Marco Basso-Luca surveyed the scene before him on Saturday morning — a sparse gym, the only fans being parents and cheerleaders, both essentially mandatory attendants — so he ditched the microphone. He would be heard just fine without it. Just outside the Wheaton High School gym where the coach stood, a woman yawned and voiced her desire for some coffee.
It wasn’t exactly the scene that comes to mind when picturing a senior night — normally a raucous occasion with a packed gym and high emotions — if not because the ceremony was being held at 10 a.m., about nine hours before one would typically take place.
The snow had done its worst, rescheduling Wheaton’s Friday night matchup with John F. Kennedy to Saturday morning.
“It was more like senior morning,” Wheaton shooting guard Mikey Patterson said.
“I kind of wish we could have moved the game back to next week,” Basso-Luca said. “I think more parents could have showed up for the kids and come out for senior night. It is what it is so both teams had to deal with a 10 in the morning start.”
The ceremony getting moved was inconvenient, sure, but what was a bit more of a concern was how the players would respond to playing a game a good nine hours earlier than normal, on a day generally reserved for light shoot-arounds and walk-throughs.
“Most of these kids don’t even eat breakfast, man,” said former Wheaton coach Sharief Hashim, who walked out Patterson for the occasion. “They’ll just have some juice or a soda or something.”
Kennedy’s Keif Williams and Bruke Hawkins, who scored 22 and 14 points, respectively, in the 59-57 overtime win, weren’t too concerned, and neither was their coach, Diallo Nelson.
“Obviously it’s unusual,” Nelson said. “The only time I can remember having a 10 o’clock start is in a tournament situation or, even back in the day, at the boys’ club. But I think for them it’s very unusual.”
Fortunately for Kennedy, Nelson has his team awake and practicing at 8:30 every Saturday morning, and it showed as the Cavaliers leapt out to an 11-2 lead and never trailed for a single possession.
“Playing AAU — well, the good teams, they play at 8:30 in the morning,” Williams said. “So I’m kind of used to it.”
“Yeah, just playing AAU gets you ready,” Hawkins agreed. “Most of the guys play AAU over the summer and you have to wake up at eight and play an early game so I was used to it.”
IAC Championship, TBD Saturday
Bullis is seeking to defend its title and perfect conference run.