Saint Viator’s boys’ basketball team is on a roll. Not only did the team go undefeated through the rigorous East Suburban Catholic Conference schedule this year, but now they are receiving their just rewards.
Just this week, Head Coach Quin Hayes ’95 was named ESCC coach of the year, while Jeremiah Hernandez ’19 was named co-player of the year with Morgan Taylor of Marist High School. What’s more, Peter Lambesis ’18 and Trevon Calvin ’19 also were named to the all-conference team.
The awards were announced before the team begins its journey in the IHSA state playoffs. They play Rolling Meadows at 7 p.m. tonight in the first round of the Class 4A regional at Niles North High School.
This is the first time since the 2011-12 season that the Lions have stood out among ESCC teams. Some six years ago, a similar season played out when the Lions went undefeated in conference play, and Coach Mike Howland won coach of the year and Kevin Walsh won player of the year.
Ironically, Walsh has returned this year to help coach the Lions. He is an assistant with the sophomore team, which wound up in a three-way tie for conference champs, and he sits on the bench during varsity games.
Hayes, too, was named to the ESCC all-conference team back when he played for Saint Viator. During his senior year, he averaged 25 points a game and was named the Daily Herald all-area captain, before he played Division I basketball at Monmouth University.
But he finds coaching far more rewarding than he did as a player, especially when he has a group like this year’s varsity team, which he describes as “unique.”
“They are all close, on and off the court,” Hayes says. “They do everything together, and they have forged a bond that has become very special.”
He also credits the senior leadership on the team, which he says is “outstanding.”
“They have a team-first attitude that makes them very unique,” Hayes adds. “They just want to win.”