Gator Boys Ready for Season Despite Delay

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Kad

Sophomore Brennon Clemmons, Jr. goes up for a shot during the Gator’s game against Lincoln High.

Kaden Meyer, GG Staff Writer

With this season starting later than usual, the North Star boys basketball team is excited to get the season started, even though their offseason has been one of the most challenging this team has ever faced. 

Even though they weren’t able to have a full summer or fall to get ready because of COVID-19, head coach Tony Quattrocchi still thinks he has a top team in the state. 

Coming into the season ranked in the top 10, this team is expected to compete for a Heartland Athletic Conference title and make a playoff appearance after the team went 16-8 last season, with returning starters seniors Kwat Abdelkarim and Josh Brown, who both received All-City honors last season. 

“ Kwat is definitely our top returning player, scorer and rebounder,” Quattrocchi said. “He’s getting a lot of preseason accolades and he’s one of the top 10 best players in Class A.” 

The team is young with the leaders Abdelkarim and Brown being the most experienced players on the team. 

Seniors DJ McGarvie, who coach expects to be a defensive anchor for the team, and Jake Seip have a lot of experience being leaders in football. This year coach expects Seip to be a big physical presence in the post with defense and sophomore Brennon Clemmons, Jr. to be the team’s leading rebounder. 

Clemmons, a 6’7” forward, missed all of last year with an injury. Even without playing in a high school game, he is still receiving D1 interest. 

“He’s going to go through some growing pains this year and it’s probably going to happen early in the year, but he has the potential to be a stretch post player,” Quattrocchi said.  Coach Quattrocchi thinks he can be a shooting threat and score inside and be a rim protector. 

Some juniors who are expected to contribute to the team this year are Cooper Westlund, Jace Elliott, and Lynden Bruegman, Along with freshmen Kajaun Sidney and Jake Hilkemann. 

Quattrocchi thinks this team has a chip on its shoulder. The team wants to prove they don’t need Donovan Williams to be one of the best teams in the state. 

Last year, when he was coming back from an injury, this team was led by Abdelkarim and went 7-2. 

So far this Navigator team has gone 3-3 with a loss to Pius X in the HAC semifinals. 

Abdelkarim is currently averaging 23.3 points per game. Clemmons and Brown are following with 13 and 14 points per game and Clemmons is leading the team with eight rebounds per game. 

The Gators keep their season rolling this Saturday with a game against Gretna, the team that killed their playoff hopes last year.