Basketball notebook: Sean Maynard’s perseverance pays off with roster spot for Princeton

Princeton's Sean Maynard looks to shoot while Ottawa's Huston Hart races to defend during the Dean Riley Shootin' The Rock Thanksgiving Tournament on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023 at Kingman Gym.

Sean Maynard practiced every day with Princeton’s No. 1 ranked basketball team last year, knowing he was never going to see the floor or wear a uniform.

But a year later, it’s all paid off.

Maynard has played his way to a full roster spot on this year’s team. The PHS senior has played in 11 games, scoring 15 points with 13 rebounds and five assists.

“I think I put in a lot of work and it’s definitely getting me farther than what I would have if I didn’t do that,” Maynard said. “I’m getting a lot more minutes even when I did sophomore year. I just know a lot more what I’m doing. I got better in shooting. Just got better in everything basically.”

Tiger coach Jason Smith said Maynard, who did not play as a freshman, has definitely improved as a player.

“He’d be the first one to tell you by practicing with us all year last year has made him a better player,” he said. “He’s athletic and very active on the court. Plays hard and with passion. He’s a great teammate and everyone likes him.”

Princeton's Sean Maynard shoots a jump shot against Hall on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024 at Princeton High School.

Maynard has made a big impression on teammate Noah LaPorte.

“I’m so glad he made the team this year. Even though he didn’t make the team last year he showed up everyday and practiced with us to get everyone and himself better,” LaPorte said. “This year he still shows up every day with a positive attitude and he’s ready every time the coaches call his number. Couldn’t say enough about the attitude and perseverance Sean has.”

Maynard said it was cool to receive the Senior Night start last week.

“That was one my top moments for my basketball so far,” he said.

Salisbury fifth BV girl to score 1,000 points

Kate Salisbury became the fifth member of the 1,000-point club for the Bureau Valley girls basketball program when she dumped in 20 points in Wednesday’s loss to Erie-Prophetstown. The Storm senior now has 1,018 career points heading into Thursday’s game with Princeton.

Saige Barnett (2015-19), the Storm volleyball coach, is the all-time scoring leader with 1,426 points. She’s followed by Bethany Ellis (1996-98) at 1,284, Christen Hurley (2015-18) at 1,199 and Melanie Thompson (2007-10) at 1,147.

Bureau Valley senior Kate Salisbury launches a 3-pointer Tuesday night at Prouty Gym. The Storm won 55-45.

Tigers draw No. 4 sub-sectional seed

* Princeton (12-12). drew the No. 4 seed in the Class 2A Mendota sub-sectional and a probable assignment to the Prophetstown Regional with No. 1 seed Rock Falls (17-8). No. 2 Seneca (20-8) and No. 3 Riverdale (18-7) are likely headed to the Hall Regional with the No. 7 host Red Devils (11-13). No. 5 Bureau Valley (14-13) could go in either direction.

In the Class 1A Hanover sub-sectional A, Annawan drew the No. 2 seed, St. Bede the No. 10, LaMoille the No. 11 and DePue the No. 12.

Pairings will be announced Friday afternoon.

St. Bede girls ranked

The St. Bede girls have been playing as well as anyone in Class 1A and the state-wide media are taking notice.

The Bruins (24-7), who have won 13 straight games and have not lost since Dec. 28 in their holiday tournament, picked up nine points in this week’s Associated Press Class 1A Poll. Fifteen points were needed to crack the top 10.

Galena (25-1) remained at No. 1 for 1A girls with eight of nine first-place votes and 97 points followed by Orangeville (29-2) with one first-place vote and 77 points and Annawan (22-5) with 72 points. Serena (23-3) received two points and Wethersfield (23-4) gained one.

The other No. 1 ranked girls teams all retained their top billing with Peoria Notre Dame (26-4) in 2A, Lincoln (31-0) in 3A and Loyola (31-0) in 4A.

The Fieldcrest boys (24-1) moved up one spot in the 2A rankings to No. 7 with 67 points while Rockridge (20-5) stood firm at No. 10 with 24 points. Breese Central (26-2) gained 12 of 14 first-place votes and 155 points to remain at No. 1 with Peoria Manual (17-10) at No. 2 with two first-place votes and 124 points.

Serena (25-2) climbed up a spot to No. 7 for the 1A boys with 55 points. Effingham St. Anthony (25-4) stayed at No. 1 with 14 of 16 first-place votes and 158 points followed by Illini Bluffs (24-3) at No. 2 with two first-place votes and 134 points.

Keeping up with the Coopers

Ottawa boys coach Mark Cooper pulled even with the late Dean Riley for the most boys basketball coaching wins in program history with 332. Cooper played for Riley’s national finalists at IVCC.

His brother, Mike, who is retiring at the end of the school year as the school’s athletic director, is the all-time winningest coach for the Ottawa girls program with 410 wins over a 22-year career.

Both Cooper brother were standouts at Mendota.

Ottawa coach Mark Cooper coaches up his team during a huddle in Tuesday's game at Kingman Gymnasium. He tied Dean Riley for most coaching wins in program history with 332. Cooper played for Riley at IVCC.

Last-second shots

* St. Bede senior Ali Bosnich is 70 points away from 1,000 career points. The Bruins (24-7) played their last regular-season game Monday against Bureau Valley and take the top regional seed into the postseason at the 1A Marquette Regional.

* Kewanee senior Brady Clark has become the second all-time leader scorer for the Boilermakers with 1,697 career points. He passed up Matt Salisbury (1997-01), who had 1,634 while Donovan Oliver (2012-16) stands No. 1 at 2,355.

*Rockridge junior Landon Bull scored his 1,000th point for the Rockets’ in Thursday’s 69-37 win over Orion.

* Sterling senior Lucas Austin scored 20 points in Tuesday’s win over Galesburg to become the all-time leading scorer for Sterling boys basketball with 1,431 career points. He passed up the previous record of 1,430 points held by Joseph Bertrand (2009), who went on to play for the University of Illinois and professionally.

* Former Rock Falls hoops standout Jacob Junis signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Junis, 31, broke in with the Royals in 2017 and has a 38-45 record in the Big Leagues, including a two-year stint with the Giants (2022-23).