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Boys Basketball: Solid start for Rich South

Rich South's Denzel Kimbrough manages ball against Plainfield North for Tiger Thanksgiving Classic Championship Joliet West Saturday November 30th 2013

Rich South's Denzel Kimbrough manages the ball against Plainfield North for the Tiger Thanksgiving Classic Championship at Joliet West, Saturday, November 30th, 2013, in Joliet. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 20, 2014 8:32AM



Rich South coach Scot Ritter is a realist.

While he’s pleased with the Stars’ 6-2 start, he realizes his team still is a work in progress.

“We’ve played well enough to beat some teams,” he said. “When we play hard and are on the same page, we’re all right. But we have a ways to go yet.”

What concerns Ritter is when the Stars are not on the same page and how they react when their shots aren’t falling.

“We have not done a good job of dealing with adversity,” Ritter said. “Our intensity rises when we’re making shots. When our shots aren’t falling, our intensity suffers. We keep telling the kids that your intensity has to stay the same when your shots aren’t falling.”

For the most part, Rich South’s shots have been falling and the pieces of the puzzle have formed nicely. Bryce Lydon provides outstanding leadership. Denzel Kimbrough offers a dangerous threat from the perimeter. Miles McCoy gives the squad versatility, possessing the skills to contribute in many different ways. Jeremy Ruffin, brother of Rich South grad John Ruffin, delivers positive energy and a post presence.

With a lack of depth on the roster and the officials calling a much tighter game this season, Ritter has tweaked the Stars’ game plan.

“We’re not pressuring or extending our defense anymore,” Ritter said. “We’ll allow teams to beat us from the perimeter. We’re stressing to keep your guy in front of you.”

Lemont still solid

There’s no replacing Juozas Balciunas, the two-time All-Area selection now playing at Weatherford Junior College in Texas. Lemont, however, remains competitive, winning five of its first eight games.

Coach Rick Runaas, though, expects more from his squad.

“It’s mildly disappointing in my eyes,” Runaas said of the first eight games. “We need to be playing cleaner basketball. But we’re 5-3 and I can’t complain.”

Mike Wisz has been a force, averaging approximately 21 points per game. Luis Marquez has been a solid post presence, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds Friday against Oak Lawn. While not the prolific scorer Balciunas was, Ben Groselak has done a nice job handling the point.

“Ben has allowed us to get into our offense and has solidified the position,” Runaas said.

Player of the Week

Josh Meier, of Richards, is this week’s SouthtownStar Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

Meier, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds during the Bulldogs’ 65-56 win over T.F. South.



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