Top 10 winter season sports highlights
Every year RB girls basketball coach Larry Rocco says, “Our goal is to be playing our best at the end of the season.” Rocco’s assertion certainly applied to several RB, LT and Fenwick teams and individuals this winter that peaked in “crunch time.”
Here’s a look back (in reverse order) at the big wins, buzzer beaters, state titles, amazing performances, and yes even Chicago’s blizzard, celebrating a winter of our sports content.
10) Meyers replaces mentor as LT hoops coach
Taking over for her former coach Dawn Schabacker, first-year LT girls varsity basketball head coach Katie Meyers laid the foundation for a bright future.
Although the Lions finished 9-17 on the season, the team showed signs of picking up Meyers’ defensive pressure, up-tempo system. Versatile forward Colleen Connors and burgeoning 5-foot-11 star Ashanti Davis return next season to lead the Lions’ climb back to respectability.
9) LT boys swimming in Top 20 at state finals
The Lions tied Niles West with 22 points for 17th place in the state finals. Senior sprint swimmer Brian Donatelli finished in seventh place (21.28) in the 50-yard freestyle and also took eighth (46.20) in the 100-yard freestyle. Donatelli joined fellow seniors David Sekula, James Wing and Ryan Schafer to capture eighth (3:09.13) in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
8) “Big Shot” Orgler lifts RB to sectional final
Trailing Nazareth 52-51 with six seconds remaining in the RB Sectional semifinals, junior forward Megan Orgler caught an errant shot and scored on a layup at the buzzer to lift the Bulldogs to an amazing victory.
“It was awesome,” said Orgler. “There were not many seconds left. It was a big surprise.”
Although St. Joseph ended the Bulldogs’ inspired playoff run with a 71-43 win in the sectional final, RB (16-15) won 10 of its final 14 games and claimed another regional title.
7) Fenwick honors Maggette and Lattner
Fenwick honored two of its favorite and most famous sons – John Lattner and Corey Maggette – along with several of the Friars’ state championship teams during the Fenwick-St. Ignatius boys basketball game. Overall, Fenwick has 20 state championships.
At halftime, the retired jerseys of Lattner (No. 34) and Maggette (No. 50) were raised to the rafters.
“It’s a real thrill to see my number up there and share this moment with my family,” Lattner said that evening. “I’m also proud to share this night with Corey who is a great guy.”
Represented by family members, Maggette was unable to personally attend the event due to travel problems caused by Chicago’s unforgettable blizzard this winter.
6) Pirates of the West Suburban[Gold] foil Friars
Proviso East knocked off Fenwick 56-44 in the sectional semifinals at York of the girls basketball state playoffs.
The Friars (26-5) posted another stellar season under the guidance of coach Dave Power. Kyra Navarrette, Meredith Boardman, Sarah Williams and Kathleen Roche all flourished for the Friars. Sophomore-to-be Jade Owens should be a future star.
5) Give me an S, give me an E … “Sectional Title” for RB Cheerleaders
A year after finishing second in state, the RB cheerleaders offered another banner season winning their first-ever sectional championship in late January. Despite not qualifying for the state finals, the Bulldogs took an 11th place finish in the medium division of the state meet.
4) LT wrestlers make impact as team, individuals
The Lions advanced to the state quarterfinals in the team competition before falling to Glenbard North 36-28. In the individuals state event, 130-pound class Drew Bates (27-6) and 215-pound class Joe Gonzalez (40-6) both made it to their championship bouts. Bates lost 1-0 to Joey Gosinski (Glenbard North) and Gonzalez lost with a fall 4:23 to Josh Marchok of Schaumburg. LT 152-pounder Matt Nora (44-3) finished third in state with a 5-2 decision over Minooka’s Jake Residori.
3) Garelli the Great wins state championship
Congratulations on the mat are also in order for Fenwick junior Matt Garelli, who won a state championship in the 103-pound weight division. Garelli earned a 5-2 decision of Harlem Jordan Northrup in the title bout. Garelli finished a remarkable 47-1 and was ranked fourth in the nation.
2) “Action” Jackson, Bulldogs thrill home crowd
Led by sensational senior guard Ryan Jackson (25.2 points per game), the RB boys basketball team (23-6) captured its first-ever sectional victory with a thrilling 60-54 double overtime decision over Orr and Illinois-bound Mycheal Henry.
Crane ended the Bulldogs’ dream run with an 80-75 win in the RB Sectional final, but RB enjoyed another successful season including a 10th straight conference championship under coach Tom McCloskey.
1) LT seniors, Sloan scare Simeon
“Lyons Township vs. Simeon Postseason Part II” was considerably closer than its predecessor, a 30-point blowout victory for the Wolverines against LT two seasons ago.
The Wolverines ultimately won again this year, 64-51 over LT, snapping the Lions’ 16-game winning streak en route to back-to-back state titles.
“It was fun coaching these guys because all of them are unselfish, skilled players,” LT coach Tom Sloan said. “We had a real shot [to beat] Simeon.”
LT (26-3) won its Thanksgiving tournament, finished second at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic, and won conference (undefeated record) and regional championships. Over the last two years, LT is 52-5.