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Willowbrook ties school record for victories in a season
Two wins this week will lock up the conference title

By Chris Fox

Friday night’s West Suburban
Gold Conference action unfolded
nicely for the Willowbrook boys basketball
team. The Warriors and Hinsdale
South both entered Friday’s play
with two conference losses. By the
end of the night, Willowbrook had a
simple path to sole possession of the
conference championship.
The Warriors defeated Morton
52-39 in Friday’s conference battle
in Villa Park. Hinsdale South, meanwhile,
lost 51-27 to Downers Grove
South. Willowbrook improved its
conference record to 8-2 with Friday’s
victory. Hinsdale South, which
has dealt the Warriors their only two
losses of the season, dropped to 6-3
in the conference with Friday’s loss
to Downers Grove South.
If the Warriors can win their last
two conference games—this week’s
road contests at Leyden and Downers
Grove South—they will win sole
possession of the conference title.
Friday’s win didn’t just help the
Warriors in their bid for a West Suburban
Gold Conference title. The
victory gave Willowbrook an overall
season record of 23-2. The 23 victories
ties a program record for wins in
a season. The 1969-70 Warriors also
won 23 games.
“The school record for wins
wasn’t a primary thing,” said Willowbrook
coach Chris Perkins after
Friday’s victory. “We had other
goals. Catching the school record is
a by-product of those goals.”
Junior Ethan Schuemer scored a
team-leading 16 points in Friday’s
victory. Schuemer, who scored eight
points in each half, made six of nine
field-goal attempts and converted
four of six shots from the foul line.
“It feels great,” Schuemer said
when asked about reaching the 23-
win mark. At the beginning of the
season, Schuemer said the Warriors
were gunning for 25 wins.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to
do, but this is definitely a huge milestone
for us. We feel we can get to
that 25-win mark.”
Like Perkins, Schuemer said
reaching a certain number of wins
was never the team’s primary objective.
“I think the main goal is always
the conference title,” he said. “When
we were about 15-1, that’s when we
really started shooting for the school
Senior Iman Reynolds added 12
points, all of which came during the
first half. Reynolds caught fire in the
second quarter, when he made four
shots, including a pair of 3-point
attempts. His 10-point output in the
second period helped Willowbrook
build a 28-15 halftime lead.
Sophomore Matas Masys provided
nine points, while junior Cornelius
Paxton scored six points. Senior
Freddie Clay, who made a key
3-point shot in the third quarter, finished
the night with five points and a
team-leading eight rebounds.
The Mustangs reduced the Willowbrook
lead to 32-26 with about
two minutes left in the third quarter.
Clay then made a 3-point shot to increase
the Warriors’ lead to 35-26.
Willowbrook held a 35-28 advantage
at the end of the third quarter.
The Warriors opened the fourth
quarter with a 5-0 run that featured
a steal and basket by junior Sikander
Zafar and a 3-point shot from
Masys. Morton then scored four
straight points to cut the lead to 40-
32. Schuemer responded with two inside
baskets in a span of less than 30
seconds to push the lead to 44-32. A
layup by Masys and two straight baskets
from Paxton helped the Warriors
increase their lead to 50-34 with a
little more than two minutes to play.
The Warriors earned their 22nd
win of the season on Feb. 7, when
they hung on for a 61-57 victory
over Marian Central Catholic in Villa
Park. Schuemer piled up 19 points
and 18 rebounds for Willowbrook,
which held a 30-23 halftime lead.
The Warriors held a 46-41 edge at the
end of the third quarter. Masys, who
made four shots from 3-point range,
scored a team-leading 20 points.
Masys scored five points—one
3-pointer and one 2-point basket—in
each of the game’s four periods.

