North Boys Basketball 2019

Holden Paddock, Sports Reporter

Belvidere North’s basketball team looks to rebound in conference this season after finishing in 7th place in 2018. North finished last season 16-16 overall, which was the most wins for any North basketball team, and 8-11 in the NIC-10 Conference. The good news about last season, North was all juniors. With the majority of their players coming back, North plans on taking the conference by surprise and finishing in the top two. Another positive outlook for this year is the fact that North drops down to 3A during the postseason and plans on making a deep run into the state tournament. Anything short of that will be a disappointment.

The biggest news during the offseason for North is three-year varsity starter, Holden Paddock (’20), has decided not to play this season. He is gearing up for baseball, the sport he will be playing in college next year. This is a huge loss for North, since Paddock is a leader on the court and you can’t replace three years of varsity experience or his overall unselfish athleticism and knowledge of the game.

“I have always loved the game, but didn’t feel that connection with the program. I need to be in the weight room working on getting faster and stronger so I am ready for baseball in college. Basketball just wore down my body and I had to prioritize my goals during high school, said Holden Paddock (’20).

Another blow to North to start the season is that All-Conference, John Carlson (’20), is out until mid-December after coming off of Labrum surgery – an injury he sustained during the football season.  Carlson is the staple to the North team this season and is a two-year varsity starter. Carlson is a difference maker for North with his physical inside play. Carlson is the best “big” North has had in the history of the school and should have a dominating season once he is healthy and back on the court. Josh Triplett (’20), another returning starter for North last season will miss the start of the season as well, as he heals from a broken clavicle which happened during football.

North does return two healthy starters to this year’s team. Zach Reidenbach (’20) is a returning starter and three year varsity player.  Anthony Espensen (’20) was North’s main scorer last season and these two will look to lead North early on. Reidenbach and Espensen are “game changers” and with Zach running the point he will look to either score or find Anthony open on the wing. Matthew Bucher (’20) was also a key member of North’s 2018 team and will be looked to for huge minutes. Espensen was a huge factor for North last season and will look to lead North in scoring once again. These three will be the nucleus for North until the return of Carlson and Triplett. Caden Brannan (’20) will also be looked to this season for his lock-down defense.

North opens up their season in their annual Crystal Lake Central Thanksgiving Tournament. North tips off their season on Nov. 25 at 5:00 against Geneva. The also play Nov. 27 against Prarie Ridge, Nov. 29 against Crystal Lake Central, and Nov. 30 against Mchenry. North will roll into this tournament with high hopes and plans of walking away as Champions.

Once North is healthy and is at full strength with the return of Triplett and Carlson, they will be ready to compete with any team in the area and will look to win North’s first conference and sectional title.