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CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 5

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CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings: Week 5

The holiday season is officially over as tournaments have been completed and we get to see more conference matchups the next few weeks. 

It was a good chance to see some teams play some solid competition that they haven't played yet and it's hard to duck competition in a tournament setting.

While Morgan Park and Curie are clearly the top two teams in the area entering 2016, there was some shakeup in this week's @CSNPreps Power Rankings as eight new teams enter the picture. Some of these teams were in the mix before while others surprised with their play during the holiday season.

1. Morgan Park (10-1, 3-0) (1) - Morgan Park remains at No. 1 and they are the clear best team in the area entering 2016. Already owning wins over Simeon, Fenwick, Bogan, St. Joseph and Evanston, the Mustangs have a ridiculous five wins over top-10 opponents before the new year rolled around.

2. Curie (10-1, 4-0) (4) - The only team that can come close to Morgan Park's early-season resume is Curie, who hasn't technically lost a game yet (their one "loss" came via a forfeit after they beat Thon Maker and Orangeville Prep). The Pontiac wins over Simeon and Peoria Manual opened eyes that this could be Mike Oliver's best team at Curie yet.

3. Simeon (8-2, 2-1) (2) - Falling short at Pontiac was Simeon, who fell to Curie but still claimed third place with a dominating win over Joliet West. The Wolverines still have plenty of time and depth to remain in the city and state title race.

4. Kenwood (9-1, 4-0) (6) - Kenwood left Illinois for the holiday season and won a tournament in Missouri to move to 9-1 on the season. Their big question becomes how they stack up to the area's other elite teams? Kenwood's schedule hasn't been nearly as strong as many in the area.

5. Fenwick (11-1, 3-0) (3) - Fenwick made it to the championship at Proviso West and was in the game for a half against Morgan Park before succumbing to the Mustangs. Nice win for the Friars in the semifinals over Bogan.  

6. Bogan (10-3, 3-1) (9) - Senior guard James Jones might be the most underrated player in Illinois and he was once again outstanding at times during Proviso West. The Bengals captured third place with a convincing win over No. 7 St. Joseph. Senior point guard Bryce Barnes is getting a lot of late DI attention.

7. St. Joseph (11-2, 4-0) (5) - The unbeaten run finally ended for St. Joseph as they fell to Morgan Park and Bogan at Proviso West. They're still in great shape in Class 3A because Nick Rakocevic is a matchup problem. Freshman Marquise Walker is one to watch as the season rolls along.

8. Evanston (10-2, 3-0) (8) - Evanston went 3-1 in a tournament in Kentucky playing some tough national competition and they still have the talent to compete with anybody in Illinois. Junior guard Nojel Eastern needs to take his game to another level for the Wildkits to make a state title run.

9. Glenbard West (12-0, 1-0) (10) - Much like Kenwood, Glenbard West is off to a great start, but they haven't played elite local competition. That being said, senior Justin Pierce absolutely deserves to be in the All-Area discussion and he's a Player of the Year candidate at this point in the season.

10. Notre Dame (11-2, 1-1) (14) - Impressive comeback win in the championship game at Wheeling for Notre Dame and they have a lot of pieces that can help them if someone has an off night. One of the state's biggest teams, Notre Dame's key down the stretch might be the shooting and play of junior guard Matt Stritzel. 

11. Thornton (9-1, 3-0) (20) - The class of the south suburbs, Thornton had a great week in winning the Big Dipper and beating Marian Catholic in the championship game. Head coach Tai Streets has done a tremendous job building a winner in his first season and he has a lot of experienced guards stepping up so far this season.

12. York (10-3, 1-1) (NR) - York had perhaps the most surprising holiday tournament run as they won their own Jack Tosh Holiday Classic by winning five games and beating talented teams like Naperville North and Downers South. Playing stingy defense, the Dukes don't have the offensive firepower of some in the Power Rankings, but they get stops.

13. Marian Catholic (10-3, 2-0) (11) - Marian Catholic fell in the Big Dipper finals to Thornton and they'll have some work to do if they want to be the best team in the South Suburbs. The Spartans are young but they have the talent to make a major leap from now until the end of the season.

