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Sports

Prep boys basketball notebook: 'Very competitive' Geneva league gains steam

GENEVA – The Geneva summer boys basketball league has expanded its game once more.

A year after adding four teams to grow to 20, the league adopted Batavia as a separate site for sophomore games, creating a more comfortable feel when varsity programs convene from to 5 to 9 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“It was kind of gaining some popularity and it was hard to turn away some schools, especially ones that were in our conference,” Geneva coach Phil Ralston said.

“That really allowed us to kind of expand ours and run it the way we want to run it.”

Varsity games were played on Wednesdays and Thursdays last summer, with sophomore games held on Mondays.

The league, which opened play Monday, also added a sixth night of competition from its previous five. A single-elimination tournament to be held June 26 completes the event.

Chronicle-area schools comprise about half the field. Along with Geneva, they include St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Batavia, Kaneland, Burlington Central, St. Francis, Aurora Central Catholic and Wheaton Academy. Mooseheart also is on hand.

“I think it’s probably one of the more interesting places to watch basketball on a Monday and Wednesday night, I’ll tell you that,” Ralston said. “It’s very competitive, and there are a lot of good teams.”

That’s certainly alluring to the other 19 schools.

“I like to get in as many games as possible in the summer, so it’s nice to have instead of once a week, twice a week,” ACC coach Nate Drye said. “I’m sure the kids would much rather have games instead of camp and whatnot, so it’s also nice for them.”

Looking for a charge: ACC graduated seven of the top nine players from its 2012-13 rotation, giving Drye no hesitation to call his club “definitely a work in progress.”

Sean Anger, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, is the lone returner with starting experience, as classmate Sean Harreld, a 6-foot guard, looks to break into this season’s lineup alongside him. At this point, it’s a start.

“We’re trying to get ready for the season right now,” Drye said. “I don’t really call timeouts and stuff like that. I don’t really care about the wins and losses. We’re just trying to play well, figure out who’s going to play.”

Harreld saw the deepest exposure of any Charger last season, advancing to the Class 3A Three-Point Showdown state final preliminaries in March.

North Stars looking up: North, which also loses a solid senior core but returns guard Alec Goetz, among other experienced players, went 3-3 during a weekend shootout at Ridgewood.

“I was very pleased with our team play,” North coach Tom Poulin said. “This is going to be a fun group to coach. In the area, maybe a lot of people may not have very high expectations of us. … We have an awful lot of work to do this summer, but they are an unselfish group that wants to win and is not concerned with individual statistics but with that final score. I think they can surprise some people.”

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