With a championship, solid overall record and several honors, the Moraine Valley Community College men’s basketball team had plenty to brag about as they closed out their season.
For the second time in four years, the team won an Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Championship thanks to a 13-1 record and a dominating final game against Prairie State College, which was battling with them for the top spot (and was the only Skyway team the Cyclones lost to). Moraine Valley topped the conference by two games.
“The most attainable thing we could do this season was become conference champs, which is really difficult to do, especially to win it by two games. We were fortunate,” said Head Coach John Chappetto, after ending his fourth season leading the program and earning Skyway Coach of the Year.
The Cyclones ended the season with a 25-6 overall record, averaging 83.5 points per game. They were on a seven-game winning streak before the semifinals and had two big comebacks against a tough Morton College team, particularly the second matchup when the Cyclones were down the entire first half. For all that good work, several players earned honors.
Third-year point guard Trace Williams (Homewood-Flossmoor) was a major player in the success of the team. He ranked sixth in the NJCAA Division II for steals (90), ninth for assists (181) and 14th for offensive rebounds (105). He was named Skyway Player of the Year, named to the All-Region IV first team and nominated as an All-American. “Having a point guard as talented and intelligent as him made my job a lot easier,” Chappetto commented.
Anthony Taylor (Richards) finished his sophomore season with All-Conference first team and All-Region second team honors. He was a reliable player who was helpful on both ends of the court. “Anthony was very unselfish and versatile. He could do whatever we needed,” Chappetto said. “I’ve known Anthony since he was 14 years old since I work at Richards, and he was really special to me. I’m really going to miss him.”
Third-year player Kobe Adams (Oswego) and newcomer Enari Thomas (John Marshall Metropolitan) were the leading scorers with Adams collecting points in many clutch situations. Adams earned All-Region second team honors and All-Conference honorable mention while Thomas was named to the All-Conference second team.
Sophomore Taijon Barry (Eisenhower) was good at being a role player, Chappetto said. He would do whatever was needed to win, bringing athleticism and defensive strength to the court. He received All-Conference honorable mention. Freshman Javonte McKenzie (Corliss) was able to change the dynamic on the court when the Cyclones needed it most. He also earned All-Conference honorable mention.
“This was a very enjoyable group, a lot of great young men on the team. They were fun to be around. All the guys made it easy to coach,” Chappetto said.
As for his own Coach of the Year honor, Chappetto gives most credit to others. “This is a team award. They didn’t give it to a coach of a team with a losing record. And you won’t do a lot with players who won’t be coached,” he explained. “It’s really nice to be recognized, but my assistant coaches do a lot for us, too.”
Chappetto has decided to step down as head coach but is confident his assistants will continue to lead the Cyclones to more success. “It was a really good year. I was fortunate to get a conference championship my first year and my last,” Chappetto said. “I’m going to miss Moraine Valley.”
For updates on Cyclones Athletics, visit mvcyclones.com.
For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or Vizzam@morainevalley.edu.