Genoa-Kingston is off to a quick start this year and some of those games have come without the services of sophomore point guard Tommy Lucca, who sprained his knee against Hinckley-Big Rock.
Lucca was cleared to practice Monday and the coaches will evaluate his play heading into the game against Burlington Central today.
In the meantime, the Cogs have played three games without him and the time Lucca has missed might prove to be valuable down the road.
“Our guys have to find out who we are. Guys are getting great game experience with him off right now,” G-K coach Corey Jenkins said. “We’re finding out we might be a little deeper than we think. We thought we’d be OK as far as depth but we have some guys who can play a little bit.”
Included in that group is Ian Sall and Blake Monroe, who have been handling point-guard duties, and Colin Broderick, a spot-up shooter who is getting more and more time.
“Right now [Broderick] is playing with a lot of confidence because he’s hitting shots,” Jenkins said. “We’re seeing his confidence grow with each game.”
Hiawatha learning to finish: It’s been a tough rebuilding process for Hiawatha early in this season. The Hawks are a very young team that is also adapting to a first-year head coach as Franz Schumacher transitions from the girls team to the boys team this year.
But Schumacher has been impressed with Hiawatha’s progress so far, even if it hasn’t translated into many wins versus losses.
The Hawks lost a heartbreaker Friday against Hinckley-Big Rock on a late 3-pointer after leading throughout the fourth quarter.
“These close ones are going to be ours,” Schumacher said. “We’re going to learn how to finish.”
VIEWS: Area teams making tootball-basketball transition look easy
Less than a month ago we were just finishing up what was possibly the best local high school football season in recent memory.
Sycamore advanced to the state semifinals, Kaneland played into the second round and Genoa-Kingston and DeKalb also made the postseason. It was the first time the Daily Chronicle had four playoff teams since 2010.
All four teams played as many or more football games than they did a year ago, which makes the relatively strong start for our boys basketball teams very surprising, especially considering how much each team relies on athletes who also played football.
All four start at least one football player and at least three of them have multiple starters who also played football. Of my five boys basketball players to watch, three of them played football.
It's true that only Sycamore's football players missed official practices because of football conflicts –the season started following the second round of the football playoffs – but all two-sport athletes are automatically behind their single-sport brethren at the start of the year. Football practices and film sessions replaced open gyms, basketball-specific workouts and conditioning. Football shape is not the same as basketball shape.
As good as these teams have been early in the season, expect them all to get better as the year progresses.
• Ross Jacobson is the sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RossJacobson.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Jacob Ryan, senior, Hinckley-Big Rock
Ryan's 3-pointer with 13 seconds left gave H-BR a 42-40 lead over Hiawatha and the Royals would go on to win by three points in an early-season Little Ten Conference game.
WHAT TO WATCH
Hinckley-Big Rock at Indian Creek, 6:45 p.m. Friday
The two Little Ten rivals square off as the Timberwolves try to avenge last year's two losses to H-BR.
DeKalb at Chuck Dayton tournament, Saturday
The Barbs host their annual holiday tournament and start with a doubleheader Saturday against Belvidere and Schurz.
1. Sycamore (5-2, 2-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) – The Spartans looked solid against the Barbs.
2. Genoa-Kingston (6-1, 1-0 Big Northern Conference East) – The Cogs are off to a quick start.
3. Indian Creek (6-2, 2-0 Little Ten) – Could the Timberwolves be the class of the Little Ten?
4. Kaneland (4-2, 1-1 NI Big 12) – The Knights rebounded nicely from a loss to Sycamore.
5. DeKalb (2-7, 0-2 NI Big 12) – The Barbs are still having second-half troubles.
6. Hinckley-Big Rock (3-5, 1-1 LTC) – A young Royals team should progress
7. Hiawatha (1-6, 0-2 LTC) – The Hawks are learning a lot early on.