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Boys basketball: Phil Schuetz takes leading role for Aurora Central

AurorCentral Catholic senior Phil Schuetz (35) is coming off 34-point performance Tuesday night against Joliet Catholic. | JCunningham~For Sun-Times Media

Aurora Central Catholic senior Phil Schuetz (35) is coming off a 34-point performance Tuesday night against Joliet Catholic. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media

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Friday’s game

Marmion at
Aurora Central, 7:30 p.m.

Updated: February 12, 2013 2:47PM

Aurora Central’s Phil Schuetz has moved from role player to leading man, but took it even a step further earlier this week.

“He started for us every single game last year but he didn’t get that many shots,” Chargers coach Nate Drye said of the 6-foot-3 senior forward. “He’s improved a ton.”

Even so, Drye was startled when he studied the box score from Tuesday’s 51-47 win at home against Joliet Catholic.

“Craziest scoreline I’ve ever seen,” the coach noted. “(Schuetz) actually had (a career-high) 34 points. And, he scored all of our points in the second half. I’ve never had that, or anything close to it, happen before.

“(Phil) had a physical mismatch. He was just stronger than the other kid and our guys did a nice job of finding him. It was crazy, though. Phil had 34 points, Sean Harreld had 15 and the only other guy on our team to score, Zach Flint, had two.”

No one may have been more surprised than the unassuming Schuetz.

“It was weird,” he said. “I never even thought about it and then thought, ‘Wow,’ when I found out. It was pretty crazy.”

After playing in the shadows cast by seniors Joey McEachern and Robert DeMyers last year, Schuetz has stepped up. He entered Tuesday’s game leading the Chargers (7-7) in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 14.5 and 5.4, respectively.

Veteran senior point guard Anthony Andujar, at 10.2 ppg, is the only other ACC player averaging double figures, though Shawn Soris (8.6) and Flint (7.8) are close.

“He didn’t get that many shots last year, although he did have 18 points in our sectional semifinal win over Johnsburg,” Drye said of Schuetz, who also plays baseball (pitcher-outfielder) at ACC.

He may not have played AAU basketball in the offseason, but it didn’t stop him from improving, Drye noted.

“I just had to work hard all summer and get stronger and try to improve my jumper,” Schuetz said. “I didn’t have any time to play AAU because of baseball. Plus, we (his ACC team) played a lot, too. It helped us develop chemistry and learn our roles.”

Hitting the weights and playing a lot of pickup games, Drye noted, helped Schuetz.

“He worked on his shot and he’s pretty bouncy. He gets up,” the coach said. “He’s gotten more aggressive and when he plays consistently hard, he’s very good. It’s just matter of putting it all together.”

Tuesday’s outburst means Schuetz will carry a 15.8 scoring average into tonight’s Suburban Christian Blue matchup at home with arch-rival Marmion.

“I think we’ve already sold out the gym,” Schuetz said Wednesday night, noting, “we need to win out if we want to keep any chance at a conference title.”

Both teams have two league losses and are looking up at both Wheaton Academy and St. Francis.

Drye saw the Cadets early in the season when they were struggling and members of his staff have scouted them recently.

“They’ve gone to more pressing and playing fast and they’re shooting a lot of threes. I think they’re trying to get up and down and get more possessions and shots,” said Drye, whose club also favors a fast pace.

Marmion won both regular season meetings last season, only to have the Chargers come back and claim their regional matchup on the way to a postseason run that reached the sectional final.

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