High school boys basketball insider: Jacobs' Kameron Mack is athlete of the week

Plus notes on regional seedings, Crystal Lake Central and more

Kameron Mack
Kameron Mack

Athlete of the Week

Kameron Mack, Jacobs, Sr., F

Mack scored 38 points in two victories as the Golden Eagles moved closer to their fourth consecutive Fox Valley Conference Valley Division or FVC championship.

With forward Ryan Phillips, Jacobs’ leading scorer, out with a broken bone in his right hand, the 6-foot-6 senior was the top scorer with 20 points in a 41-29 win over Huntley, then with 18 points in a 60-36 win over Crystal Lake South.

Mack had five 3-pointers in the two games.


Big loss: Jacobs will press on without forward Ryan Phillips and hope that the metacarpal bone in his right ring finger heals quickly. The Golden Eagles received the bad news last week that Phillips had suffered the injury against Hampshire on Feb. 2.

Phillips’ surgeon used a plate and screws to put the bone in place last week and said he could return to basketball in three to five weeks. If his recovery is on the short end, he might return by the regional championship on March 2.

Phillips, a 6-4 senior and third-year varsity starter, leads the Eagles in scoring (14.7), rebounding (6.5) and 3-pointers (44). He also averages 2.4 assists, 1.8 steals and is shooting 38 percent on 3s.

Crystal Lake Central coach Rich Czeslawski called Phillips “a phenomenal player” after the Eagles rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter for an overtime victory against the Tigers on Jan. 30.

“Phillips is an underrated defender,” McHenry coach Chris Madson said. “He guards really, really well.”

Jacobs will be trying to win a regional for the third consecutive season.

Much respect: Richmond-Burton coach Brandon Creason, a point guard himself at Rochelle and Western Illinois University, holds a special appreciation for great play at that position.

Creason marveled at the talents of Johnsburg junior Zach Toussaint in R-B’s 75-69 victory at Johnsburg on Friday. Toussaint is scoring 22.2 points a game and has 70 3s for the season. He scored 26 points and hit five 3s on Friday.

“We gave him different looks and tried to make it hard on him,” Creason said. “He’s tremendous. He hit some shots tonight that were flat-out incredible. I found myself when he hit one, he drove in and rose up at the elbow, we were draped on him and he hit it and I turned and said, ‘Wow, that was awesome.’ I found myself saying that, as a fan of basketball.”

What they needed: Central has a promising team of mostly juniors that has played well, but sometimes come up short in big moments. Czeslawski could not have been more proud of his team after Saturday’s 56-54 overtime win against McHenry, as the Tigers rallied from seven points down in the last 1:30 of regulation to force overtime.

Guard Will Welder swished a 3 at the buzzer of overtime for the victory.

It was a win that could mean more than others for Central.

“We’ve been looking for the kids to kind of show a ‘Hey, we are not going to lose this game’ attitude,” Czeslawski said after the win. “You saw it today.”

It came at an ideal time after the Tigers (14-10) dropped two overtime decisions in the previous week after late leads slipped away in regulation. Central, which has its most wins since 2013 (25-4), now looks to add a few more.

“We’ve had a couple tough losses the last couple games and we just have been learning and we executed from the stuff we did poorly in those games,” guard C.J. Lerum said.

Seedings are coming: The IHSA is set to release boys basketball regional pairings for Classes 3A and 4A at 4 p.m. Thursday. The nine local 4A schools will feed into the Jacobs Sectional, while the seven 3A schools are in the Woodstock North Sectional.

Jacobs, Cary-Grove, Dundee-Crown, Hampshire and Huntley are in Sub-Sectional A of the Jacobs Sectional, where D-C and St. Charles North will host regionals. Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, McHenry and Prairie Ridge are in Sub-Sectional B, where South and Auburn will host regionals.

The biggest question is where Jacobs will land now with its best player’s availability uncertain. The Eagles, Larkin, St. Charles East and St. Charles North likely will be the top four seeds in that sub-sectional.

In Sub-Sectional B, the highest seed likely will come from the Northern Illinois Conference-10. McHenry and Crystal Lake Central should be the highest-seeded local teams.

In 3A, Belvidere and Marengo will host regionals that send teams to the Woodstock North Sectional. Harvard, Johnsburg, Marengo, Marian Central, Richmond-Burton, Woodstock and Woodstock North all are in Sub-Sectional B of that tournament.

R-B (14-12), Johnsburg (13-11) and Marengo (13-8) have about the same number of wins, while Marian (9-16) has wins over R-B and Johnsburg and has played a difficult schedule in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.

What to Watch

Dundee-Crown vs. Crystal Lake Central

7 p.m. Friday

• D-C took control in the first matchup and won. The two teams have been back and forth in the No. 3 and 4 spots in the power rankings for the last month.

Jacobs vs. McHenry

• The Golden Eagles had won 18 consecutive FVC games heading into this week. McHenry was a game ahead of D-C in second place.

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