February 27, 2014 – Spartans’ Season Ends - After a successful first half of the season and rough section to start the conference season, the Spartans were starting to play like a conference contender until one night in early February. The Spartans were on the road at Oakton in a must win situation to keep pace with the leaders when tragedy struck and Zach Cooper went down. The final seven games of the season were never the same.
“We were playing really well going into Oakton that night,” said Coach Nosbisch. “We were playing really well in the first six minutes, and then our season took a sudden change. I will not call it a negative change because having Cooper still with us could never be categorized as a negative,” he continued. “But that event really put a lot of things into perspective and basketball just wasn’t that important anymore.”
The Spartans would limp into the playoffs with injuries occurring to Brock Ralphs, Raynard Judkins, and Ryan Ritchie over the final seven games. The Spartans would lose road games at Lake County, Moraine Valley, and McHenry while losing a home game to Waubonsee. They would win home games over McHenry and Morton, which prevented Morton from winning the title outright in the regular season finale.
“We played that regular season finale without Brock, Coop, and Ryan and Raynard was not at 100%, but our kids battled,” said Nosbisch. “Nick Nekola got his first start of the season that day, and he played well along with John Leigeber and all the other guys.”
The Spartans would receive the #6 seed for the Region IV playoffs and travel to Olive-Harvey who was the #3 seed and a 20 win team. The Spartans would go toe to toe with the Panthers for the first 30 minutes of the game before running out of gas as Olive-Harvey would pull away and eventually win 100-83 ending the season for the Spartans.
“We came to win, but without Cooper and all the injuries we had over the last three weeks, we just ran out of gas,” said Nosbisch. “I am so proud of our guys,” he continued. “We could have quit and just called it a season when everyone went down. But we didn’t. That is a testament to the guys in this program.”
The Spartans will say goodbye to four sophomores including First Team All-Conference performers Zach Cooper and Brock Ralphs as well as John Leigeber and student assistant coach Cullen Lange. “I can’t say enough about those four guys,” said Nosbisch. “They are great kids that not only played hard but represented this program as good students as well.”
The Spartans will now turn their focus to the recruiting class for next year. “We have nine freshmen and six of them played valuable minutes this year,” said Nosbisch. “With the combination of incoming freshmen we could be really special next year, but it will take a lot of work. We can’t wait to get started.” More»
Spartans Moving On
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