Editor’s note: In the Bonus will be a recurring basketball notebook that touches on both the boys and girls basketball teams.
Super Sophomore: Julia Martinez is one of the top talents in the Chicago area and already is a Division I prospect. The 5-foot-10 point guard is in her second season as a starter and is averaging 10.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 4.5 steals through nine games for the Ramblers (6-3 overall, 1-1 GCAC Red). “She’s a special player,” Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “It’s such a huge advantage for us to have her on the floor. She gets us into sets, she can break pressure by herself, she’s a willing rebounder from her guard position, she gets loose balls.” One area where she’s improved, according to Schoenecker, has been on the defensive end, and that has come with experience. “She’s understanding our concepts a lot better,” he said. The front Martinez continues to work on is her shooting. In Tuesday’s 42-30 loss to Trinity, she finished 1-for-8 from the field. “She knows she has to knock down more shots,” Schoenecker said. “She has to prove to teams she can do that. But it’s something she’s always working at, and it’s something she takes a lot of pride in.”
Road Warriors: The Loyola girls team’s theme song should be “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson. The Ramblers have played six of their nine games away from home, but Tuesday’s defeat to the Blazers was their first loss on the road. Loyola’s home game Thursday against Fenwick is one of four remaining home games in the regular season. Four of its five GCAC Red games are on the road. St. Ignatius was scheduled as a home game Dec. 7, but a power outage at the school forced the game to be moved to Chicago. “It’s a grind,” Schoenecker said. “But I think it will help us out in the end.”
Game-Day Honors: Loyola head coach Tom Livatino doesn’t always name captains for individual games, but he said senior Kris Lampley and junior Kevin Cunningham (pictured above) deserved to be recognized for Tuesday’s game against St. Viator for their efforts in the previous two practices. Lampley, a 6-3 forward, even earned his first start of the season in the 53-38 win. “Kris has been evolving as a vocal leader on the team and has made a big step forward,” Livatino said. “He’s a big, strong kid who is only starting to scratch the surface of what kind of player he can be. He can score around the basket, make a 15-footer, is a good screener and is active on defense.” Meanwhile, Cunningham, a 6-foot guard, has started all eight games for the Ramblers (4-4 overall, 1-1 Catholic North). Although Cunningham is in his first varsity season, Livatino noted he’s developing into one of the team’s leaders. “He has the best motor on our team,” Livatino said. “He has a high level of toughness and a high basketball IQ. He’s a complete basketball player, and he wants to win.” Cunningham is Loyola’s best shooter, making 37.9 percent of his 3-pointers and averaging 2.8 per game. He ranks second on the team in scoring behind senior guard Ramar Evans at 10.1 points. “The best thing about him is that he’s coachable,” Livatino said.
On Campus: Three former Ramblers are playing for teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the latest D3hoops.com poll. Michael Mangan (Class of 2015) is on No. 7-ranked Rochester, Matt Bauer (Class of 2013) plays for No. 16 Denison and Kevin Kucera (Class of 2014) suits up for No. 17 Washington. Currently, there are seven former Ramblers playing college basketball.