The second week of the season didn’t disappoint, with a number of high-caliber games over the last few days. Here are the week 2 players of the week as well as 5 other things that were good to see.
Andrew Soenksen (Plainfield East)
Soeknsen followed up a big holiday week with a few more impressive showings. He put up 25 points and had 12 rebounds for Plainfield East while adding four blocks in that game. Earlier in the week, the versatile 6-foot-8 senior also had 15 points in another win.
Al Brooks (Hansberry)
Brooks exploded for 50 points, 16 rebounds, and nine blocks to add to what has been a terrific start to his sophomore year. To this point, he is one of the top scorers and rebounders in the entire state.
Calvin Robins (Kenwood)
In a big week for the high-flying junior forward, Robins capped it off with a 13-point fourth quarter to power Kenwood over a top-level Joliet West team. He finished that game with a game-high 21 points but was also a disruptive defender around the paint and showed his rebounding ability. He also had an 18-point, 10-reboud game where he had three blocks and put up another double-double of 14 points and 10 boards to start the week.
Danny Stephens (Augusta Southeastern)
After a 50-point performance last week, Stephens impressed with a huge 49-point game. The Missouri commit is a legitimate threat to average 30 points this season with his slashing, finishing, and shooting at 6-foot-7 and should make Southeastern a contender.
DJ Douglas (Yorkville Christian)
Carrying a heavy load for Yorkville Christian, Douglas tied a school record with 51 points and went for 37 points in another game this week. It’s not often that you see high school players regularly drop this many points in a week, but Douglas is in a situation that requires it. He is a D1/D2 level guard.
Jalen Griffith (Simeon)
Griffith shined with 24 points in a victory over one of the 4A favorites in St. Rita. He is so skilled and quick with the ball and never seems sped up. Griffith put on a playmaking display both as a scorer and passer against Rita and was one of the standouts of the Chicago Elite Classic.
JJ Hernandez (Glenbard North)
In what may have been the best week of his high school career thus far, Hernandez had a couple of good games. He had a 32-point game, a 22 point game with five boards, and a third game where he had 10 points and 12 rebounds. The long, lanky junior is starting to put the pieces together and is on track for a breakout year.
Kelton McEwen (Bartlett)
McEwen hit a game-winner and made some big shots during Thanksgiving week. That poised, cold-blooded approach continued in a game against Geneva where he sunk three foul shots at the end of the game to win. He finished with 23 points in that game and had 21 in another game later in the week. McEwen is a heady talented junior point guard averaging over 20 points so far this season and has shown the ability to take over and finish games.
Nate LaPlant (Andrew)
It’s been a while since a player in Illinois hit double-digit threes, but LaPllant buried 11 shots from deep en route to a 45-point game for Andrew. His length and shooting range make him a dangerous threat, especially alongside the other size that they have. Don’t expect this to be the last time that LaPlant has a high-scoring output from deep.
Sean Reynolds (DeKalb)
Reynolds was on fire and went off for 28 points and eight made threes against Glenbard West. That final three came right before the buzzer of overtime off of a baseline out of bounds play, handing the Hiltoppers their first loss to an in-state opponent since the spring of 2021. Reynolds has made great strides both physically and with his game since his freshman season and looks ready to become one of the better guards in the area.
5 Things I Loved To See:
1. Jalen Griffith’s Pace
2. DeKalb’s Late Game Execution
DeKalb had a game-tying lob play in regulation and then ran this BLOB play for sniper Sean Reynolds to get a corner three to win it just before the buzzer.
3. Top Point Guards Going At It
4. Benet’s Backcourt
Brady Kunka (#3), Niko Abusara (#23), Brayden Fagbemi (#0), and Andy Nash (#10) had an impressive collective performance from the perimeter for Benet at the Chicago Elite Classic.
5. A Perfect Backdoor Set
There are a lot of creative ways to set up a backdoor. This play from Rolling Meadows involved a perfect pass from a skilled big in Mark Nikolich-Wilson and a nice set-up and hard cut from rising sophomore Ian Miletic before the emphatic dunk