There have been plenty of ups for the Minooka varsity boys basketball team, which has a pair of four-game winning streaks and a three-gamer to its credit.
Those peaks have been surrounded by valleys, which include a four-game losing streak near the middle of the season and a span of five losses in six games which lasted into this month. The net result of the season is a 16-13 record which the Indians will take into Monday's Class 4A Thornwood Regional opener against Plainfield Central.
Senior point guard Darrin Myers has been through ups and downs before in his varsity career. The Indians finished with a .333 winning percentage when Myers was a sophomore before winning two-thirds of their games his junior year. Myers shared his thoughts with the Morris Daily Herald this week as the regional approached.
Q. You guys have been pretty streaky this season. Why is that?
A. I think a lot of it has to do with us being really young. We lost a big piece of our offense from last year. With me and (Jake) Hogen being the only two guys who have played significant minutes back, we have kind of been up and down. If we don't score, it kind of wavers if we're going to win or not.
Q. It seems like your first set of (Southwest Prairie) conference games went better than the second. Was there a reason for that, in your mind?
A. Our conference is pretty tough. We played hard every single game, but some teams just got the better of us towards the end. There were a lot of games where we just didn't score, and that's now our season has gone. We played great defense, but it come down to if we scored or not, in and out of our conference.
Q. You've played the team you will face in the regional opener, Plainfield Central, twice and won both. How does that make you feel about Monday?
A. It makes us feel good, knowing that we have beat them twice by double digits. We know we can beat them. The one thing is that it's tough playing three games in a row against somebody and having them all be the same type of game. The good thing about them being in our conference is that we have a lot of scouting tapes on them to study. We want to come out and play with discipline, and hopefully come out with a victory.
Q. What, if anything, do you know about the other teams at the regional?
A. We don't really know much. We know a little bit about Lincoln-Way North, but that's about it.
Q. How has your role changed on the team since your sophomore season?
A. My sophomore year, I was more of a role player. My coach asked me to move to point guard as a junior, and that was the year we had a 20-win season. I averaged about 9 points a game, and this year, coach asked me to increase my scoring into the 12- to 15-point range. So I've kind of adjusted to that. I was always used to scoring, but this year, I've had to change from being strictly a point guard to now, where I'm scoring more.
Q. When and how did you get started in basketball?
A. I got started at 3 years old, when my dad introduced me to the game. Both of my cousins were older than me. They were always traveling around, playing AAU basketball, and I would go and watch them play.
Q. I saw you've played (travel ball) for the Illinois Attack. How did you hook up with them?
A. I've known some of the guys that played for them before I got with them. Myself and Miles Simelton from Oswego, who I started playing AAU ball with in fourth grade, got hooked up with some guys who told me they were looking for guys to fill some spots. That was three years ago, and I've been there ever since.
Q. Minooka's program has come a long way in the past few years. What accomplishment makes you most proud?
A. The 20 wins in a season, because we had the same team my sophomore year and went 10-20. We made some changes between those two years, and one of them was me moving to point guard and getting better looks for our shooters. To go 20-10 with the same team we had been 10-20 with the year before was a great accomplishment.
Q. What do you still hope to accomplish before your career ends?
A. I want to go deep in the tournament — hopefully win a regional championship and then hopefully go on from there.
Q. Post-graduation, what do you want to do in basketball?
A. I plan on playing at the next level. I have been contacted by a lot of Division I coaches. Right now, it's just about picking what situation I want to be in and seeing what school is the right place for me.