GENEVA – Hudson Kirby is just beginning to scratch the surface of what he can be for Geneva on a nightly basis.
The 6-foot-5 Vikings junior is putting it on display in the first several weeks of the season. His 15-point, nine-rebound effort in a loss to Wheaton Warrenville South on Dec. 1 is just the latest example.
“I feel like I bring a positive impact on the offensive side and the defensive side, which is my goal,” Kirby said. “I also was glad that I was able to make such an impact against their 1-2–2 zone from the middle of the floor.”
Kirby got off to a hot start to the season dating back to the Bob Schick Thanksgiving Tournament, averaging eight points, five rebounds and three and a half blocks per game in the four-game stretch. The assertiveness on the court is an aspect he looked to improve upon from last season.
“Absolutely, I want to be more aggressive this year,” Kirby said. With losing so much to graduation, we barely returned any players who impacted the game last year. And I want to show how much I’ve been working on my game.”
The Vikings are also breaking in sophomore Gabe Jensen at point guard after now-graduated Mick Lawrence was at the helm for three seasons.
“I’ve been really impressed on how he’s translated from freshman year. He looks settled and not like he’s a sophomore,” Kirby said. “I’ve been really impressed on how his vision has been with finding me in the middle and other teammates in transition.”
Vrankovich competes hard in close loss
St. Charles East senior forward Jacob Vrankovich didn’t score his first basket of their 39-30 loss to Wheaton North until 4:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, but despite the modest offensive dry spell, he still pulled down six rebounds and played tight defense to stay active in a tight game.
“He impacts the game in so many ways,” Saints coach Rob Klemm said. “He can guard so many different positions. He was guarding [Falcons guard Jack Speers] in the perimeter, but we put him [down low] because we know he likes to get in the post and play. ...
“[Jake] just makes smart decisions with the basketball‚ and we can get him in the middle of that zone and go on, attack it and make the right play. He doesn’t need to score to affect the game, and that’s one of the things we always look at.
“ ‘How are you impacting the game when the ball is not going in?’ That’s a question we never have with Jake.”
Stumm, Anderson, Stewart getting it done for Marmion
Marmion’s Evan Stumm has seen the work of both Caden Anderson and Matthew Stewart up close.
The trio is paving the way for the Cadets after graduating an entire starting five from last year’s supersectional team.
“These are both guys whose experience on the team last year and dedication to their travel teams in the offseason helped get them ready for this year,” Stumm said. “Although neither of them got a ton of playing time last year, they both learned what is required to play at the varsity level. I know Caden has done nothing but stay in the gym all offseason, so there is no surprise on his performances so far this season.”
Stumm and Anderson turned in strong performances to close November in a 70-64 win over Marian Central Catholic. Stumm had 25 points and three steals. Anderson popped in 19 points and eight rebounds, while Stewart added 11 points. On Dec. 1 in a close loss to IC Catholic, Anderson led with 12 points on the night.
“Matthew, on the other hand, I have been competing against since the fifth grade,” Stumm said. “He has always been a great scorer and plays with a ton of energy. This summer, he came over to M14 Hoops to play AAU. Being the leader on his team definitely improved his ability to be a true point guard. He is definitely going to be a major key in our team’s success throughout the year.”