” Catalyst notes. However “the flight from neighborhood school is the result of the district’s orchestrated policy to give students more choices.”

The interactive map shows declines in neighborhood enrollment in every Ravenswood school, and also those serving parts of the neighborhood.

  • Mather currently enrolls 48 percent, down from 54 percent in 2006-7
  • Sullivan currently enrolls 29 percent, down from 39 percent in 2006-7
  • Senn currently enrolls 28 percent, down from 36 percent in 2006-7
  • Roosevelt currently enrolls 43 percent, down from 51 percent in 2006-7
  • Lake View currently enrolls 30 percent, down from 36 percent in 2006-7
  • Amundsen currently enrolls 39 percent, down from 46 percent in 2006-7


Simeon looks like the team to beat in 2012

The biggest question after the basketball season is how many titles will Simeon star Jabari Parker win in four years with the Wolverines.

Simeon (30-2) bounced from back-to-back losses to Young (20-11) and Benet (29-1) to win back-to-back state basketball championships.

Parker, who is only a sophomore, has emerged as one of the top players in the country. Parker raised his scoring average from nine points a game to 15 points per contest this past season. Parker scored 12 points as Simeon beat Warren (31-4) 48-39 for the Class 4A championship.

“He’s the best player in Illinois,” Simeon head coach Robert Smith said after winning the school’s fifth state title.

Speaking of legacy, Smith is building an impressive resume that could lead to a college coaching job. Smith, who played at Simeon under Bob Hambric, has now won four state titles in seven seasons while winning 197 games.

Simeon figures to be the preseason favorite next year with nine players including Parker returning for a run at a three-peat.

The best thing that Smith does is to get his team to play disciplined and under control on offense while playing solid team defense.

My choice for Player-of-the Year in the Chicago area is East Aurora guard Ryan Boatright, who will attend Connecticut. Boatright led the Tomcats to a 24-6 mark averaging 31 points per game before losing to Glenbard East (28-4) in the East Aurora sectional championship.

Glenbard East coach Scott Miller is my choice for Coach-of-the-Year. The Rams beat East Aurora in the sectional championship as Miller guided the school to a third place finish in Class 4A. Most high school teams don’t recover from emotional wins. Just ask Young and East Aurora who lost its next game after a huge upset.

Gordon’s Dave Andrews is a player to watch next season, but my choice for best player in our area is St. Benedict’s Krys Gago.

St. Ben's Gago, earlier this year against Crane. Photo credit: Jack Lydon

Gago is solid on and off the court with a 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of 22. Gago would score even with opposing teams knew he was going to shoot the basketball for the Bengals. Gago will play at the college level in 2012.

My choice for Coach-of-the-Year in this area is Mather’s Glen Heffernan. Heffernan brought new life into the Rangers’ basketball program the past two seasons.

Basketball in this area was down besides Mather as none of the neighborhood teams advanced past the first week of the state playoffs. Gordon and St. Benedict lost regional championship games while Mather lost to Simeon in the Public League quarterfinals before losing to Glenbrook North in the state playoffs.

Gordon appears to have the brightest future for next season with four starters returning including Andrews who was named All-Catholic League.

The game of the year in my mind was Bolingbrook’s(28-2) 50-49 overtime win over Public League champ Young in the Girls’ Class 4A semifinals. Not only was it the best game I saw this past season, but the state playoff game is one of the best I have ever seen in 33 years of covering hoops in Illinois.

My fab five from this past season are Boatright, Parker, Morgan Park’s Wayne Blackshear, Rock Island guard Chasson Randle, and Perspectives star Anthony Davis who will play at Kentucky.

Keep an eye next season on Mundelein’s Robert Knar who will be a junior.

Finally, I believe the Public League made a mistake giving up its automatic bid in all sports. The only sport that city teams do well in basketball. The Public League can compete in basketball so they only should have dropped the automatic bid for hoops.

It’s highly unlikely that city athletes in baseball, volleyball, softball, and soccer will advance downstate on a regular basis. City teams have had isolated success in a soccer, volleyball, and wrestling. In most cases, teams in those various sports don’t advance past the first week or first  game of the state playoffs.

In football, only one city team has advanced to the state championship game. Just a thought.


