Less than 24 hours after being the hero, Naperville Central senior Ryan Antony was just another typical high school teenager, simply hanging out and watching a basketball game.
Antony took in the marquee match-up between Benet and Stevenson at Batavia’s Night of Hoops on Saturday afternoon along with teammate Nick Czarnowski, whose rebound set up his game winner on Friday, and Waubonsie Valley’s Jake Cordes.
Stevenson standout Jalen Brunson put on a show, with a career-high 39 points, as the Patriots cruised past the Redwings, 77-64.
On Friday night, Antony drained a three-pointer with 6.9 seconds remaining to lift the Redhawks to a 57-56 victory over West Aurora during a DVC battle in Aurora.
Afterwards, he recalled a similar game winner while playing AAU ball over the summer, when he was a teammate of West Aurora’s Jontrell Walker.
“We played Mac Irvin’s Fire and that’s a ranked team and I pulled up a couple steps in front of half court and drilled a 3,” Antony said. “I like having the ball in my hands at the end of the game. I know my team has confidence in me.”
It was the second straight outstanding match-up between Naperville Central and West Aurora, as the Blackhawks prevailed 59-54 in OT on Dec. 20.
One player who has made great strides this season is Metea Valley senior Mark Konkle, who has developed into a nice inside scorer.
“Mark has gotten a whole lot better since November,” Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza said. “His confidence is growing and he’s worked awfully hard with Coach (Tim) Pease in terms of post moves. He’s played great these past few weeks.”
Most recently, Konkle poured in 22 points against East Aurora, 15 against West Chicago and another 19 against Oswego East.
“Our guards do a good job of getting good looks for me,” he said. “Depending on the flow of the game I usually have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to be able to do.”
Benet junior guard Colin Bonnett missed Saturday’s game against Stevenson. The Redwings committed 14 turnovers in that loss.
“We’ve had some injuries. Josh (Yesufu) was out for a few weeks and Colin is out indefinitely,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “We don’t know when he’ll be back. We’re hoping it’s short term and he’s back by the state tournament, if not sooner.”
Yesufu had 12 points on Saturday and 14 more against Rich East on Tuesday as his minutes have picked up.
Naperville North senior Ashton Elston found himself visiting a hospital last Friday after he couldn’t lift one of his arms.
“It’s something with his labrum,” Huskies coach Jeff Powers said. “It’s unfortunate since he’s been playing so well.”
He ended up missing three games before returning in Tuesday’s win against St. Charles East.
The Huskies also recently got Deon Merrill back from an ankle injury.
“He’s still in the process of learning everything we do,” Powers said. “He is a step behind on that.”
East Aurora’s Ernie Kivisto Hoopfest has been rescheduled for next Saturday, Feb. 22. Waubonsie Valley will take on Lemont at 4:30 p.m.