Rams close regular season
with a pair of conference victories

By Chris Fox

Glenbard East’s girls basketball team closed
out its regular season by winning a pair of Upstate
Eight Valley Conference games last week. The
victories over West Chicago and East Aurora gave
the Rams an overall season record of 9-16 and a
conference mark of 5-5.
Glenbard East beat West Chicago 40-31 on
Feb. 7 in Lombard. The Rams finished their regular
season with another conference home victory—
Friday’s 53-29 win over East Aurora.
Junior Briana Raysby poured in 21 points in the
victory over West Chicago. Raysby made three
3-point shots in the first half. She accounted for
all seven of the team’s second-quarter points with
two 3-pointers and one free throw. Raysby turned
in a perfect performance from the free-throw line,
making all 10 of her attempts. She converted six
foul shots during the fourth quarter.
Junior Mattie Pusateri supplied 12 points, eight
of which came during the fourth quarter. Pusateri
contributed a 3-point basket and a 2-point field
goal in the final eight minutes. She also made
three of four free-throw attempts. As a team, the
Rams converted 16 of 21 foul shots.
Glenbard East led West Chicago 20-17 at halftime,
but the Wildcats held a 26-24 lead by the
end of the third quarter. Raysby made a pair of
free throws to tie the score at 26-26 with 7:29 to
play. She added two more foul shots with 6:51
remaining to give the Rams a 28-26 lead. West
Chicago scored four straight points to take a 30-
28 advantage, but Pusateri gave the Rams a 31-
30 lead when she netted a 3-point shot with 5:17
left in the game. Senior Christina Dolinski made
an inside basket to push the Rams’ lead to 33-30
with under four minutes to play. A steal and breakaway
basket from Pusateri increased the lead to
35-30 with 2:35 remaining. The Wildcats scored
their last point of the game when they made a free
throw at the 2:02 mark. Pusateri made three free
throws in the final minute. Raysby made a pair of
foul shots with 51.9 seconds left in the game.
Glenbard East led East Aurora 20-15 at halftime
of Friday’s regular-season finale. The Rams
outscored the Tomcats 19-4 in the third quarter to
take a 39-19 lead with eight minutes to play. Raysby
scored 10 points during the third period.
Dolinski scored 14 points in Friday’s win over
East Aurora. Raysby finished with 12 points,
while junior Faith Davies provided 10 points.
The Rams will open the IHSA Class 4A
post-season with this week’s regional quarterfinal
game against Hoffman Estates at the Hoffman Estates

Reason to celebrate; Rams win two in a row
Conference victories over West Chicago and Bartlett

By Chris Fox

The Glenbard East boys basketball
team enjoyed its most successful
week of the 2016-17 season last
week by posting two Upstate Eight
Valley Conference wins in Lombard.
The Rams, who have struggled
through a rough 2016-17 season,
earned their first conference victory
of the season on Feb. 7, when they
beat West Chicago 60-55. Two nights
later, the Rams edged Bartlett 44-43.
The Feb. 9 win over Bartlett gave
the Rams a conference mark of 2-6
and an overall record of 3-22.
“Coming out of Christmas, we’ve
been playing better,” said Glenbard
East coach Scott Miller after the victory
over Bartlett. “Our young guys
are really getting better. Our defense,
rebounding and shot selection are
improving. The kids are having fun.
I’m proud of them for sticking with
it. It would have been easy to quit
and give up. They haven’t done that.”
Freshman Alijah Nelson drained
five 3-point shots and scored a
team-leading 22 points in the win
over West Chicago. Nelson made
a pair of 3-pointers in each of the
first two quarters. He sank his fifth
3-point shot of the night in the fourth
Junior Austin Esterly added 11
points in the win over the Wildcats,
while sophomore Anthony Shockey
contributed 10 points. Junior James
Peterkin provided seven points. Senior
Jimmy Fairbairn-Vargas scored
all six of his points during the fourth
quarter by making one field goal and
connecting on four of six free-throw
Glenbard East led West Chicago
15-13 after one quarter, 32-24
at halftime and 42-33 through three
Peterkin provided half of the
Rams’ offensive output by scoring
22 points in the Feb. 9 win over
Bartlett. Fairbairn-Vargas scored 10
points, and sophomore Jeremy Johnson
provided six points by making
two 3-point shots during the fourth
The Rams trailed Bartlett 10-5
after one period. The visiting Hawks
held a 22-19 halftime lead, but the
Rams grabbed a 32-31 edge by the
end of the third period.
Johnson hit a 3-pointer during the
first minute of the fourth quarter to
give the Rams a 35-31 lead. Peterkin
provided a basket and a pair of
free throws in the next two minutes
to help Glenbard East maintain the
lead. Johnson’s 3-point shot with
about 4:40 to play gave the Rams a
42-38 lead. Bartlett then scored five
straight points to take a 43-42 lead.
Fairbairn-Vargas provided what
turned out to be the game’s final
points when he scored a basket with
about 40 seconds to play.
Bartlett missed an inside shot
with under 10 seconds to play. The
Hawks maintained possession after a
held ball, but a strong defensive effort
from the Rams helped to prevent
Bartlett from scoring a go-ahead basket
in the final seconds.
“I feel comfortable being back;
it’s a great feeling,” said Peterkin
after the narrow win over Bartlett.
Peterkin didn’t play his first game of
the season until January. “We’ve just
got to stay with the process and get
better. It’s the little things that get us
the wins.”
Peterkin saluted his teammates,
including those on the bench, after
the Rams’ second straight win.
“Our bench is amazing; we feed
off their energy,” said Peterkin in describing
Glenbard East’s enthusiastic
reserve players, who were on their
feet during most of the fourth quarter
of the battle against the Hawks. Peterkin
also noted the connection between
his inside game and the team’s
outside shooters.
“If I’m hot on the inside, those
guys are ready to shoot; we have a
lot of good shooters on our team,”
Peterkin said.
“He was really a force today,”
said Miller of Peterkin after the Feb.
9 win. “He makes people collapse
on him. That helps open it up for the
perimeter guys to start hitting shots.”
The Rams will play a conference
home game against West Aurora this
They will complete their regular
season with a Feb. 22 conference
home game against East Aurora.