Simeon tops Mather in CPS quarterfinals

Simeon (23-0) shattered Mather’s basketball dreams with a 66-44 victory over the Rangers in the Public League quarterfinals at Chicago State last Sunday.

“I would have felt bad if we lost to a bad team, but they are a good team,” said Mather head coach Glen Heffernan after the loss.

“They still haven’t accomplished their goals (of winning city and state),” admitted Simeon head coach Robert Smith. “That’s the most important thing that we keep stressing we haven’t accomplished anything. You lose one game and everything you did up to that point doesn’t matter.”

Mather was hoping to be the first basketball team to beat top-ranked Simeon. The Rangers were hoping to make some history by becoming the first North Side school to win the Public League title since Roosevelt in 1952.

The Wolverines put on an impressive performance making 25-of-58 shots while limiting Mather (20-5) to 15-of-38 attempts while forcing 18 turnovers.
Sophomore sensation Jabari Parker led Simeon with 22 points while Ahman Fells came off the bench to score 11 points.

Ken Murphy led Mather with 14 points.

Simeon took advantage of their height outrebounding Mather 45-20. There aren’t many high school teams who have 10 players over 6-2 in height including six athletes who are over 6-4.

“They are just real big,” said Mather senior Kyle Gordon. “We’re short. We couldn’t get rebounds. We felt we had a better chance than 22 points.”

“I think they are a great team,” Ken Murphy said after the setback. “Jabari is a great player. He’s only a sophomore. He has time to develop. We wanted to make history for Mather.”

Simeon jumped out to a 15-5 lead and eventually built the margin to 34-20 at halftime before sealing a berth to the semifinals by scoring 10 unanwsered points in the third quarter.

“I thought they wasn’t a bad team,” said Smith who is hoping to guide the school to its sixth city title and fifth state basketball title. “Coach Heffernan does a good job. They were playing hard. They were playing competitive.”

Now, Mather will concentrate on preparing for the state playoffs, which begin in two weeks. The Rangers will play Elk Grove in the Class 4A regional at Glenbrook North on Monday night, Feb. 28.

“It was pretty disappointing,” stated Glen Heffernan, Jr who will be a senior next season. “We wanted to win. I can’t say we played our best. There are still other games in the season. We still have state playoffs.”

Speaking of impressive team efforts, Young (21-2) won its eighth city basketball title in the girls championship 76-41 over Morgan Park (23-4). The Dolphins made 12 three-point baskets in the victory at Chicago State.

Mather beats Lane, remains in chase for sectional title

The Lane Tech Indians (9-12,3-5) dropped their fourth straight section game to Mather 43-42 on Monday afternoon. The losses have meant a dramatic change in fortune for the boys team as they sink in conference play.
The Mather High School Rangers (16-4, 6-2) needed a win to keep pace with co-leaders Foreman and Lincoln Park who share the top spot in the Red North with one conference loss.
“I’m extremely pleased we won the game,” admitted Mather head coach Glen Heffernan. “We lost two games in conference to Foreman and Uplift. We’re one point away from being a three-way tie for first place. Somebody has to come in and finish second. I’m pleased with the season so far. I’m pleased with our players. I’m pleased we won today.”
“I don’t want to take anything away from Mather, they are an unbelievable team. We break everything down into four minute segments. We won more four minute segments than them tonight. We just have to put the ball in the hole a little bit more.”
Lane rallied from a 10-point deficit in the first quarter and a 13-point deficit in the second quarter.
This was an offensive struggle as Mather overcame 14-of-54 shooting by making 11 free throws in the final quarter.
Mather was led by guards Glen Heffernan and Brandon Roby who scored 11 points each in the victory at home where the Rangers were limited to only three three-point baskets.
Lane struggled at the foul line missing 11 free throws. Led by Eric Butler, who came off the bench to score 13 points, Dillan Torres added 12 points to Lane’s total.
“I give Lane credit,” said Heffernan who guided the Rangers to Blue North section championship last season. “They are not in the top two or three spots in the conference. Lane played very good. I don’t know if they brought their “A” game. I think our players took them for granted. They thought they might have an easy win and that’s why we had to win at the end of the game.”
Mather could never put Lane away and as a result took only a one-point lead into the final quarter.
Back-to-back baskets by Butler gave a Lane a 34-33 lead. Mather responded by holding the Indians without a basket until a three-pointer at the buzzer by Butler.
The Rangers sealed the win by making 6-of-10 free throws in the last 90 seconds while Lane missed four free throws in that span.
“We know that we are not quitters,” said Nick Logalbo. “We’ve learned that we w ill stay in and fight in every game. Free throws and finishing at the rim are the details we are not taking care of right now.”
How good is Mather? The Rangers will add two players for the city and state playoffs who were ineligible.
Last year, Simeon who won the Class 4A title beat Mather in the city playoffs 60-30. Loyola beat Mather 56-35 in the regional championship.
“I think it’s a good team,” said Mather assistant coach Manny Weincord who has been coaching in the Public League since 1964. “We’ll be a lot stronger at the end of the month with two add-ons. They are both excellent players. Both guys may be in the starting lineup and if not they will make the bench stronger. I think this team can do a pretty good job in the playoffs.”
Only one team from this area has ever won a regional and sectional and that was Von Steuben in 2003.
The last team from this area of the city to win the Public League championship was Roosevelt in 1952.
Mather is hoping to rewrite history in 2011.

