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Wheaton Academy

Prep Boys Basketball Insider: Geneva’s Ralston embraces inner ‘geek’

Geneva’s Jason D’Amico (center) grabs a rebound during the Vikings’ 73-48 win over Aurora Central Catholic Friday in the East Aurora Holiday Tournament.
Geneva’s Jason D’Amico (center) grabs a rebound during the Vikings’ 73-48 win over Aurora Central Catholic Friday in the East Aurora Holiday Tournament.

Geneva coach Phil Ralston is an English teacher, but he also considers himself a numbers guy.

He’s happy to break down mathematical formulas if he thinks the effort will provide deeper insight into his roster.

Ralston takes numerous statistical categories into account in a formula that he said reveals which of his players are most efficient.

“People probably look at me like I geek out on that kind of stuff but I kind of have a system where I want guys shooting at a certain percentage, their rebounding, their turnovers, the type of turnovers that they have – I nitpick,” Ralston said. “The kids probably don’t like it as much, but I nitpick about every little thing. We want guys that are going to be efficient when they’re on the floor. We want them making positive contributions.”

Ralston’s disclosure came about when discussing how senior guard Mike Trimble has turned into much more than a 3-point sniper for the Vikings this season.

“He’s our third most efficient player on the team, which speaks to the fact that he’s doing other things besides just setting up and shooting,” Ralston said.

Rise and shine, Stars

St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin wanted to make sure his North Stars didn’t sleepwalk through the team’s 9 a.m. Pontiac Holiday Tournament opener Thursday against Waukegan.

Poulin said the players probably “couldn’t stand me” when he started calling hotel rooms and/or knocking on doors at 5:15 a.m. The North Stars’ pregame activities included a low-key shootaround and a light breakfast.

“We were up almost four hours before tipoff,” Poulin said. “I thought it was good to get the blood flowing and get them moving. A lot of kids were saying when the game started, it did not feel like 9 a.m. because there were a lot of people in the stands and it was just a great atmosphere. So when the game ended, it was like 10:40 a.m., and if you didn’t go outside, you would have thought it was about 9:40 at night.”

The game’s outcome made the predawn wakeup call worthwhile. The North Stars defeated Waukegan, 66-58.

Rough go for ACC

Aurora Central Catholic was slotted on the tougher side of the East Aurora Holiday Tournament draw, and the Chargers paid for it with an 0-3 record in pool play.

ACC dropped games to defending 3A state champion Peoria, Neuqua Valley and Geneva. The Wildcats and Vikings came into the tournament with one loss combined.

Chargers coach Nate Drye was able to keep frustration at bay, even after Friday’s 73-48 pounding at the hands of the Vikings.

“We come in here to get better,” said Drye, whose team lost all four of its games at the tournament. “I don’t think we came in here with the delusions, thinking we’re going to go 4-0 over here. We’re trying to get better. You get better playing these teams. ... We’re not going to see anyone that’s as big and shoots it like Geneva does probably the rest of the year.”


Quinten Payne, St. Charles North, Sr., G
What he did: Payne helped the North Stars fight off elimination at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, pouring in 26 points on Friday night as North edged Peoria Manual, 63-60, then one-upped himself with 29 points in the fifth place game triumph against Bloomington on Saturday.

Payne also had 22 points in North's tournament-opening win against Waukegan on Thursday.

Cory Windle, Aurora Christian, Sr., F
What he did:
Windle tallied 31 points to set the pace for Aurora Christian on Wednesday in a high-scoring affair at the Plano Christmas Tournament as the Eagles raced past Mendota, 94-83.


Marmion can't get enough of close games.
The Cadets seem to play an inordinate amount of thrillers, including two overtime wins last week at DeKalb's Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament.

"I'd like not to have to do that but it seems that's the way it's going to be because our guys play so hard," Marmion coach Ryan Paradise said. "If there's a game we're shooting poorly or a team has a really good game against us or a lot of talent or whatever, our guys have been battling so hard, we find ourselves close at the end of a lot of games. That's really all you can ask for."


How Wheaton Academy acclimates to the east coast.
The Warriors are taking their annual winter break trip. This year, Wheaton Academy is North Carolina-bound, where the Warriors will open up Thursday at Cary Christian.

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