Basketball Season Preview

John Shlaefke, Sports Writer

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With the fall sports season coming to a close, the Raider faithful can turn their attention to the basketball teams. Similar to other Glenbard South sports in the 2018-2019 year, the new conference poses rigorous challenges for the boy’s and girl’s basketball teams.


With a current enrollment of 1,201 students, Glenbard South is by far the smallest school in the new conference, which ranges between 1,975 and 3,724 students. At times, the teams may struggle to match the talent these teams with a larger pool of high schoolers to select from.


Therefore, former IBCA Boys High School Coach of the Year Award winner and head coach of the men’s basketball team, Wade Hardtke, will have his biggest challenge to date.


Coach Hardtke acknowledges this obstacle and is looking forward to the opportunity.  “I am expecting that this is going to be an upgrade for us from, top to bottom, every team in there is a quality team and every night could be a dog fight.”


After a disappointingly early exit in the first round to St. Francis, Coach Hardtke and the Glenbard South boys’ basketball team hope for a return to the sectionals round of IHSA playoffs. With their hardest schedule in Glenbard South history, it will not be smooth sailing throughout the season. It may be difficult to imagine last year’s team competing in the Upstate Eight and the 2018-2019 team will be the underdog for many of its games. However, there is reason to have high expectations as they return a tremendous amount of talent.


Last year’s small senior class had only two basketball players which provided valuable opportunities for growth and experience to the current senior class. Key returning contributors from the 2017-2018 team such as Kevin Enright, Tavion Keith, Tommy Powers, Spencer Pyle, Ryan Herrington and Cole Hardtke look to set the tone for the Raider’s debut into the Upstate Eight conference.


Senior Tommy “Longshot” Powers mentions that improvements can be made to increase their chances of success.


“We could improve on playing together on both sides of the court, like playing team defense and working the ball around better” exclaimed Powers.


Senior Ryan Harrington has faith in Coach Hardtke’s strategies and says he has the teams support.


“I think that (coach) Hardtke is a tremendous influence, play by play, he will ensure that we thoroughly enjoy, succeed and finish our plays to win games” said Harrington.


While the girl’s Glenbard South basketball team also ended in a playoff loss last year, the Raiders were able to reach the state semifinals and secure a third place finish- the highest in Raider basketball history. Head coach Morgan Kasperek hopes to reconstruct a state-caliber team after losing a plethora of irreplaceable seniors from last year’s historic run. However, she will have the luxury of relying on her all-state 6’2 center in Maggie Bair. Bair committed to play division one basketball at Drake last year and is eager to face competitive new conference and the heightened expectations.


“We hope to win this new conference the first year in it, new competition but we should be able to rise to the occasion. We obviously want to make another strong postseason run, make this season better than the last” Spoke Biar.


Bair also spoke about continuing their success with team goals.


“Always rising up to the level of our competition, playing hard every game, and competing everyday, whether it’s practice or a game- competing at our highest level everyday” continued Bair.


Bair knows the hard work it takes to achieve at the highest level and she believes the inexperienced players will rise to the occasion with their expanding roles.


“We have strong, young returners(players) coming back, and I’m confident they will fill the leadership roles from last year. Although we did lose some strong players, we will still compete our hardest everyday, and maintain the intensity we played with last year.”


On top of a fancy trophy for the showroom, Bair and the Raiders took learned a lot from the incredible 2017-2018 run.


“I think that showed us that as long as we compete hard- we can hang with anyone. It was a tough to lose, but it helps us come back this year with high expectations and big goals”  Said Bair.


The football season showed an impressive turnout in the student section for both home and away games. In the past, Glenbard South has not been known for a loud student section. A change in culture is due as Glenbard South joins the Upstate Eight in order to match the intensity of the bigger schools.


Senior point guard Kevin Enright shares the feeling as he was the fan section during the football season.


“A basketball game is the best place for a huge student section. In basketball, crowds have the ability to change the game. In a gym, the chants from the students echo allowing the student section to be heard and impact the game mightily. Whether it’s distracting a free throw shooter or getting loud when the team goes on a run. Schools in the new Upstate Eight conference have huge student sections, East Aurora gets an entire side of the bleachers full for their games, making it a tough place to play for anyone that plays there. We have strong teams, both boys and girls, that would be even more successful with the student body rallying behind them” Enright said.


Likewise, Bair echoes Enright’s plea for a larger turnout for home and away games in the student section.


“We had a decent amount of people come out to our playoff games last year, and the energy they had was contagious. The energy in the stands is contagious on the court, and it feels great to know people are supporting us… and we’re a pretty good team” Bair preached.


With a lot of question marks entering the season, the Raider fans are in for an entertaining year.

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