Taft win over Lane, 45-33, complicates Red North

The race for the basketball section championship in Red North became a little more complicated as Taft (9-10, 4-2) beat Lane 45-33 last Friday. Lane won the first matchup against Taft in the Frank Lollino tournament.

The Eagles needed a win as defending champ Foreman stunned Mather and Lincoln Park beat Senn.

Foreman, Lincoln Park, and Mather have only one loss with two weeks left of conference play before the Public League’s postseason tournament.

Jon Doss led Taft with 16 points and center Kevin Siudut added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Eagles who made 14-of-16 free throws while Lane (9-9,3-2) missed 32 shots and nine free throws in the loss.

Lane was led by Mark Brand who had 11 points and ten rebounds.

“They are all must wins,” admitted Taft head coach Brett Nishibayashi who is now coaching his alma mater. “We put ourselves in that position. We don’t have the luxury of taking plays or taking quarters off. We need to win every game. Everybody is fighting for the title.”

“If we have could have made one field goal that would be great,” said Lane head coach Nick Logalbo who was frustrated with his team’s lack of offense and missed layups in this contest. “We couldn’t buy one basket. It’s hard to get momentum going when you can’t make layups.”

Lane had only four baskets in the first half, but Doss scored ten points to help give Taft a 21-15 lead.

The Eagles used their height advantage as they outrebounded Lane 42-27.

The third quarter was difficult for Lane. Lane held Taft to only basket, but the Indians failed to convert on offense as they scored only six points and trailed 27-21.

“Defensively, we’re a very good team,” said Logalbo who played in the Red North at Lane. “The fact we held them under 50 points speaks volumes about our defense.”

The biggest basket of this game might have been made by sophomore Doss. Josh gave his team a six point lead late in the fourth quarter to key a 10-1 burst on offense that sealed the victory.

Lane actually did a nice job of defending Doss on defense. Doss didn’t dominate and missed nine shots while making six free throws in this crucial game for both teams. Doss ran Taft’s offense and contributed with seven points.

“This game meant everything,” said Doss. “I think we played well. We came out tough. We’ve been thinking about this game since the beginning of the season. This is a big game for us. We knew we had to win. We executed pretty well on defense.”

“The younger Doss is a nice guard,” admitted Logalbo. “Doss has a nice game. A strong shooter. He’s going to be tough the next two years. He’s a nice player. He can shoot the basketball.”

Niles North beat Lane 58-34 in nonconference play last Saturday.

Lane’s road to a Red North title will be difficult with matchups against Lincoln Park, Foreman, Mather, and Von Steuben.

Gordon wins tourney consolation title; season turning around

Gordon (5-6) won the Consolation title at Luther North, defeating Guerin (3-10) 54-32 in what may have been the team’s best performance of the season.

The Rams win came after losing the first tournament match to Taft 62-46.

Gordon jumped out to a 30-16 lead at halftime and never looked back while making 20-of-41 shots.

“I’m real proud of the guys,” said Gordon head coach Shay Boyle. “We gave them that goal after losing the first game. We have to find a silver lining. I thought we could comeback. I thought (they) did a great job. They were focused.”

