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Plainfield Central's Justin Windt, sneaks up from behind to stop Oswego High School's Darion Reddick from completing a layup on Tuesday, January 8, 2012 at Oswego High School in Oswego IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
He doesn’t get top billing, but Darion Reddick may be a player whose time has come.
Look at Oswego’s team stat sheet and one sees the 6-2 senior is the Panthers’ third scoring option, his 10-point average trailing Elliott McGaughy (17 ppg) and Miles Simelton (18 ppg).
But Panthers coach Kevin Schnable sees much more than that.
“I’m so proud of Darion. He’s grown up as a person and developed as a player. He’s bought in, not only to what we try to do, but his role with that,” Schnable said.
McGaughy and Simelton were promoted to the varsity as freshmen. The next year, they were joined on varsity by classmates Jack Kwiatkowski, Jamaal Richardson and Josh Oros.
“He was on the freshman team as a freshman and sophomore team as a sophomore,” Schnable said of a player who made the most of his opportunities to play at those levels when classmates moved up.
He has moved into the starting lineup with the 6-2 McGaughy, 6-1 Simelton, 6-3 Richardson and 6-4 Kwiatkowski in what is virtually a four-guard, one-forward lineup.
“He’s more than just a third scorer for us. His aggressive play, get-out-and-attack play fits in with that open court style that we like,” continued Schnable.
Reddick has a nearly 1-to-1 steal-turnover ratio, averages 4.4 rebounds (behind McGaughy and Kwiatkowski) and shoots 59 percent (55-for-93) on two-pointers and 28 percent (34-for-120) on threes, for an overall 42 percent from the floor.
“He’s fearless attacking the basket and crashing the boards and he’s a recipient of kickouts when the other two (McGaughy and Simelton) attack the basket,” said Schnable, whose team heads into postseason play this week as the top seed in the 23-team Class 4A Bolingbrook Sectional that includes all of The Beacon-News coverage area’s large schools.
Schnable’s 26-2 Panthers lead the field at the Batavia Regional. No. 2 seed Benet Academy (24-4) hosts a regional. No. 3 Neuqua Valley (26-2) heads the group at Oswego East that could be a District 204 tournament with No. 6 Waubonsie Valley (20-7) and No. 11 Metea Valley (18-9) also there, and No. 4 West Aurora (20-6) tops Wheaton Warrenville South’s Regional.
Oswego opens Tuesday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Monday’s game between (16) Plainfield East and (17) Batavia.
“That’s tricky,” Schnable said. “We could get either Batavia on its homecourt or (conference rival) Plainfield East a third time. We’re confident in our kids and this has been a group that doesn’t seem to care who they play or when they play, they just like to come out and play.”
District 204 Tourney?
“It was just one of those deals, the way it unfolds (based on seeding),” Waubonsie Valley coach Steve Weemer said of a regional field that includes the three district rivals. “It happens every once in awhile. Last year, we didn’t see either one in our regional.”
His Warriors enter on a seven-game winning streak and are 10-1 in the new year, their last loss a 50-47 setback at Neuqua Valley, which has a seven-game streak itself.
Waubonsie opens Tuesday against the winner of Monday’s game between Metea and four-win East Aurora while Neuqua takes on the winner of (14) Oswego East and (19) Hinsdale South.
“Metea is a very good ball club, they’ve won 18 games and we split with them,” said Weemer. “If it’s them, every possession will be a battle.”
Santa Clara University-bound Jared Brownridge (20 ppg) leads the Warriors, but Weemer said his team’s play has improved as everyone has settled into their roles and pointed to the play of Bryan Jefferson.
“Bryan has really elevated his game,” the coach said of his 6-7 forward who averages 5.2 rebounds and 15.7 points on strong 64 percent (163-for-256) shooting from the floor.
“Javares Stewart and Jack Cordes have been doing a nice job defending and rebounding and Gary Sutton has stepped up to run the point well for us, too.”