With strong, experienced returning cast, Warriors have their sights set high this season.

By Mike Miazga

Correspondent

Last year, the Willowbrook boys basketball team did the regular-season trifecta sweep by winning tournaments at Thanksgiving, Christmas and over the Martin Luther King holiday.

To kick off this season, the Warriors already have checked one box of that list. Willowbrook went a perfect 4-0 to win the recent Stagg tournament.

The Warriors scored a 79-50 win over Argo, a 73-46 win against Nazareth Academy a 60-35 victory against Chicago Lindblom and a 72-52 win against Stagg. It was Willowbrook’s second year in a row winning the tournament.

“We did a little bit of everything,” said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins. “’We won all our games by more than 20 points. We played well overall offensively and defensively.”

Perkins saw many positives on both sides of the ball. “We moved the ball on offense,” he said. “We were sharing the ball. We had a lot of guys in double digits for scoring. I liked our ball movement and our chemistry on offense. Defensively, we were identifying shooters and trying to take teams out of rhythm. Our on-the-ball defense was a little better.”

Matas Masys and Matt Myers were named to the all-tournament team at Stagg, while Ethan Schuemer was named the tournament MVP.

“We had a number of guys step up and play well,” said Perkins. “Those three, Matas, Matt and Ethan played well. I thought Marshawn Phillips and Neil Paxton Jr. also played well. Scotty Tumility came off the bench and played well and Sikander Zafar also played well.”

Against Argo, Schuemer led the way with 18 points. Masys added 14 points, while Paxton Jr., and Myers each had 10 points.

In the Nazareth win, Phillips led the way with 13 points. Masys had 12 points, while Myers chipped in 10 points. Myers led the team in scoring against Lindblom with 14 points. Schuemer had 12 points, while Masys had 10 points.

In the Stagg win, Masys had 18 points. Paxton Jr. had 17, while Phillips had 12 and Schuemer had 11 points.

“We are a balanced group,” said Perkins. “Having our whole starting lineup return and our sixth man helps. When you have your top six players back, there is a lot of chemistry and continuity built in.”

After the Stagg tournament, Willowbrook opened West Suburban Conference Gold Division play with a tough 74-72 overtime setback to Proviso East.

“I’m pretty happy with the start, but we’ll learn a lot about ourselves at Proviso East,” Perkins said late last week. “That’s a big one right off the bat with two ranked teams. Our conference should be tough this year. You have three ranked teams in us, Proviso and Hinsdale South. It could be anybody’s conference.”

Perkins acknowledged the team has high hopes this season, given the vast amount of talent returning.

“We’ve talked about team goals,” he said. “We went 24-5 last year and won the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Martin Luther King tournaments and won a share of our conference. We are looking to repeat all those things and hopefully make a run in the playoffs. We will see. We have to keep the momentum building and build good habits. If we do that we should be alright.”

 

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