Tyler Czerniak has weathered plenty of storms this season, but it hasn’t stopped him from dancing in the rain.
The St. Charles North senior has suffered multiple shoulder injuries this year. Czerniak first tore the labrum in his left shooting shoulder during the summer. He returned in September for the second week of a fall league tournament.
But the apparently chronic shoulder injuries kept returning.
In November, he suffered his first of three shoulder dislocations, all on his left shooting shoulder. Czerniak did it again at the Pontiac Holiday tournament against New Trier. He played through it anyway.
Finally, Czerniak dislocated the shoulder two days before the North Stars’ matchup against Batavia on Jan. 11. He nonetheless continued to play, albeit on a “minute count.”
Through it all, Czerniak has missed just one game because of injury all season. That makes his 25-point outburst Feb. 12 against Glenbard North all the more impressive.
Czerniak hit a whopping seven consecutive 3-pointers in the game, which was the third-highest single-game total for 3-pointers by an individual in program history, according to the St. Charles North boys basketball Twitter account.
Czerniak trails only Dustin Lee (10) and Alec Goetz (eight).
“When coach [Tom Poulin] told me, I was kind of shocked,” Czerniak said. “To know as a senior you’ve made an impact [and] put your name in the history books for the school, it’s just an awesome thing to know.”
After a loss to St. Charles East earlier this month, Czerniak balanced a difficult personal family matter over the following weekend. He took the next game and opportunity to clear his head. After his fourth consecutive 3-pointer, his success began to sink in
“Poulin was like: ‘Until you miss, you’ve got the green light to shoot whatever you want,’” Czerniak said. “From there, if I have space, I’m going to shoot it and just see how long I can go before I miss.”
It took until his eighth 3-point attempt until he did.
Three nights later, St. Charles North (11-15) avenged an earlier loss to Batavia with a victory against the Bulldogs, a 44-36 triumph on Senior Night. Despite a loss to Moline the following day, the recent success has provided a boost for the program.
The North Stars, who open regional play Feb. 25 against Elgin at St. Charles East, are gearing up for what they hope will be a fruitful postseason run.
St. Charles North’s last regional title was in 2009, history not lost on Czerniak and his teammates.
“I’ve got one message,” Czerniak said. “For anybody who’s been paying attention to us all year, don’t give up on us just yet.”
Seyller quietly sparks Rockets
Patrick Mayfield rightfully earned the headlines after Burlington Central’s 72-71 Kishwaukee River Conference victory over Johnsburg last week. The senior guard hit a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left and finished with 27 points.
Yet, preceding Mayfield’s spotlight moments, senior Braden Seyller had a few of his own.
After Johnsburg took a 61-56 lead with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter, Seyller muscled in for a rebound and putback score. Seyller then hit an open 3-pointer on an inbound pass to tie it at 61.
It set the stage for Mayfield to take over, but Seyller’s impact hasn’t been lost on the Rockets.
“He knocked down big shots,” Mayfield said. “He brought the energy, that’s for sure.”
Burlington Central coach Brett Porto was looking forward to the impact Seyller could have last summer.
“[Seyller was] kind of chugging along to the point where we made him our third captain about a month ago,” Porto said.
“Because of how hard he’s working and just that ‘never stop’ attitude out there on the court. ... His energy, his effort [and] that senior leadership, that’s what you look for this time of year.”