14. Joliet West (9-3, 2-1) (15) - Although Joliet West fell to Simeon in the third-place game at Pontiac it was still a strong showing for them as they knocked off Benet and took Peoria Manual to the brink in the semifinals. 

15. Naperville North (9-3, 2-1) (NR) - Naperville North made a big impression by making the championship at York and beating ranked teams like Hinsdale South and Riverside-Brookfield on the way there. With shooting and toughness, this team is a major contender in the DuPage Valley Conference.

16. Riverside-Brookfield (11-2, 4-0) (7) - Disappointing early loss for Riverside-Brookfield at York but Skyler Nash has looked good since joining the rotation and they should be able to shake off this loss and be a contender in Class 4A.

17. Benet (10-2, 1-1) (12) - Benet lost to Joliet West in the quarterfinals at Pontiac but rallied nicely to finish in fifth place after beating Oak Park-River Forest and Bloomington. The East Suburban Catholic Conference race will be brutal, but Benet is definitely in the mix.

18. Whitney Young (7-4, 2-1) (NR) - After dropping out of the Power Rankings, the Dolphins are back in after some good wins at Proviso West and a strong win in Michigan over unbeaten Muskegon. Sophomore guard Xavier Castenada continues to impress.

19. Farragut (12-2, 2-1) (NR) - Another team who quietly compiled wins in December was Farragut, who won holiday tournament in Missouri by winning every game by at least 20 points. Can the Admirals push Whitney Young in the Red-West?

20. Hinsdale South (10-3, 2-1) (22) - Hinsdale South fell short of the title game at York but still went 4-1 on the week and had a nice win over Downers South, a team that had previously beat them. Senior center Barret Benson continues to put up great numbers.

21. De La Salle (10-4, 1-2) (23) - De La Salle got caught napping in an early-morning game at York but came back to win four consecutive games and the consolation championship. Senior guard George Willborn is still very much in the All-Area discussion after an All-Tournament performance. 

22. Lake Zurich (10-3, 3-0) (NR) - Another team making a strong impression during holiday tournament week was Lake Zurich. The Bears weren't a top-four seed but made it to the championship before losing to Springfield Lanphier. 

23. Libertyville (9-4, 2-1) (NR) - Libertyville led Notre Dame by nine points at the half for the title at Wheeling before falling to the Dons. Sophomore Drew Peterson is a player to keep an eye on during the second half of the season.

24. Homewood-Flossmoor (7-3, 1-1) (NR) - The Vikings made a run to the finals at the inaugural Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic as football standout Kendric Pryor also showed that he can hoop with the best of them. 

25. Maine South (11-2, 3-0) (NR) - Maine South took third place at Hinsdale Central and it's even more impressive considering the 3-point ball wasn't consistently falling for them. 

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

High School Lites had a busy show as it was the final week of the regular season for IHSA boys basketball Class 3A and 4A. The Class 1A and 2A playoffs also tipped in boys basketball as the show has some thrilling regional titles that were decided in the final minute. And finally, the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals were played on Friday as the state's top teams played in Bloomington.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Richards wrestler Mia Palumbo

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Simeon boys basketball

Highlights

Marshall shocks Leo in Class 2A regional final

Aurora Christian runs past Harvert Christian for 1A regional title

Buzzer-beater lifts Monticello over Gibson City for regional title

Jacobs goes unbeaten in Fox Valley with win over Dundee-Crown

West Aurora gets by rival East Aurora

Yorkville completes season sweep of DeKalb

Lemont escapes past T.F. North

Marshall needs OT to get past Teutopolis in girls 2A semifinals

Harlan takes down Eureka in 2A semifinals

Stockton runs by Okaw Valley in 1A

Schlarman races by Lebanon

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

High School Lites is down to the final week of the regular season in local high school hoops as the Class 3A and 4A schools finish up conference play. The boys basketball playoffs have also started as the Class 1A and Class 2A regional championships will be played on Friday night.

The girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals will also be featured. You can catch all of those games on NBC Sports Chicago on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. with the 1A semifinals. High School Lites will air Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago

East Aurora at No. 11 West Aurora, 7:00 p.m. -- These two rivals meet for the 225th time. The Blackhawks (20-4, 9-0) won the first matchup by 22 points as they try to finish the season on a 12-game winning streak. 

Jacobs at Dundee-Crown, 7:00 p.m. -- Fox Valley rivals match up as Jacobs tries to go unbeaten in the conference. The Eagles (23-3, 15-0) has been playing very well as they've won 20 of 21 games heading into this one -- including an earlier win against Dundee-Crown. The Chargers (14-11, 10-4) has won seven consecutive games since dropping to the Golden Eagles as they're second in the Fox Valley heading into this one. 

Yorkville at DeKalb, 7:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East play in this one. DeKalb (16-11, 11-1) has already clinched a share of the conference title as the team's only league loss has come against Yorkville. The Foxes (17-8, 10-2) knocked off DeKalb at their place on Feb. 3 as they try to win again to get a piece of the division title. 

T.F. North at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the better teams in the South Suburban Blue battle on the eve of the playoffs. Lemont (17-8, 9-3) has picked up three straight wins entering this one. T.F. North (11-9, 9-3) is trying to build some momentum after recent close losses to Hillcrest and T.F. South.

Carmel at No. 10 Benet, 7:30 p.m. -- The ESCC closes out its season with this one. Benet (22-4, 7-1) is coming off a nice road win at Marian Catholic earlier this week. Carmel (17-10, 4-4) knocked off Joliet Catholic during the week as they've been a dangerous team in the ESCC. 

Class 2A Boys Basketball Regional Championships

Leo vs. Marshall, 6 p.m. -- The Lions are the favorites but the Commandos are the host of this regional title game. Leo (20-5, 8-0) has a 13-game winning streak as they won the Catholic League White. Marshall (8-17, 4-5) struggled in the win column but they were a competitive 4-5 in a very deep Public League Red-South. 

Uplift vs. Northridge, 7 p.m. -- This should be an interesting battle as Uplift is playing on the road at Northridge. Uplift (17-9, 6-3) has played an extremely competitive schedule that includes a recent close loss to No. 1 Simeon as Kansas commit Markese Jacobs and senior forward Toraze Dobbs are one of the best combinations in the Class 2A field. Northridge (22-5, 12-0) went unbeaten in the Independent School League this season as they're riding a 13-game winning streak.

Class 1A Boys Basketball Regional Championships 

Aurora Christian vs. Harvest Christian, 7 p.m. -- These two teams play for the third time this season in what should be an interesting regional title game. Aurora Christian (23-1, 10-0) is the host as they only lost to Winnebago this season. The Eagles beat Harvest Christian twice in a six-day span in December. Harvest Christian (18-8, 8-2) finished third in the Northeastern Athletic as they played the second game within two points. 

Class 1A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Okaw Valley vs. Stockton, 11 a.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Okaw Valley (29-5) is making its first state appearance after winning its first regional title in school history. Stockton (31-2) finished under .500 last season (13-15) and had an amazing turnaround that includes a current 15-game winning streak. 

Lebanon vs. Schlarman, 12:45 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- These two teams have combined for two losses this season as this should be a good one. Lebanon (31-1) just won its first sectional title in school history as they've now moved on to state. Schlarman (31-1) is led by junior Anaya Peoples, a Notre Dame commit and five-star prospect in the Class of 2019. 

Class 2A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Harlan vs. Eureka, 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two red-hot teams play in the first semifinal in Class 2A. Harlan (25-6) is riding a 12-game winning streak as this is its first appearance at state for girls basketball. Eureka (28-3) has a 19-game winning streak as they make their first state appearance since 1988.

Marshall vs. Teutopolis, 7:15 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two storied programs in the state match up in this one. Marshall (20-7) will be making its 21st state appearance as head coach Dorothy Gaters is one of the most storied coaches in Illinois. Teutopolis is making its 17th appearance at state as the Lady Shoes (28-6) seek their first title since 1995.