Boys Basketball: Balance key early in season for Marist
By Pat Disabato email@example.com January 8, 2014 9:08PM
Marist's Jeremiah Ferguson goes to the basket over Richards' Jordan Cottrell. | Stacia Timonere~For Sun Times Media
Updated: February 10, 2014 11:12AM
With its entire starting lineup from the 2012-13 season having graduated in the spring, Marist was expected to struggle, at least in the early going.
The RedHawks, however, have built an 11-2 record, primarily on the strength of tenacious defense and balanced scoring.
“It’s been a really good start to the year,” Marist coach Gene Nolan said. “We didn’t have experience, but this group practices hard and plays hard.”
Four of the five starters are averaging double digits in points, led by senior Nic Weishar (15 points, 10 rebounds), who sat out all of last season, the result of a shoulder injury suffered during the 2012 football season. With an additional 30 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame, Weishar appears better than ever.
Sophomore Kevin Lerma (12 points) and juniors Bradley Hill (11.4) and Jeremiah Ferguson (10 points, 5 assists) have provided consistent scoring. Senior Brian Holland is averaging 7.5 points and has picked up the pace considerably lately.
Seniors Ryan Tucker and Ken Rivard and freshman Romelo Burrell also have contributed too.
“It’s really helped us that we’ve had balanced scoring,” Nolan said. “Teams can’t key on any one individual. Plus, the senior class has really done a nice job leading and mentoring the younger kids.”
Tinley Park eyes turnaround
It’s at times has been a frustrating season for Tinley Park. Look no further than the McDipper for proof. The Titans were 0-3 at the tournament, suffering two losses by three points apiece.
It’s been a case of close, but no cigar for coach D.J. Brown’s squad, which is 4-8.
“We played well enough to win two of those games at the McDipper,” Brown lamented.
The Titans are small — not a single player on the roster stands taller than 6-3. However, speedy guards Kevin Dorsey, Billy Johnson, Tremayne Hollis and Deangelo Kelly can handle the ball and produce points. At 6-3, Olufemi Elutilo is expected to provide an inside presence, though his skills are more suited to shooting guard or small forward.
“We don’t have much size, so we have to rely on our defense,” said Elutilo, a senior. “When we play good defense, we’re usually successful.”
Player of the Week
Tyler Ulis, of Marian Catholic, is the SouthtownStar Boys Basketball Player of the Week.
Ulis, a 5-foot-9 senior, registered 28 points, six assists and four rebounds during the Spartans’ 75-58 win over Thornton in the McDipper Tournament championship. The Kentucky recruit then produced a 26-point, six-assist, six-steal effort in Marian Catholic’s 74-60 win over Detroit Country Day at the Muskegon Showcase Classic.