Boys Basketball: Red Devils 'On the Radar' After 17-win Season
Second-year head coach Nick Latorre's Hinsdale Central team won 12 more games this season than it did in his first year.
The Hinsdale Central boys basketball team’s 17-10 record in 2011-12 looks a lot different than its 2010-11 record of 5-19, but second-year head coach Nick Latorre said this season’s success was due in part to the struggles of last season, when key players were able to get valuable experience.
“I think that last year’s group set the foundation for this year,” Latorre said.
Senior Tom Garvin was one of those key players this season, and even after Hinsdale Central’s season-ending regional championship loss to Downers South on March 2, he couldn't help but look back fondly on his first winning season as a Red Devil.
“It was a blast, man,” said Garvin, who averaged 13.4 points per game this season and led the team in rebounding with 5.9 per game. “I had the time of my life … and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to do it with.”
The Red Devils started strong with a 5-1 record early and finished strong by winning six of their last eight games. Notable victories included a 33-point victory over York on Dec. 2, a rivalry win over Lyons Township on Feb. 17, and a first-round playoff win against Waubonsie Valley on Feb. 29.
Hinsdale Central swept season series against Downers North and Glenbard West, and split two games with Proviso West.
Latorre said his team didn’t have any wins-related goals this season, but they did hit short-term goals, such as holding certain opponents to under 50 points or hitting a certain assist-to-turnover ratio in a particular game.
“We just say, let’s try to play to our full potential, let’s focus on every possession, and let's be as good as we can be on every possession,” Latorre said.
Seniors graduating this spring are Garvin, Brad Anlauf, who led the team with 13.6 points per game, Peter Thaus and Riley Strumillo.
“They really got things going in the right direction to build a good program,” Latorre said of his senior class. “They did the right things; they worked hard; they were very coachable and good leaders. All of that stuff is going to be missed.”
But there will likely be plenty of familiar faces and a similar carry-over effect next year for a Red Devils team that featured 10 juniors, two sophomores, and a freshman.
Junior point guard Brian Owens (8.1 points per game) and freshman forward/center Matt Rafferty (7.5 points per game) led all Red Devils underclassmen in scoring this year, and returning Red Devils who logged significant varsity minutes include juniors Chase Hamilton, Alec Hutcherson and Rigas Pappas, and sophomore Ian Bunting.
Latorre said he told his team at its end-of-season meeting last week that they need to continue to move forward and get better.
“I’m optimistic about what we have coming back in the future,” the coach said.
With Latorre at the helm, supporters of the program have reason to be optimistic, too. The departing Anlauf was asked if he thinks the coach will be around for a long time.
“[He will] if he keeps putting together 17-win seasons,” Anlauf said with a smile. “He’s a great coach. … This program has great years to come.”
“He put us on the radar,” Garvin said.