Boys basketball: Metea Valley seeks to defend title at Hinsdale South
By Rick Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org December 25, 2012 5:13PM
Metea Valley's Shiv Desai blocks a shot by Neuqua Valley's Zach Pugh during a Nov. 29 game. | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 6, 2013 10:04PM
Bob Vozza takes his Metea Valley basketball team to Hinsdale South Wednesday and opens defense of their Hornet Invite title at 10 a.m. against Glenbrook South as boys basketball tournaments get going full tilt across the state.
Nine boys teams in The Beacon-News circulation area are playing in the Plano Christmas Classic that began last Saturday, the same day Oswego kicked off the expanded 32-team Proviso West Tournament with a win. Marmion opened play last week at the Chuck Dayton Tournament in DeKalb.
Host East Aurora is joined by Geneva, Aurora Central and Oswego East at the 47th edition of the Tomcats’ annual holiday tourney that begins Wednesday. Also starting Wednesday are Waubonsie Valley at Elmhurst York and Batavia at the Elgin Tournament.
Third-seeded West Aurora is the final area team to debut in holiday play, making its annual trek downstate to the 82nd annual Pontiac Tournament which begins Thursday. Jontrel Walker and his 20-plus scoring average lead the Blackhawks against Lockport at 10:30 a.m. with a field that is led by three-time defending state 4A champ Simeon and Duke recruit Jabari Parker.
at Hinsdale South
The Mustangs are seeded No. 8 in the 16-team field, topped by No. 1 Lake Forest, after getting off to a 6-5 start.
Vozza’s club could be better than the record indicates.
“We opened (at the Hoops for Healing Tournament) and lost to some good teams in Proviso East, Oswego and Naperville Central,” said Vozza, whose team enters tourney play off another nailbiter that went down to the final possession, a 50-47 setback Friday at home against Bartlett. “I thought we had some bumps in the road there, but I thought we grew up a little bit and after we played Neuqua Valley to a two-point game that could have gone either way.”
The coach wasn’t happy with his team’s slow start against the Hawks but was pleased by the spark he got off his bench from reserves led by 6-foot-9 Hayden Barnard.
“I think we’re coming into our own, defensively. We’ve gotta continue to play at that style, get people to play in the open floor,” he said.
“We’re kind of where I expected to be. We’d like to continue going in the win column, like everyone does. I think we’re teetering. We’re teetering from, ‘Are we good or can we be called one of the great teams?’”
The 12-team event in Elmhurst, which honors former York coach Jack Tosh, features four pools of three teams each. No. 1 seed St. Ignatius, No. 2 York, No. 3 Waubonsie Valley and No. 4 Naperville North top each pool.
Coach Steve Weemer’s Warriors open Wednesday at 11 a.m. against Holy Trinity (12th overall seed) in a pool crossover, then play No. 7 Lyons on Thursday (6 p.m.) and No. 10 Lane Tech Friday (4:30 p.m.) from their own pool.
Waubonsie Valley is 7-4 and coming off a 68-60 win over Lake Park last Friday, which featured a 26-point effort from Santa Clara commit Jared Brownridge.
Naperville North knocked off York Friday in nonconference play, then dropped a 63-57 DuPage Valley Conference decision Saturday to league co-leader Glenbard East.
Kerkman’s West Aurora club is 7-1 overall and tied with Glenbard East atop the DVC standings at 4-0.
A win over the Porters would send the Blackhawks to a 1 p.m. quarterfinal Friday against the winner of Thursday’s tourney opener featuring St. Charles North and Waukegan.
Two wins to open the event could set the stage for a dramatic Saturday with the possibility of a 1 p.m. semifinal date with No. 2 seed Peoria Manual before a shot at Simeon in the title bout that same night.