Preps Talk

Bolingbrook takes third in Class 4A with win over Fremd

Bolingbrook takes third in Class 4A with win over Fremd

Bolingbrook captured third place in Class 4A boys basketball with a tight 70-66 win over Fremd on Saturday night in Peoria.

The Raiders had a balanced scoring effort in which five players ended up in double-figures.

Senior Malik Binns led Bolingbrook with 18 points while senior Nana Akenten, a Nebraska commit, added 16 points for the Raiders. Sophomore Joseph Yesufu (12 points) knocked in two key free throws for the Raiders to make it a three-point game with under 10 seconds left while sophomore Tyler Cochran also added 11 points for Bolingbrook. Senior Kaleb Thornton rounded out the double-figure scorers for Bolingbrook by chipping in 10 points.

"Coming into the state tournament, Coach [Robert Brost] emphasized a lot that there's only two teams in the state able to win their last game," Akenten said. "Like Coach said, we wanted to play for the state championship, but we lost our last game, so we came out here and fought."

The Raiders (30-2) finish this season as champions of the SouthWest Suburban Blue while they were also ranked as the No. 1 team in the CSN Preps Power Rankings for a good chunk of time in the middle of the season. When you consider that this Bolingbrook team also added three offseason transfers and played a lot of underclassmen, it was a very successful season for Bolingbrook.

The third-place title for the Raiders is tied for the best finish ever for their boys basketball program after they also placed third in Class 4A in 2015.

"I just couldn't be prouder of our guys," Bolingbrook coach Robert Brost said. 

"I'm so proud of these boys, not for the players that they are, but for the human beings they are. They geniunely care about each other. And they genuinely care about the coaching staff."

Finishing its season at 31-2,  Fremd's fourth-place finish is tied for the best ever for school's boys basketball program as the Mid-Suburban League champions were led by senior Kyle Sliwa's 25 points.

Sliwa's three-pointer with 2:35 left gave the Vikings a 64-63 lead that they held for nearly two minutes until Binns made two free throws to give the Raiders the lead that they held for good.

Luke Schoffstall finished with 16 points for the Vikings while Ryan Martin also finished in double-figures with 11 points. Fremd has finished two of the last four seasons unbeaten in the regular season as the team's seniors are hoping to continue to lay a foundation for future Fremd basketball success.

"We had a pretty historic season. No one really expected us to be anything this year," Fremd senior Shaan Patel said. "We came out and we believed in ourselves when nobody else would believe in us. Between all of us, we've been playing together since the fourth grade, and we had confidence in each other."

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 3 Simeon

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 3 Simeon

School: Simeon

2016-17 record: 30-4, 8-2 Public League Red-South

Postseason results: Lost to Whitney Young in Class 4A Title Game

Players to watch: Senior Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State) is one of the area's premier two-way players. Senior forward Messiah Jones (Drake) is an elite leaper and rebounder. Talented junior guard KeJuan Clements is also back. The Wolverines also added some intriguing transfers in Xavier Pinson (St. Pat's) and Northwest Indiana native Zion Young. Both Pinson and Young have Division I interest and add even more perimeter firepower. 

Why they're in the power rankings: On paper, you could argue that Simeon is the most talented team in the state this season. The Wolverines have proven veterans who have won city titles and Division I transfers at multiple positions. But how will all of the pieces fit together? This is a fascinating group with a high ceiling.

Did you know? Making it back to Peoria last season, Simeon has now made 13 state finals appearances.

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 4 Orr

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 4 Orr

2016-17 record: 23-5, 8-2 Public League Red-West

Postseason results: Won Class 2A State Championship.

Players to watch: Seniors Dannie Smith and Raekwon Drake are both major All-Area threats after strong junior seasons. Another senior, Ty Mosley, might actually be the best long-term college prospect of the group as he's pledged to Milwaukee for next season. Sharpshooter Brian Hernandez is another seasoned veteran who has a knack for making big plays.

Why they're in the power rankings: The Spartans return most of last season's Class 2A title team and they also added some key transfers in former Marian Catholic point guard Chase Adams and former Clark wing Demarius Splunge. While the Spartans should be the heavy favorites to repeat in Class 2A, they haven't made as much noise in the Public League Playoffs, which is why they're still behind some of the other schools in the preseason Power Rankings.

Did you know? Orr was absolutely dominant during its Class 2A title run last March as the Spartans won by an average of 21 points. Only one team, Uplift, even played Orr to within single digits and that was still a nine-point margin of victory.