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Jack McDonald delivering wins for Geneva one assist at a time

Junior guard broke the program career record for assists earlier this year

GENEVA – Records are meant to be broken.

For Geneva junior guard Jack McDonald, smashing the school’s all-time assists mark earlier this season is a little extra sweeter considering who held it before him.

His former AAU basketball coach.

Josh Rader, a coach for the Tri-City Thunder, held the assists mark at 230 since he graduated from Geneva in 1999. Nearly 20 years later, McDonald now sits atop the leaderboard well beyond that mark.

McDonald had 175 assists last season, and has another 175 this year with four games left in the regular season.

McDonald and Geneva coach Scott Hennig aren’t exactly sure when the mark was eclipsed, but the young point guard knew the record was within reach heading into the season.

“It’s definitely an accomplishment,” McDonald said. “It makes it even more special cause I’m actually really close with Rader. I grew up playing pickup basketball with him and his brother, so it really means a lot to break his record.”

McDonald said he hasn’t heard from Rader yet regarding the accomplishment, but believes he’s aware.

“I’m sure he’ll be excited for me,” McDonald said.

McDonald is having a standout junior season for Geneva. Averaging over seven assists and 14 points per game, the Vikings have been in good shape with McDonald running point amid a tough stretch of opponents.

“I think we’ve really played some good basketball,” McDonald said. “The ball has bounced our way, which helps, but we’ve put ourselves in a good spot to win these games, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

The 5-foot-11 guard had 28 points and six rebounds while making continuous trips to the free-throw line to ice a comeback against. St. Charles East on Jan. 19.

He also showed lightning can indeed strike twice.

With his team down three and the game on the line Feb. 2, McDonald banked in a 3-pointer off the glass to tie St. Charles North with 2.3 seconds remaining – and he was fouled. He sank the go-ahead free throw, and Geneva survived a last-ditch effort at the buzzer to win 53-52.

“[McDonald’s] a winner,” Geneva coach Scott Hennig said after the victory over St. Charles North. “He hits those types of shots in practice. I’m glad I have him for another year and a half.” 

Streaking Rockets

Burlington Central wasn’t thinking about the playoffs on Jan. 23, so it’s hard to imagine things have changed much since then.

The Rockets’ winning streak has continued to climb, now reaching 18 consecutive games. Their latest victim, Richmond-Burton, fell by 30 points on Feb. 1.

Schutta watch

Zach Schutta, the Rockets’ leading scorer at 18.8 points per game, continues to inch closer to the all-time scoring record at Burlington – a mark held since 2012 by Ray Hunnicutt. As of Feb. 5, Schutta sits at 1,501 points and needs 22 more for the record.

Split for Kaneland

Kaneland (9-15) defeated Morris 65-49 on Jan. 30. Wyatt Peeler led Knights scorers with 12 points in the victory.

On Feb. 2, Kaneland fell 57-41 in a road contest at Sterling. Kaneland forward Rhett Espe scored 10 points.

Marmion falls twice

The Cadets (8-15) suffered two tough losses on back-to-back nights. They dropped a double-overtime thriller 60-50 against Providence St. Mel on Feb. 2. The following night, Marmion trailed Elgin by two points with 48 seconds remaining, but fell 57-52 at the Kivisto Shootout at East Aurora.

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