Hinsdale Central guards funnel ball into Rafferty
Glen Ellyn, 02/15/13--Hinsdale Central's Matt Rafferty steals the ball and looks for an open teammate. Glenbard West High School hosted Hinsdale Central High School in boys basketball Friday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Friday Boys swimming: State meet, 3:30 p.m.
Boys swimming: State meet, 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday Boys basketball: at Wheaton Warrenville South Regional semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Boys basketball: at Wheaton Warrenville South Regional semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:49AM
GLEN ELLYN — When big men are hungry to score, they need little men to feed them.
Hinsdale Central’s 6-foot-7 center Matt Rafferty registered 21 points in the Red Devils’ 56-44 win at Glenbard West on Friday. The sophomore is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game for this year’s West Suburban Silver champs.
Rafferty had a ready answer when asked which of the team’s guards have been getting him the ball in good positions to score this season.
“Every guard that plays,” Rafferty said.
Central ball-handlers Alec Hutcherson, Brian Owens, Chase Hamilton, Jared Eck and Jacob White kept Rafferty well-fed throughout Friday’s win, which improved Central’s record to 18-5 overall and 11-1 in WSC Silver play.
“We’ve got a team of unselfish players and our guards are smart players,” Central coach Nick Latorre said. “They know where the bread is buttered and they want to win.”
As a varsity freshman last year, Rafferty didn’t feel like he contributed nearly as much offensively as he has this season. He spent the offseason working on his quickness, jumping ability, offensive skills, and one other area that is vital to high-scoring post players.
“His footwork has really improved,” Latorre said. “His work ethic is great, he’s very coachable, he runs the floor well and he’s got good hands. He’s just solid. He has a chance to be a special player.”
At various points in Friday’s win, Rafferty scored in the post, rolled to the basket for easy scores, hit a jump hook in the lane, and buried a running left-handed hook shot.
“I’m working hard on both hands,” Rafferty said. “My left has gotten a lot better and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with it lately.”
Rafferty credits time in the spring spent playing AAU ball for Chicago Lockdown for his improvement.
“(A)nd throughout this season I’ve been working hard in practice with the other bigs every day, to get better,” he said.
Rafferty’s 15 points per game leads the Red Devils but with Owens averaging 11 points, Hutcherson averaging eight and Rigas Pappas averaging six, the Red Devils have a number of players capable of having big offensive nights.
“Our guards really give me a lot of chances to score, and once teams start collapsing I can kick it out to them and get them some shots,” Rafferty said. “So I try to return the favor a little bit.”