Memorial High School Mustangs
Memorial High basketball teams ready to collaborate to reach new heights
As a team who plays for each other and prioritizes connection, the Memorial High girls basketball team has an opportunity to play for another set of trophies.
The girls team will be led by senior captain Riley McCloskey, senior captain Abigail Tomaski and junior captain Nicki Polocheck. Per the team's core identity, these captains ensure that the team is “Attacking Aggressively,” “Disruptive Defensively” and “Constantly Connected.”
“If those three things are intact, we have a successful team. Each one of our captains has done an amazing job of being an example to their teammates and other members in the program,” said Head Girls Coach Jyusef Larry. “Their leadership assures me this year will be a success.”
For the boys team, Head Coach Dave Lay understands that coming off last season's Bi-District Champions success will require the team to dig deep and work hard this season.
Players to watch for the Mustangs are point guard Sean Rodriguez, small forward Ethan Soarers, power forward Caleb Sanders, off guard Matthew Janecek and defender Stefan Sabatelli.
“Sean is a confident young man who has developed his game to match his leadership, Ethan can defend and compete on both sides of the ball, no one will outwork Caleb, Matthew leads vocally and is a seasoned returner, and Stefan is our swiss army knife who can do everything for us,” said Lay.
Both Larry and Lay look forward to every game, regardless of opponent. However, Larry would love to see the girls come out of the regular season as back-to-back District Champs and Lay wants to see the boys give every game the same importance.
“Our student-athletes are amazing,” said Larry. “I’d love for the community to continue to support them and to tell others in the community about them as well.”
All Memorial Varsity girls team alumni are invited to a “Legends Day” game at noon on January 7th. The entire team understands that while this team has the opportunity to be special, that opportunity wouldn’t be there without the student-athletes who helped build this program over the years.
Larry and Lay hope that future Mustang players attend games to meet current players and get inspired to join a sports program!
Northbrook High School Raiders
Northbrook High girls and boys basketball teams fired up and ready to take on the season
The mentality for the Northbrook High basketball teams is to take each day with the same level of intensity and attention.
For the boys team, Head Coach Jason Campbell is excited to see how this group of veterans and newcomers grow in chemistry, skill and basketball knowledge as the season progresses.
“We have adopted the mindset that we all have to do our jobs in order for the team to succeed,” said Campbell. “That means we have to do our job on the court, in the classroom, in the community and at home.”
For the girls team, the goals are similar. Head Coach Whitney Williams witnesses daily the players’ willingness to put in the work without hesitation.
“By the end of the season, I expect the team to have a better understanding of basketball and be more advanced in their positions,” said Williams.
Both the boys and girls teams are excited for the start of the season and hope to pack the stands with supporters for every home game!
“We will have a special night almost every night this season such as a night to support veterans, teacher appreciation, community night and more,” said Campbell. “We plan to have activities during half time of the varsity games in order to make each game fun for the players and for the fans. We want to make Northbrook basketball games an amazing experience for all!”
Williams notes that the more noise in the Raider gym, the better.
“Showing support can be done in so many ways but just showing up to support our athletes can make a huge difference! I would love to see an involved student section so the team feels comfortable and supported,” said Williams.
Spring Woods High School Tigers
For the Spring Woods High Tigers, chemistry is key this season
The boys team is coming off a season that left them with a 15-15 record and room for growth. Head Coach Joe Gibson is excited that the core of the team will be returning, with the addition of a talented freshmen class.
“I believe what makes this year’s team special is how close the boys are and how well they get along with each other on and off the court,” said Gibson. “They have great chemistry together.”
In leadership roles for the Tigers are seniors Sean Wells, Dylan Nguyen, Will Patton, Diego Garcia and freshman Christian Gibson.
For the girls team, Head Coach Rashida Aikens believes that her young squad has a strong work ethic and is willing to buy in every day.
“I believe this team can accomplish anything they put their minds to if they remain on the same page, learn to trust one another and build confidence on and off the court,” said Aikens. “Our motto is ‘Nothing to Lose’ and in each game we plan to leave it all on the floor.”
Keep an eye out on freshman point guard Anjalena Salazar, returning sophomore shooting guard Brittany Bargas and returning sophomore shooting guard Melody Nowling. These three are leaders on the girls team and bring ample energy to every game.
There's no particular set of games that either squad is circling on their calendars as both coaches want the teams to look at every game with focus, anticipation and equal importance. The end goal? For the teams to get better each time they play.
“I really want all the fans and the school community to come and support us as much as possible, because the boys have worked really hard since March and have been making positive strides towards improvement,” said Gibson. “I think they’ll be really proud!”
Aikens wants to see an outpouring of encouragement as well.
“This will be a rebuilding year so I’d encourage our supporters to have patience and believe in these awesome ladies,” shared Aikens. “We are all in this together!”
Stratford High School Spartans
For the Stratford High basketball program, both boys and girls have the opportunity to compete for titles this season
Though the girls team graduated a large number of varsity players last season, Head Coach Alexis Green identified this year's team as intense and intentional from day one.
“I believe this team will continue to build on the foundation that was laid by our past players and teams,” shared Green. “Our district is filled with great players and coaches, so we have to be prepared to show up and compete. These young ladies seem primed for the task.”
Three key starters have returned from last season and Green will look to them for leadership. Senior guard JaKyla Cheeves, senior forward Margaret Parker and sophomore guard-Rachel Ashby bring a wealth of skill, toughness and experience that Green believes will spearhead their success. The team will also be looking to newcomers from the freshman and junior varsity levels that will contribute defensively with their athleticism and offensively with outside shooting and ball handling.
For the boys team, Head Coach Brett Nixon believes the group is built on uniqueness and longevity.
“This group is unique in that there are nine seniors who have played together for a long time, so they are really like a family,” said Nixon. “This team really focuses on the small steps it takes to continue to get better, and since their freshman year they have continued to improve.”
The team will be led by Cameron Cronin, who shot over 40% from the three point line last year, Keanu Dawes, 6’9 Rice commit, Paul Skoutelakis, three-year varsity letterman and Triston Williams, two time varsity letterman.
Both squads are excited for in-district games but always look at out-of-town competitions as growth opportunities. Green and Nixon look forward to home games, as they know the fan support is key in the team’s energy and confidence.
“Stratford America has shown our program incredible support. We hope that on and off the court our program can continue to represent our community and make them proud,” said Nixon.
“We are blessed to be well taken care of by our community, administration, faculty & staff, parents, and students. We plan on seeing what we have always seen from our fan base, unrivaled support,” shared Green.