Chargers’ hoopers looking for strong playoff run


Reggie Strong, Correspondent

Though this season hasn’t quite gone according to plan for the St. Joseph boys basketball team, the Chargers are hoping to catch some late-season momentum as they prepare for the IHSA Class 3A state playoffs.

After winning the consolation championship at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, 2019 hasn’t been as kind to the Chargers as they have lost more games than they have won. Despite a record that has remained right around the .500 mark for most of the season, the Chargers are hoping that they can jell as the playoffs near and put together another run to state.

When you have the legendary Gene Pingatore as your coach, anything is possible. Pingatore is the only boys’ basketball coach in the state of Illinois with more than 1,000 wins and his track record shows you can never count the Chargers out.

Leading the way for the Chargers this year are two transfer students – 6-foot-4 forward Markus Beckton and 6-foot-2 guard Reginauld Strong. Throw in senior wing Maliq Anderson and senior forward Antonio Hardaway, last year a transfer himself, and the Chargers have a solid core to compete. Also contributing solid minutes this year have been juniors Jon Robinson, Brandon Malone and Naqi Shaheed-Owens, giving the Chargers some hope for next year as they develop further.

Although St. Joseph has a lot of talent and potential on the team, the Chargers have had a little bit of a rocky season through the middle run due to a lack of team chemistry. After the Fenwick game, an upset Chargers victory, St. Joseph sat at 12-10, and the future looks bright as the Chargers only start one senior this year, so this year’s growing pains could result in next year’s successes.

After falling short in a close game against St. Laurence, Joe’s knocked down Rockford Boylan High School. As the playoffs inch closer, the Chargers are a part of the North Lawndale Class 3A sectional, but will host regionals the week of February 25.

The Chargers host Chicago Perspective on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in their playoff opener. A win there would most likely net them North Lawndale in the regional final on Friday, March 1 at p.m., also at home.