Woodstock hoopsters adjust to changes after losing several starters
Four starters are gone from last season's excellent Woodstock boys basketball team, but there is experience back this season.
Senior guard Matt Shook, senior forward Josh Turner and senior center Blake Brainard form the experienced nucleus for the Blue Streaks, who went 18-8 last season.
“With most of our players playing varsity basketball for the first time or being asked to play different roles than they have in the past, it's hard to predict what this season will look like,” Head Coach Al Baker told the McHenry Times prior to the start of the season.
Baker said he liked the energy in the first few weeks of preseason practice and is looking forward to watching the team grow during the season.
Other seniors on this year's team include Alex Mueckenhoff, Justin Leith and Drew Kohley.
Woodstock has won at least one postseason game each season since 2011, according to ihsa.org. The program's most recent trip to the sectionals was in 2013.
According to the team's schedule on the Woodstock page on il.8to18.com, the Blue Streaks opened this season with a 2-2 record through Dec. 1.
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The top two players this season for the Hurricanes are expected to be 6-foot-9 senior power forward Sam Ohlrich and 6-4 senior guard Jack Moscinski, Head Coach Jim Sarther said.
“We should be very competitive playing in the tough (East Suburban Catholic Conference),” Sarther told the McHenry Times.
Other seniors on this year's squad include Colin Rebenstorf and Matt Schneider.
According to www.maxpreps.com, the Hurricanes went 17-10 last season.
Last season's berth in the regional final was the fourth in the last seven seasons for the program, which last reached the sectionals in 2014, according to ihsa.org.
The Hurricanes had a 2-1 record through Dec. 1, according to il.8to18.com.
The Hornets have moved on from the Big Northern Conference to the Kishwaukee River Conference (KRC) beginning this season.
Two key returning players from last season's 10-19 team are senior guards Eric McDowell and Roy Amaya Jr. New players to watch include senior forward Miguel Valadez, and junior forwards Hector Chavera, Pablo Peralta and Rafael Escobar.
Head Coach Donnie Nolen told the McHenry Times that the Hornets had a good Summer League season this year, with the squad bonding well.
“Being in the new KRC will bring us new challenges that the team is looking forward to taking on,” Nolen said.
Other teams in the KRC are Central, Johnsburg, Marengo, Richmond-Burton, Woodstock and Woodstock North.
Harvard will be looking to get back on track in the postseason. According to ihsa.org, the program has won one postseason game in the last five seasons.
The Hornets opened the season by playing in the Westminster Christian Tournament in Elgin, which ran from Nov. 22-26. Harvard dropped its first two games of the tourney, but came back to win its final two contests to have a 2-2 record through Nov. 30.
Note: Not all teams returned information requests from the Times.
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