I-8 2005     Ovr.  Con.       Conference
    Team         W L   W L  Pct.  PF    PA
1.  Seneca       5-0   1-0  1.00  68    34

2.  Lisle              1-0  1.00  68    35

3.  Reed-Custer  2-3   1-0  1.00  52    38

4.  Coal City          1-0  1.00  71    44

5.  Plano        2-5   0-1  .000  38    52

6.  Sandwich     2-5   0-1  .000  35    68

7.  Dwight             0-1  .000  34    68

8.  Wilmington         0-1  .000  44    71

Plano Still Searching For An Identity
Lack Of Practice, Injuries, Hampering Reaper Hoop Progress

By Bill Lidinsky- Plano Record

In a week that was supposed to turn out a lot differently than planned, the Plano High School varsity basketball team continued to internalize that the late transition from playoff football to early season basketball is a lot tougher than originally expected.
In two contests that figured to be comfortable wins before the year started, turned into lopsided losses for the Reapers.
Last Tuesday Nov. 29, Plano ran into a tough Newark team on the road and faded down the stretch in an 80-62 loss to the Norsemen.
Then on Friday Dec. 2, the Reapers opened up their Interstate Eight Conference schedule at Reed-Custer with similar results as at Newark. With the game tied at 35 after three quarters, Plano could muster only three points in the final eight minutes to the Comets 17 on their way to a 52-38 defeat. It would be the Reapers third loss in a row on the young 2005-06 campaign.
“It’s just going to take time coming off football. We don’t like saying that or using it as an excuse. But we’ve got to realize that we’ve only had a handful of practices so far this year while every other team we’ve played has had a month of work together,” said Plano senior point guard Alex Jensen. “Chemistry takes time to develop. We had it last year but we haven’t yet had enough time to gel yet this year together as a total team.”
At Newark, the Reapers held tough throughout the first half of play. Senior Matt Priesman led the way with 17 points in the first 16 minutes including 14 of those in a monster second quarter that saw Plano and Newark go toe to toe in some furious full court action. The Norsemen would take a 40-36 lead into the locker room at the half.
“Against Newark I started slashing to the basket instead of relying on my outside shot as much. I got some easy lay ups and I started to realize how much being aggressive and going to the hole can expand my game,” Priesman said. “But in the second half I only touched the ball a couple of times and things went bad for us.”
After trailing by four with three and a half minutes left in the third period, Plano started to fade. Newark senior Ron Poplawski took over scoring the next six points in succession within 25 seconds. Two of those buckets came off steals. Poplawski had a game high 26 points and 9 takeaways as the Norsemen overpowered the suddenly tired Reaper squad. The third quarter would end with Newark on top 62-50. Priesman and company seemed helpless to stop Newark in the fourth quarter as well. Norsemen junior Kyle Janssen had eight of his 22 points in the final stanza as Plano went down to defeat by 18. Priesman did not score in the second half but led the Reapers with his 17 first half points. Senior Jake Wilson also scored in double figures with 12 tallies.
On Friday Plano put three good quarters together before wearing down in the fourth. The Reapers led Reed-Custer 15-12 after one period and trailed by two at the half 27-25. They would pull into a 35 all tie with the Comets after three quarters but that’s where the roof caved in. Plano could manage only a trio of points in the final eight minutes and went on to lose by 14. Jensen led the Reapers with 15 points and played a marvelous defensive game in defeat.
“I was upset because we lost our third game in a row but I wasn’t disappointed in our overall play. I thought Al (Jensen) may have played his best overall game on the floor against Reed-Custer,” said Plano head basketball coach Nate Spriggs. “We played defense very, very well for 24 minutes. We struggled to put the ball in the hole. But because we defended so well, we were in the game. That was definitely a positive sign after giving up 80 points to Newark on Tuesday and 80 plus against Sandwich. Hopefully we can move forward now and develop more as a team with some continuity. We’ve got some injuries currently. So trying to get that done will be difficult but we’ll do our best.”
Two starters have been sidelined recently for Plano. Juniors Brook Bott and Obina Agomo have been hampered by leg injuries and may miss significant time in the future as a result. So forging ahead without them could prove to be a huge challenge for a team struggling to find their identity.
“We’re gearing up for our next four games before the Reaper Classic at the end of the month. Hopefully by then we can have everyone off the injured list,” Spriggs said. “It’s tough to have any camaraderie or team chemistry when it’s not the same bunch of guys every night. We’re just trying to piece things together every day while concentrating on being competitive against Seneca on Tuesday and hopefully winning some ballgames going into Christmas.”
Up next will be Tuesday night’s I-8 and season home opener against one of the finest teams in all of the IHSA. The Fighting Irish from Seneca bring their top ranked and undefeated squad to Plano. Last year the Irish finished as the third place team in all of Class A and this season’s squad looks even better.
“Battling a losing streak and having to play Seneca when you’re just trying to improve as a team and function as a unit can be very intimidating,” Spriggs said. “But it also can be a possible blessing in disguise for us. If we’re competitive against them it can give us a great shot in the arm. Win or lose, as long as we play well, it will show we’re going in the right direction.”
After Seneca, Plano will travel to Dwight on Friday for an evening matchup against the Trojans whom they easily handled in 2004-05. A key time for the Reapers who expect to improve on their current 2-5 overall record and 0-1 mark in the I-8.

From The Ottawa Times

Reed-Custer 52, Plano 38

At Briadwood, the Reapers fell by 14 to the Comets in their I-8 opener.

The game at 35-35 after three quarters, but Reed-Custer outscored Plano 17-3 in the final quarter to pull away for the win.