Eleven area wrestlers advance to individual state meet
Jessen closes in on a state title, and a perfect season

By Chris Fox

Eleven wrestlers from area schools earned berths in
the IHSA Class 3A individual state meet with their topfour
finishes at the Downers Grove North Sectional.
Seven Montini wrestlers will join two athletes from
both Willowbrook and Glenbard East to compete in
the state meet, which begins today at the State Farm
Center in Champaign. The top four finishers in each
weight class at the sectional secured state-meet berths.
Willowbrook junior Jack Jessen maintained his
perfect season record by winning three straight
matches and claiming the title in the sectional’s
182-pound weight class. Jessen pinned Montini
sophomore Pete Christensen in the first period of
Saturday’s sectional final. Jessen improved his overall
season record to 47-0 with his three sectional victories.
As a freshman, Jessen claimed second place in the
170-pound division at the state meet. One year ago, he
placed third in the 182-pound class in Champaign.
“I’ve always wanted that high school championship,
ever since I was a little kid,” said Jessen after winning
the sectional title on Saturday. “Being so close and not
getting there has definitely motivated me.”
Jessen added that he feels comfortable wrestling in
Champaign, and he won’t alter his game plan for any
of his opponents.
“I face the guy who they put in front of me,” he
said. “It’s a matter of execution. I go out there and I
wrestle the match the way I want to wrestle. I don’t let
my opponent dictate the match.”
Senior Dominic Ranieri of Willowbrook earned his
first state-meet berth by battling to a third-place finish
in the sectional’s 132-pound weight class. Ranieri lost
his first sectional match on Friday. He then won four
straight matches on Saturday, including a 3-2 decision
in the third-place match.
“It’s an honor to be moving on to state,” said
Ranieri, who improved his season record to 41-11 with
his sectional performance. “It’s so amazing to be able
to do this.”
Ranieri had not competed in a sectional until this
season. He narrowly missed a sectional berth as a
sophomore. He suffered an injury late last season and
was unable to wrestle in the post-season.
“I had nothing else to lose,” said Ranieri of his
mindset after losing his opening match at the sectional.
“I just came back and dominated.”
Glenbard East seniors Scott Szabo and Brandon
Raines qualified for the individual state meet by
earning fourth-place finishes in their respective weight
classes. Szabo placed fourth in the 138-pound level,
while Raines finished fourth in the 285-pound division.
Szabo will enter the state meet with an overall season
record of 32-8, while Raines heads to Champaign with
a 38-7 record.
Four Montini wrestlers won sectional
championships at Downers Grove North. The Broncos’
sectional winners included freshman Dylan Ragusin
(106 pounds), junior Real Woods (126), freshman
Fidel Mayora (132) and junior Will Lewan (145).
Ragusin and Mayora will both head to the state meet
with season records of 40-3. Woods finished the
sectional with a 32-2 record, while Lewan improved to
36-2 with his sectional victory.
Christensen advanced to the state meet with his
second-place finish behind Jessen in the 182-pound
division, while junior Joey Melendez (113) and
sophomore Matt Ortiz (152) earned state-meet trips for
the Broncos with third-place finishes at the sectional.

Rams turn in strong sectional performance
Veronika Srey qualifies for the state meet

