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Basketball Knights End Season With Both Conference and Regional Titles

The Knights Basketball season ended yesterday with a 58-51 defeat to Rockford Christin in the IHSA Sectional Game. This wrapped up one of the best seasons in Northridge history. With a 26-8 overall record, a conference championship, and a regional title, the basketball team’s performance this year was remarkable. 

Their Regional Title game was a nailbiter. Facing Timothy Christian away in Elmhurst, Northridge responded with one of the biggest superfan turnouts for an away game. “We’ve never had that many people show up for an away game,” said Mr. McGovern. “It was awesome.” 

Up 38-31 in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Knights’ lead slowly started to diminish until the Trojans eventually tied it at 40. With fifteen seconds remaining, the Knights forced a turnover. With possession of the ball,  Northridge point guard Matt McKenna dribbled the ball at half court until time started to become of serious importance. From the screen set by James Spingola, McKenna drove to the basket and scored with 4 seconds remaining. After a failed attempt by the Trojans to respond, the Knights were Regional Champions. Northridge’s success on the court this year could’ve been possible without the outstanding leadership of the team’s seniors. Matt McKenna, Owen Coleman, Peter Rzepniewski, Owen Mongoven, Javi Gomez, James Spingola, Franco Chapello, Thomas Smith, and Jack Brown all helped create a winning team and a better culture for the entire basketball program. 

 

Here’s what some of our seniors had to say about their experience on the varsity basketball team this year:

“Basketball created our friendship. The reason why we were such a successful team this year is because we were such good friends. When you pair hard work with friendship, you create a strong team bond. That’s why we performed so well.” 

-Peter Rzepniewski.

“We have talks during practices. A lot of it is basketball, and a lot of it also pertains to becoming a man. Most of us will not play basketball in college, so he’s preparing us to be a better person in the long term. This includes us getting jobs and getting married especially.” 

-James Spignola

“Winning regionals at Timothy Christian was a special moment because it really spoke to the maturity of the group of guys we had playing. Even after we won we were still at practice the next day trying to get better.”

-Tommy Smith 

The School couldn’t be more appreciative and proud of the leadership that the seniors displayed this year. “This is a group of seniors who really understood the culture of our program and both embraced and embodied it,” said Varsity Coach Will Rey. “They did a tremendous job reestablishing our culture which was compromised by the Covid year.” 

 

Coach Pat Hunt’s junior varsity team also put on an extraordinary display of talent this year. With 27 wins and only 4 losses, junior varsity took their conference championship as well. Standout players such as Javi Christoffel (‘24), Thomas Hunt (‘24), and Pat Hanretty (‘24) led the JV team to an impressive season.

 

The school would also like to recognize the endless effort of our Superfan leaders. Joe Paschall, Chris Calderisi, and Dan Kaiser especially engaged students in chants and cheers.  Though heavy amounts of talent will be lost with the current seniors, the Knights Basketball Team is still looking dangerous next year. With upcoming seniors Timmy O’Toole, Nick Budge, Josh Keston, & Jonah Fairbank, next year’s seniors have the talent and the leadership that Northridge Basketball needs to succeed. “Senior leadership and passing the baton is intrical,” said Coach Rey. “I see no reason why next year’s seniors, led by Jonah Fairbank, won’t carry the mantle.”

Written by Joe Rudolph ’22

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