Preps Talk

Caravan cruise to shut out victory over Providence

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Caravan cruise to shut out victory over Providence

By Dick Goss
Season Pass

If there is a better word than frustrating to describe what transpired Friday night at Matt Senffner Field in New Lenox, Providence coach Mark Coglianese had not found it.

The No. 18 Celtics were revved up for their regular-season and Catholic Blue finale against Mount Carmel, but six turnovers later, the No. 5 Caravan left town with a 17-0 victory.

Providence (7-2, 2-2) had second-and-goal on the Mount Carmel 1-yard line on their second possession, but quarterback Dominic Lagone had the ball leave his hands on a sneak and it fly into the end zone, where the Caravans Vincent Speller and Justin Sanchez smothered it.

Late in the first half, the Celtics were first-and-goal at the 6-yard line after a Cody Kirby-to-Chad Weaver connection on a double pass covered 47 yards. But on first down, Lagone tried to make a play when being tackled, pitching to Brandon Price (19 carries, 105 yards). It failed to connect and Speller corralled it and returned it 88 yards down the sideline for the first score with 10 seconds left in the half.

The key was to get to the ball and scoop it up and then I could score, Speller said There was nobody behind me.

It wasnt a good decision on Dominics part, Coglianese said of the errant pitch. But were not going to come down too hard on him. Hes done things like that all year and made big plays, and thats what he was trying to do.

Providence committed six turnovers in all, not to mention a costly holding penalty in the third quarter, and Mount Carmel (8-1, 3-1) eventually wore down a game Celtics defense. Ivan Strmic kicked a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Draco Smith (22 carries, 98 yards) scored a late TD on a 3-yard run.

Providence beat us last year, Speller said. There was a lot of anger inside us.

We executed our defense. We expected to play like this. Thats what coach (Frank) Lenti wanted. It was very important that we win this one going into the playoffs.

We did a lot of good things and a lot of bad things in the first half, Coglianese said. Our defense was outstanding. But the second half was a different story. They wore us down.

And lets face it, you arent going to beat a good team like Mount Carmel when you turn the ball over. We could have been up 17-0. But we have a young team, especially on offense, and we will take something positive out of this.

Five unranked boys basketball teams to watch for

Five unranked boys basketball teams to watch for

The first week of the preseason Preps Power Rankings is always difficult to assess. There are plenty of teams who just missed the cut of the initial top 25. Below are a group of talented teams who should do enough to make their way into the Power Rankings at some point during the season.

Most of these teams have experience and star power, so watch for them in the next few weeks to see if they have strong starts to the season. 

DePaul Prep -- The Rams remain one of the major threats in the Catholic League this season as they return plenty of talent from a sectional finals team. Junior guard Perry Cowan and junior big man Pavle Pantovic make up a very solid one-two punch and sophomore guard Lance Mosley had some flashes of strong play during the summer. Seniors Spencer Cody and Anthony Papaioanou are steady contributors as well. The move up to Class 3A will be something to watch for with this team. Since the local Class 2A draw features Orr and Uplift, DePaul Prep might actually have an easier state tournament draw in the higher class.

St. Joseph -- There isn't one true star for the Chargers this season. Head coach Gene Pingatore has a lot of balance and experience but finding a go-to player could be the difference for St. Joseph this season. Senior Ahmad Muhammad will be asked to do a lot with the ball. Other returning seniors like Jalen and Jordan Boyd and Joffari Brown also have plenty of varsity experience. Losing junior point guard Marquise Walker to Curie definitely hurts. But not many teams in the state have four seniors who have already played in Peoria.

Geneva -- It was tough to leave the Vikings out of the preseason Power Rankings as they once again look like a major factor in the Upstate Eight River this season. New head coach Scott Hennig, a former assistant at Geneva, takes over for Phil Ralston (Glenbrook South) as he inherits a solid group of talent. Junior point guard Jack McDonald is an All-Area threat after a standout sophomore season. Another junior, guard Mitch Mascari, was one of the area's best three-point shooters last season. And Geneva also returns plenty of size, including 6-foot-6 senior Will Courter and promising 6-foot-7 sophomore Nate Santos. With the right blend of size and perimeter firepower, Geneva is a team to keep an eye on.

St. Viator -- Making the leap up to Class 4A this season, the Lions return some talented players from a team that made a surprising postseason run last season. St. Viator returns a Division I prospect in talented junior forward Jeremiah Hernandez while senior forward Peter Lambesis is also back. Finding stability at point guard could be the key to this season for the Lions as they have to replace J.R. Cison, who transferred to Lake Zurich. If junior Trey Calvin can step up, then St. Viator shouldn't miss much of a beat. The Lions already started the season with a solid win over Libertyville.

New Trier -- The most intriguing part about New Trier this season is the size on the interior as two junior big men have college aspirations. Ciaran Brayboy, a 6-foot-9 big man and Spencer Boehm a 6-foot-7 forward create one of the area's more talented frontcourts for the Trevians. The frontcourt is a plus and the backcourt, a senior-laden group, is also better and more experienced than last season. New Trier should crack the top 25 at some point this season. 

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen