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Lots to like from holiday tourneys
By Dave Oberhelman | Daily Herald Staff

Brian Hill/ from the Batavia vs. Las Vegas Centennial third place basketball game of the 38th Annual Elgin Boys Holiday Basketball Tournament Saturday, December 29, 2012 in Elgin..


Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Among the area all-tournament selections at last week’s holiday tournaments were, from left to right: St. Charles North senior Quinten Payne, Geneva sophomore Nate Navigato and Batavia junior Micah Coffey. Payne scored 29 points in his final game, the best of anyone at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, leading the North Stars to fifth place. Payne averaged 23.8 points as the North Stars went 3-1. Navigato made the all-tournament team at East Aurora where Geneva won its last two games to finish fifth. Coffey’s 17.3 scoring average at Elgin led Batavia to a 3-1 record and third-place showing at Elgin’s Holiday Tournament.


Brian Hill.

Laura Stoecker/ St. Charles North's Quinten Payne dunks a shot in the first quarter of regional game on Wednesday, February 29.


Laura Stoecker.

Laura Stoecker/ Central Catholic's Geneva's in the third quarter on Friday, December 29. 25 31.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/3/2013 8:29 PM

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New Year’s Eve celebrations hopefully were enjoyed by all. Several local boys basketball teams and players also enjoyed solid if not stellar holiday tournaments.

Among them was Batavia. The Elgin Tournament may not be what it once was, but entering the holidays with losses in six of seven games — albeit a victory in its last pre-tourney game — Batavia needed something good to happen.

The Bulldogs got it with a third-place victory over Centennial, out of Las Vegas. In that game the Bulldogs surrendered the most points they have this season but also scored their season high in a 75-65 victory.

Batavia had four players score in double figures against Centennial — Jake Pollack, Mike Carlson, Mike Rueffer and Micah Coffey. Coffey was an all-tournament selection after averaging 17.3 points with a high of 21 in the opening win over consolation champion Harlan.

Aurora Christian forward Cory Windle was one of the stars of the 50th annual Plano Christmas Classic. The 6-foot-4 senior headed a strong rotation that saw no fewer than three Eagles reach double figures in any of the five games in their third-place finish at this quality small-school tournament.

The speedy Windle joined a cast including Haydn McNelis, Ryan McQuade, Johnathan Harrell, Paxton Singer and point guard Ryan Suttle that put up 94 points against Mendota and advanced to the semifinals against runner-up Belvidere. Overall Windle was second in “PARS” — points, assists, rebounds, steals — among all players at Plano. He averaged 17.2 points with a high of 31 against Mendota, and scored 12 points with 14 rebounds in Aurora Christian’s tourney opener against Streator.

St. Charles North senior guard Quinten Payne averaged 23.8 points to lead all players in scoring by nearly 2 points per game at the vaunted Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

More importantly, the Loyola-bound Payne headed a fast start at Pontiac. Payne, Justin Stanko, Alec Goetz and point guard Tony Near all reached double figures in the opening 66-58 win over Waukegan, the first time that’s happened this season.

That launched St. Charles North to the sought-after four-game stay at Pontiac, ending with a solid fifth-place finish in a 61-49 over Bloomington that featured Payne’s 29 points, most for any player at Pontiac.

West Aurora dealt St. Charles North its only defeat at Pontiac, on the way to the Blackhawks’ first title-game appearance since 2003. Beating Lockport, St. Charles North and Warren, coach Gordie Kerkman’s Blackhawks eventually lost to Simeon, 60-47.

Though Pontiac statminders confused West Aurora center Josh McAuley with backup center Rey Acevedo all tournament, McAuley’s impressive performance, which included 15 points and 7 blocked shots in a 69-22 win over Lockport, didn’t boggle those who named the 6-foot-7 senior first-team all-tourney. McAuley led all players with 16 blocks, while averaging 14.8 points and 7 rebounds. Point guard Jontrel Walker was second-team all-tourney, averaging 12.8 points and 3 assists.

St. Charles East point guard Dom Adduci did not earn all-tourney first- or second-team honors at Proviso West, but perhaps he should have. After suffering a poor-shooting game in the Saints’ opening 70-36 win over Von Steuben, Adduci averaged 19.3 points in the next three games. Even with the move to 32 teams, playing four games at Proviso is an accomplishment.

Lacking Kendall Stephens for the final two games due to recurrence of the shoulder injury that had his senior season in jeopardy from the start, Adduci got the Saints to that fourth game with a steal and half-court buzzer-beater to defeat Glenbard East 64-61. He added 5 assists and 4 steals in that game.

Marmion went 2-3 and finished fourth at DeKalb after losing for a second time to Hampshire in the third-place game, but it wasn’t for lack of success by several Cadets, most notably sophomore Jordan Glasgow. Coming off a Daily Herald player of the week nod after scoring at least 20 points in his prior two games, the 6-foot guard added a third straight 20-point game in a 72-68 win over Chicago Vocational and earned all-tourney at DeKalb.

Finally, Geneva assistant coach Rob Wicinski enjoyed a winning end to 2012 and a unique start to 2013. After helping head coach Phil Ralston guide the Vikings to a fifth-place finish at East Aurora — where sophomore guard Nate Navigato earned all-tourney honors and senior center Connor Chapman should have — Wicinski flew to Miami to watch his alma mater, Northern Illinois University, play in the Orange Bowl.

Geneva’s head football coach saw the Huskies lose 31-10 loss to Florida State. But if nothing else Wicinski was able to see former Vikings all-stater Michael Santacaterina, an NIU redshirt sophomore linebacker, draw Florida State into a personal foul on the opening kickoff.