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Grayslake Central’s Peyton Hoffmann holds it


Grayslake Central freshman Peyton Hoffmann has played in many big games this season.

But none could compete with what he and his teammates faced Monday night in the Class 3A Concordia Supersectional.

The Rams’ first trip to the state semifinals was fronted by traditional power Montini, a veteran team full of players who lost in the supersectional last season, and Hoffmann was tasked with guarding star junior point guard Nikki Kerstein.

“He’s a really good actor,” Hoffmann said. “The rest of the team was helping me and we were able to protect him pretty well, but he’s a really good player.”

The 6-foot-5 guard/forward was able to hold Kerstein to just one basket, as he helped Deerfield reach the Class 3A state semifinals before transferring last year. Kerstein scored eight points, six of which came from free throws in the final minute of the game.

However, Hoffmann’s efforts were in vain. Senior guard Victoria Matulevicius scored a game-high 16 points and 7 rebounds, senior forward Alyssa Epps had 9 points and 3 steals, junior guard Shea Carver had 8 points and 9 rebounds, and Montini ended Grayslake Central’s 15-game winning streak. . 44-25 victory at River Forest.

Madison HoffmannThe 6-1 junior guard/forward, who is Peyton’s sister, scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the first half to keep the Rams (27-7) at bay. Peyton Hoffmann added 6 points and 8 rebounds. But the rest of the team combined for just two baskets.

Grayslake Central last played in a supersectional in 2020.

“It was a new environment, definitely different,” Peyton Hoffmann said. “As a team, I knew we had to keep our energy throughout the whole game, and I think we were able to do that and stay calm together.”

Grayslake Central’s Madison Hoffmann (center) takes a shot as Montini’s Alyssa Epps (left) and Shea Carver defend during the Class 3A Concordia Supersectional on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in River Forest. (James C. Svehla / News-Sun)

Montini (29-7) opened the game with a 10-2 run and held the Rams scoreless until junior forward Katelyn Marcelain scored at 4:38 of the first quarter.

Peyton Hoffmann’s assist and Madison Hoffmann’s basket put Grayslake Central ahead 10-5 at the end of the first quarter. This seemed to help Peyton Hoffmann settle into the game.

“My nerves are gone a little more,” he said. “I was able to stay a little calmer.”

Madison Hoffmann was impressed by her sister’s effort.

“Peyton got better and better throughout the season,” Madison Hoffmann said. “St. He had a super good match against Viator, so we were asking a lot from him today. He had to guard their super good quarterback, and honestly, I thought he did a great job, not only defensively, but he had some good moves as well. So I think he’s starting to come into his own as a player, especially as a freshman.”

Grayslake Central coach Steve Ikenn agrees.

“It’s great for a freshman to be in this position,” Ikenn said. “But I thought all of these girls did a great job. “It was a big moment and they did a good job.”

That wasn’t good enough against the Broncos, who forced 20 turnovers and dominated the Rams offensively. This allowed Montini to overcome poor shooting in the first half and take a 21-14 lead at halftime.

But Ikenn was still hopeful.

“In the regional final, we were down seven points at halftime and we came back, so it wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before,” Ikenn said. “You have to give (the Broncos) credit. Their defense was tough, they got a lot of offensive rebounds and forced us into a lot of turnovers.

“We kept them to 44, so we did a really good job, we just didn’t do that at the other end.

Grayslake Central's Peyton Hoffmann drives to the basket as Montini's Victoria Matulevicius defends during the Class 3A Concordia Supersectional on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in River Forest, Illinois.  (For James C. Svehla/New Sun)
Grayslake Central’s Peyton Hoffmann (31) puts the ball in the basket against Montini’s Victoria Matulevicius during the Class 3A Concordia Supersectional game on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in River Forest. (James C. Svehla / News-Sun)

Grayslake Central never got closer than seven points in the second half as Montini slowly pulled away. But the Rams came close as a team.

“We don’t have any seniors on our roster, so we’ll be back,” Madison Hoffmann said. “We’ve built a lot of team chemistry this year, so we’ll continue to build on that.”

The Hoffmann brothers, who both play tennis, basketball and football, are two of the most important components of this chemistry and are excited to be together for another year.

“Super fun,” Madison Hoffmann said. “We’re almost like twins. We look the same on the field and people always confuse us.

“This is the first time we can actually play together, so it makes our parents very happy. “It’s definitely something that not many people get to experience, so it’s great.”

Matt Le Cren is a freelance reporter.


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