By John Ring
Published in The Burg Decemeber 16, 2021
Potential was always a word used around Koen Derry, a senior post player for the Galesburg Silver Streaks.
He had it as a sophomore, when he came off the bench on the Jaylin McCants-led Silver Streak team that won 20-plus games. Going up against McCants on a daily basis in practices couldn’t help but make Koen a better player.
Last year as a junior, he started one game-- “because of an injury”, said Kerry-- but the Streaks were limited in games because of the virus and the season was pretty much of a wash. It was another year of development for Derry.
This year is different. It’s been a breakout year for the 6’6” senior post player.
Against United Township on Friday night, Derry connected on 10 of 16 shots, scored 26 points (a career high) and added 8 rebounds. The Panthers didn’t have an answer for him on defense.
He drove to the basket, twisted for layups, launched a couple of three-pointers and banged inside for all 32 minutes of the game.
“That was our game plan,” said Streak point guard Jeremiah Babers. “We went to the big man.”
“My teammates kept getting me the ball and I was able to get open for layups or go to the free-throw line,” said Derry. “We had to keep attacking because the team we were playing wouldn’t quit. We knew it was going to be tough.”
Koen has an all-around game. He can hit the three, penetrate, dish off and hit the boards. In just six games this year, he’s gotten better. This kid’s got All-Conference written all over him.
Normally a slow starter out of the gate, Derry scored 10 first half points and got even better in the second half. He set up on the south side of the court and received some good inlet passes from Babers and Dre Egipciaco. “I was working that side of the floor and was really comfortable once I got the ball,” said Koen.
“Koen is expanding his game,” said Coach Chad Thompson. “He’s locked in right now. In the huddle, he just says, ‘Yes’ or ‘I got it’. He’s a great athlete that is tough and rebounds. He’s going to make some college very happy next year.”
When Carl Dortch and Kerry are in the game at the same time, the Streaks get tougher inside.
Dortch is the most physical player on the team and is a ton to handle inside the paint. “He helps me in practice and I help him,” said the 6’5” senior. “We’ve been battling since we were freshmen in practices and that’s how we get better.” (If Carl could hit a fade away baseline shot, he’d be a twin to Jim Reinebach, Streak Class of ‘69)
“We needed him tonight in a big way,” said Egipciaco of Derry. “That’s why we kept feeding him. They couldn’t stop him inside.”
When Dre said that, it was with a smile. He knows the kind of killer Koen Derry can be inside too.