After an injury-plagued 2012-13 season for St. Charles East, the Saints absorbed a significant injury blow again before this season even tipped.
David Mason, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound post player entering his third full varsity season, had a lingering stress fracture from football season that was worsened during an open gym workout before the season.
The result was what is called a “Jones fracture” of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. He had a screw inserted during surgery on Nov. 15, and the Saints hope Mason can return around Christmas-time.
“I’m thankful it wasn’t the entire season,” Mason said. “I’ll be ready to go and have fresh legs to jump in.”
Without Mason, 6-5 junior Mick Vyzral was slotted into East’s starting lineup, and Vyzral earned favorable reviews as the Saints went 2-2 during last week’s home Thanksgiving tournament.
“I think Vyz is doing a great job stepping into that starting role and bringing us good offense, good decision-making, and he’s been able to battle,” East coach Pat Woods said. “So once we get Dave back, we should be that much better.”
Mason already has graduated from crutches to a walking boot. He, too, expressed confidence the Saints can without him.
“Mick’s done a real nice job on offense, and then [AJ Washington] has done a real good job on rebounding,” Mason said. “I think when I get back, it’ll [help], but I think we’re doing a good job so far with what we have.”
The Saints also played their first two games without junior guard Cole Gentry, who experienced back tightness early last week but returned to play Friday and Saturday. Gentry dealt with a stress fracture in his back during the summer.
Clearing the bench at the end of a blowout is a multi-step process this season for St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin, who kept a whopping 19 guys on his varsity roster, 18 of whom are currently healthy.
An influx of football players who decided to come out for hoops this winter contributed to North’s swelling roster size.
“I think we have the right guys,” Poulin said after Friday’s win against Downers Grove South. “Sometimes you’re just looking for the right guys, if that’s 12, if that’s 14. I’ve never had more than 17 [until this year], and I said I’d never do that again, and here we are.
“They’re great kids. They push each other, and they pull for each other. Our practices have been great. Every single guy in that room is happy about what happened tonight, and they’re thinking about the team. And that’s why they’re on the team, because we had 19 guys that are that way.”
Ramblers feisty downstate
Mooseheart went 1-2 over the weekend at a season-opening tournament in Canton, including a loss to host Canton in which coach Ron Ahrens and starters Makur Puou and Mangisto Deng all were assessed technical fouls.
“There are things that happened that I’m embarrassed by – and so we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Ramblers coach Ron Ahrens said in a Mooseheart news release. “It’s early in the year, though.”
In addition to the Canton loss, Mooseheart fell to Peoria Manual after opening the tournament with a win against Delavan. The Ramblers’ home opener comes tonight against Hope Academy.
– Jay Schwab, firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE GROOVE
Dom Adduci, St. Charles East, Sr., G
What he did: Adduci scored 25 points in a win against East Aurora, 26 points in an overtime loss to St. Joseph and 29 points in a win against Downers Grove South during last week’s Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament.
As expected, tighter enforcement this year of hand-checks and other defensive contact has resulted in many more free throws, as Marmion learned in a whistle-fest of an 88-84 loss to Addison Trail on Wednesday at West Chicago’s tournament. Four of Marmion’s five starters fouled out in the game.
“I don’t know where the game of basketball is going but we’re going to have to adjust,” Marmion coach Ryan Paradise said. “But we weren’t doing anything to get 31 fouls called on us, that’s for sure.”
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Batavia is going to be in a lot of close games this year. Remarkably, the Bulldogs played three overtime games (one went double OT) in last week’s Windmill City Classic, beating St. Francis and Engelwood and falling to Kaneland.
The Bulldogs, though, should soon be able to put some teams away a little earlier with the expected arrivals of recently crowned football state champions Micah Coffey and Tucker Knox.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
How a pair of area rivalries stack up in the early going.
Batavia and Geneva play Friday in Batavia while St. Charles East and St. Charles North square off Saturday at North. Both games are part of girls-boys doubleheaders.
COACH SLY SAYS
Kudos to the Batavia ballers for stepping up short-handed last week while some of their top players were tending to some unfinished football business.
Going 2-1 short-handed against a pretty solid field at the Windmill City tournament bodes well for the Bulldogs once they’re at full strength.
Chasen Peez and Canaan Coffey look like they’re going to be really nice pieces for Batavia. Anyone care to venture a guess on how many combined 3s the Coffey brothers are going to knock down this season?