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R-B buys in to Creason coaching

April 19, 2012
Richmond Burton High School


R-B buys in to Creason's coaching

By JOE STEVENSON - joestevenson@shawmedia.com

Basketball was ingrained in Brandon Creason at a fairly early age.

As a point guard at Rochelle, Creason figured out he wanted basketball to play a prominent part in his future. He was talented enough that, even at only 5-foot-10, he played at NCAA Division I Western Illinois University.

Creason was determined not to stop there with the sport he loved.

“I couldn’t picture myself not being in the gym,” Creason said. “I don’t know how guys walk away from it. For me, it would have been impossible to say, ‘I’ve done this,’ and then leave it behind.”

Creason came to Richmond-Burton before the 2010 season, and the Rockets since have had three winning seasons. For Creason’s efforts and results this season, which included his team’s second Big Northern Conference East Division title in three years, Creason is the Northwest Herald Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, selected by the sports staff with input from local coaches.

Huntley coach Marty Manning, last year’s winner, again was prominently mentioned, as was Crystal Lake Central’s Rich Czeslawski.

Creason’s team started an eight-game winning streak in January and defeated Burlington Central, 45-40, in the final regular-season game to wrap up the BNC East championship.

“I was pretty fortunate to be a part of it,” Creason said. “I’ve been in seasons that haven’t had a run like that, and given the opportunity, that was pretty cool. I was fortunate to coach kids who bought into what we were trying to do and what we were trying to run.”

The Rockets finished 16-12 overall, 8-2 in the BNC East. They lost to Johnsburg in the IHSA Class 3A Johnsburg Regional championship, 36-32.

“I thought we had a great year to go and win the [division],” forward Zach Rygiel said. “We may not quite have reached our maximum, but during our peak we were close. He helped a lot with things and always gave me confidence.”

R-B traditionally has more basketball players from its football team than most other area teams.

The Rockets have a habit of late football playoff runs, so Creason and his team have gotten used to slow starts to their season.

This season was even later than most because of R-B’s football team was the Class 4A state runner-up.

Zach and Matt Rygiel both averaged in double figures and figured prominently in the Rockets’ offense. R-B relied heavily on its ball-press defense, which was usually applied in three-quarter-court and designed to wear teams down over the course of a game.

“What I try to sell is, I don’t want to run what everyone else runs,” Creason said. “Whenever you play Richmond-Burton, I want teams to have to prepare for us differently than they have to for everyone else. That’s my personal goal.”

Creason brought sophomores Brian Wells and Mike Kaska up in January, which boosted R-B’s offense and started its winning streak.

“The main thing was [Creason] made us all overall better players,” Matt Rygiel said. “He made me a better dribbler, he made everyone a better passer. He had his team liking the way he coaches. He always made everything [in practices] a competition and that made us all better players.”

Creason became the head coach at Ottawa when he was 26. He coached there two years, then coached at Streator for five seasons before coming to R-B.

“When you play D-I basketball, you get quite an overload of basketball,” said Creason, who teaches U.S. history. “I couldn’t walk away from it. When you’re 5-10, most people don’t assume you played D-I basketball. I thought going into teaching and coaching was a way to assure that [I’d be around the game].” (NWHerald 3/24/12)

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