“We started off 1-5 and had a tough week of practice,” said Gordon point guard Brandon Johnson. “We wanted to come out and win these (last) three games. It takes a lot of courage to comeback and win these games.”

“We need to get wins right now,” admitted Gordon’s Dave Andrews. “It’s not going to be easy coming out of Christmas break. In the past, we have done well at the Luther North tournament. Getting these three wins is great.”

Catholic League play hasn’t been kind to the Rams who are 0-3. Things won’t get easier as Gordon has upcoming matchups against traditional powers Hales, De La Salle, St. Joseph, and a rematch at Loyola.

Andrews led Gordon with 21 points on seven three-pointers while Johnson ran the offense and scored 11 points.

Guerin struggled against Gordon’s defense making only 13-of-35 shots.

The Rams have now rebounded from a 1-5 start.

“We are playing as a team,” added Johnson. “We weren’t playing as a team. We have a lot of chemistry now. It’s going good right now.”

“This is a huge momentum builder for us,” admitted Andrews who is starting to draw attention from opposing defenses. “Now, we can see that we can beat teams.”

Boyle has inserted sophomore Sam Rarick into the starting lineup. Rarick has responded and had eight points and seven rebounds in the win over Guerin.

Mather(10-2) won the Luther North tournament with a 60-59 win over King(9-4) while Taft(7-6) took third place in this event by topping Jones 56-43.

The Rams will host Hales this Friday night at 7:30 pm.

Mather wins Luther holiday tourney, defeats King

The Luther North Wildcat mural brings a special sprit to the games at the Holiday Tournament.

Mather (10-2) won the Luther North tournament despite squandering a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter with a 60-59 win over King (9-4) Thursday.

The Jaguars rallied to take a 59-58 lead on two free throws by Justin Reynolds to give King a lead heading into the final moments of the game. Reynolds goals capped an incredible comeback as King outscored Mather 26-14 to take its only lead in the championship game on the school’s first visit ever to Luther North.

With 12 seconds remaining Ken Murphy drove to the basket on the next offensive possession and scored on a layup for a 60-59 win.

“I was just focused,” admitted Murphy on his game winning shot. “I knew I could have made (the shot). I just threw (the ball) up at the basket.”

King committed a turnover to end one of the most thrilling championship games ever at Luther North.

“Our guys kept their composure and kept attacking the basket,” said Mather head coach Glen Heffernan. Heffernan will try to guide to school to its first Red North title.

Murphy led Mather and all players on the court with 22 points while Reynolds came off the bench to lead King with 21 points.

The Rangers have now won back-to-back titles at Luther North.

“King is a good team,” Heffernan said. “I know they are probably going to win 20 games. My hat goes off to them it’s unfortunate somebody had to lose tonight.”

King advanced to the finals by winning two straight contests by one point over Lane and Taft. The Jaguars are now a college prep school under new coach Culumber Ball. Ball played his prep basketball in the Public League at Hirsch.

Taft (7-6) took third place at Luther North with a 56-43 win over Jones as guard Jon Doss scored 17 points.

Gordon (5-6) recovered from an opening round loss to Taft by capturing the consolation championship with a 54-32 win over Guerin (3-10).

Dave Andrews led the Rams with 21 points while Brandon Johnson added 11 points.

One question from basketball fans in this area of the city. No North side squad has won the Public League championship since Roosevelt in 1952. No team from this area has advanced to the title game since Lake View in 1954. When will the championship drought be broken?

Mather Invitational Track Meet

Fenger High School mens relay.

The start of the Mens Open Relay.

Lane Tech Track Coach

Lane Tech Girls pass the baton in the relay.

The big push for the fourth leg of the relay.

Students from 27 high schools and about 733 participants gathered at River Park Saturday, April 3 for the 10th Annual Mather Invitational track and field event.

Dale Devinney, Mather High School’s track and field coach said the event takes place on the first Saturday of April every year.

Lane Tech High School placed first in the women’s events and second in the men’s events. The event was open to the public. Hundreds of neighbors gathered along the edge of the field watching the competition on the windy but seasonally warm Saturday afternoon. Competitive events at the park were postponed till 12:30 PM as organizers waited for a rain front to pass through the area.

“Between boys and girls we had about 130 participants,” Lane Tech track coach Kris Roof said. Roof said he was pleased with the team’s showing and the level of participation on a holiday weekend.