Alex Jensen led the way for the Reapers (2-5, 0-1) with 15 points and six rebounds. Will Brown added eight points and nine rebounds.

Area Round-Up

Lisle 68, Sandwich 35

At Sandwich, the Indians dropped its I-8 opener to the visiting Lions.

Lisle built a 29-17 halftime advantage, before outscoring Sandwich 39-18 after the break.

Alan Ritchie and Lance Futrell both scored eight points apiece to lead the way for the Indians (2-5, 0-1).

Serena 70, LaMoille 49

At LaMoille, the Huskers opened up Little 10 Conference play with a road victory over the Lions.

Serena (5-0, 1-0) raced out to a 22-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.

"Overall I just thought that we played really well," Huskers coach Randy Goodbred said. "We gave up 49 points, but 23 of them cam ein the second quarter. We were up 22-4 after one quarter, and then we really didn't really play any defense in the second quarter, and kind of let them back into the game. But then we settled in and played well in the second half."

Cooper Westvig paced Serena with 17 points, to go along with 15 from Zach Terry.. Kyle Mason added 10 points.

The Huskers won the junior varsity game 41-24 to improve to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

Somonauk 62, Leland 44

At Leland, the Bobcats began LTC action with an 18-point road victory over the Panthers.

Somonauk (2-3, 1-0) led 21-9 after one quarter and then preceded to outscore Leland 41-35 over the final three quarters of play.

Geisholt led the way for the Bobcats with 14 points. Enoch added 12. Jared Sawyer paced the Panther (1-4, 0-1) attack with 10 points, followed by nine from Matt Tucker.

Seneca 68, Dwight 34

At Seneca, the Fighting Irish began defense of its Interstate Eight Conference title with a commanding victory over the Trojans.

Seneca led 22-6 after one quarter and built a 37-18 halftime advantage, before outscoring Dwight 31-16 after the break.

"We got off to a good start and got a lot of people some minutes tonight which is good," Irish coach Doug Evans said. "This a good way to open up the conference season."

Garrett Callahan and Robert Rexroade both scored 12 points apiece to pace the Seneca (5-0, 1-0) offensive attack. Seth Evans added 11.

The Irish sophomore squad improved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference with a 43-20 win behind Ben Paulsen's 12 points.

Dunlap's big night carries Newark in Little 10


Mitch Dunlap hit the go-ahead basket with 21 seconds to play as Newark stopped Indian Creek, 59-57, in the Little 10 conference opener for both teams.

Dunlap, who scored a game-high 27 points, scored the Norsemens' final 14 points of the game, to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks.

"We only had three leads the whole game, fortunately the last one came at the right time," said Newark coach Dale Skelton. "Mitch Dunlap was terrific at both ends of the floor. He played a great game."

Ron Paplowski added 14 points for Newark, which improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in league play. Jake Swanson led Indian Creek with 21 points, while Chris Tidwell tossed in 11.

Somonauk 62, Leland 44 — Chris Giesholt scored a game-high 14 points to lead Somonauk, which improved to 2-3 overall, and 1-0 in the LTC. Wes Enoch added 12 points for the Bobcats.

Reed-Custer 52, Plano 38 — The Reapers were outscored 17-3 in the final quarter to fall to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in the Interstate Eight. Alex Jensen led Plano with 15 points.

Kaneland 63, Plainfield South 59 — The Knights trailed by eight points heading into the fourth quarter, but rallied for the non-conference win. Brad Harner had a game-high 21 points — including 12-for-12 from the free-throw line — for Kaneland (2-2), while Ryan Wagner added 11.

Hinckley-Big Rock 65, Earlville 25
— The host Royals led 26-7 after one quarter to win their Little 10 opener. Matt Koehling and Joe Jenness had 13 points each to lead H-BR (3-2, 1-0), which saw a total of 14 players score in the game.

Lisle 68, Sandwich 35
— Lance Futrell and Alan Ritchie had eight points each to lead the Indians

From Morris Daily Record online
Reed-Custer 52, Plano 38

BRAIDWOOD — The fourth quarter was the obvious difference in the game for the fighting Comets (2-3) in the Interstate Eight game.

After the third quarter bearing a 35-35 tie, the Comets tacked up their own 17 points compared to Plano's 3 for the 52-38 win.

Plano took the first quarter lead 15-12, but dropped to 27-25 going into half-time.

Steve Howard led Reed-Custer to victory with 19 points. Jeremy DeVries put up 11 points and Rogan Nichols and Tom Kimbro put up 10 points a piece.

“This is a big win for us,” said head coach Tim Ricketts. “Obviously, the fourth quarter was the difference in the game.”

Plano got a split, capturing the sophomore contest 43-26 by outscoring the home team in each of the initial three quarters. Plano led 28-12 at the break. Justin Kunz led the Comets with eight points. Chris Altiery, Bryan Wren and Jake Bollato each scored four.

Coal City 71, Wilmington 44

COAL CITY — Coal City began the Interstate Eight Conference with 15 steals to run away with the victory. The Coalers improved to 3-2 on the season.

“Our defense was solid tonight,” said Coal City head coach Chris Spencer. “We also did a nice job of breaking the press and scoring off it. I was very pleased with our overall teamwork and distribution of the ball.

Jory Darling led the Coalers with 15 points., followed by Kenny Shetina with 13. Ben Rouse and Brett Smith contributed 11 apiece.

“Jake Watts was a spark for us,” said Spencer. “He had five steals and caused havoc for Wilmington.”

Coal City swept, posting a 74-49 decision over the Wildcats in the sophomore contest.