By Chris Fox

The Glenbard East girls gymnastics team
produced its best score of the season in last
week’s Glenbard North Sectional in Carol
Stream. The Rams finished the Feb. 8 meet
with a team score of 139.85. That output was
slightly better than the team’s previous top
score of 139.625, which came eight days earlier
at the Lake Park Regional. That regional
effort secured Glenbard East’s first sectional
berth in the history of the school’s girls gymnastics
Senior Veronika Srey, who produced the
Rams’ best individual scores in three sectional
events, qualified to compete in the IHSA state
meet, which takes place this Friday and Saturday
at Palatine High School. Srey qualified
for the state meet’s all-around competition. She
also earned state-meet berths in three individual
Srey placed eighth in the all-around standings
at the highly competitive Glenbard North
Sectional, which included gymnasts from
DeKalb, Glenbard West, Lake Park and Geneva.
She earned scores of 9.275 in the vault,
9.325 on the uneven bars, 9.175 on the balance
beam and 8.75 in floor exercises for her allaround
total of 36.525.
Srey finished 22nd in floor exercises, which
was the Rams’ first event of the sectional. She
proceeded to deliver her score of 9.275 on the
vault, which tied for 10th place. She added her
9.325 on the uneven bars, which earned a tie
for sixth place in the sectional. Srey completed
the meet with her score of 9.175 on the balance
beam, which was good for an eighth-place tie.
Srey earned at-large berths to the state meet
with her performances at the sectional. The
top five finishers in each individual event and
the all-around competition secured automatic
berths into the state meet. The 12 best scorers
from each individual event (and the all-around
competition) among all contestants in the
state’s four sectionals earned at-large berths to
the state meet.
Glenbard East freshman Kelsey Donovan
placed 14th in the sectional’s all-around standings
with her total of 35.075. Donovan earned
a score of 9.05 for her routine in floor exercises,
which was good for 13th place.
Sophomore Sierra Olson provided the Rams
with an 18th-place finish in the all-around
standings. Olson’s total score of 34.25 included
an 8.8 on the balance beam, as well as an
8.65 on the uneven bars.
Glenbard East’s sectional lineup also included
junior Krasimira Ganeva, junior Breanna
Page, sophomore Sydney Nasternak and
freshman Grace Tu. The quintet of Tu, Nasternak,
Srey, Olson and Donovan completed the
sectional with five strong performances on the
balance beam. The Rams struggled on the beam
at the Lake Park Regional, but they were much
sharper in that event at the sectional, with no
falls in any of the team’s five beam routines.
When Donovan completed the Rams’ final
performance on the beam, the entire Glenbard
East team converged around her for a celebratory
group hug.
“We had a great sectional meet,” stated
Glenbard East coach Jessica Bugajsky. “We hit
five of five beam routines, which was a great
improvement from the regional. We also did
great on all of the other events.”
DeKalb won the sectional title with a team
score of 148.575. Glenbard West placed second
with its total of 145.725, while Lake Park
placed third with a 144.10. The Rams landed
in fifth place with their overall total of 139.85.
DeKalb earned an automatic berth to the
team competition at the state meet, while Glenbard
West and Lake Park both secured at-large
This year’s state meet will feature a total of
nine teams—the four sectional champions plus
five at-large qualifiers. Lake Park and Conant
both earned at-large berths after posting identical
sectional scores of 144.10.

Warriors narrowly miss a state-meet berth
Jordan Tiberi qualifies as an individual

The Willowbrook girls bowling team needed
a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s IHSA
Oak Lawn Sectional to earn a spot in this
week’s state meet in Rockford.
The Warriors came up a few pins short in
their state-meet bid, placing fifth in the 12-
team sectional, which took place at Palos
Lanes in Palos Hills.
Willowbrook finished the sectional with a
total score of 5,307, exactly 100 pins behind
fourth-place Oak Lawn (5,407). Waubonsie
Valley won the sectional title with a score of
6,212. Richards placed second with a team
total of 5,949, while York secured third place
with its total of 5,428.
Senior Jordan Tiberi of Willowbrook qualified
for the state meet as an individual with
her six-game sectional total of 1,204. Tiberi
opened the sectional with a 232 and added
scores of 168, 229, 203, 202 and 170 to earn
one of the sectional’s five at-large individual
bids to the state meet. Tiberi finished 10th
among all individuals at the sectional.
Willowbrook sophomore Katie Pettinger
turned in a 41st-place sectional score of 1,045.
Junior Dana Sasenick placed right behind Pettinger
with her six-game total of 1,044. Sophomore
Holly Helsper rolled a sectional total of
1,021, while junior Betsy Soriano delivered a
six-game score of 993.

Warriors finish the regular season at 8-19

The Willowbrook girls basketball
team completed its regular season
with a pair of losses last week. The
Warriors dropped a 54-28 decision to
Lyons Township on Feb. 8. One day
later, Glenbard South defeated the
Warriors 54-42 in Glen Ellyn. Willowbrook
finished the regular season
with an overall record of 8-19.
The Warriors trailed Lyons Township
14-1 after one quarter and 30-13
at halftime. Sophomore Hanna Konrath
scored a team-high 12 points
for Willowbrook in the team’s season-
ending crossover game against
an opponent from the West Suburban
Silver Conference.
Konrath made three shots from
3-point range and scored 15 points
in the loss to Glenbard South. Sophomore
Maureen Schmid added seven
points. Sophomore Katelyn McCann
provided six points, while senior Jayla
Smith and freshman Sara Fitzgibbon
both scored five points. The Warriors
led the Raiders 13-12 after one
quarter, but Glenbard South overtook
Willowbrook in the second period and
seized a 31-22 lead by halftime.
The Warriors will begin the IHSA
Class 4A playoffs with this week’s
game against Oak Lawn at the Oak
Lawn Regional.