Preps Talk

EDGY's surprise teams through Week 5

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EDGY's surprise teams through Week 5

As we begin to prepare for Week 6 of the regular season along with unofficially opening up IHSA state playoff talk, here are some teams that have been a "surprise" so far this season.

Maine West (3-2) - The Warriors and head coach Jason Kradman got off to a quick 2-0 start but then dropped two straight Central Suburban conference crossover games to New Trier (5-0) and Glenbrook South (3-2) before putting up a 51-6 win over rival Maine East last Friday. The Warriors still have work to do the rest of the season, including games against Deerfield (3-2) and Glenbrook North (5-0), but this team is capable. Beware however since Maine West could be very close to the playoff point cut off if they finish the season with a 5-4 record.

St. Rita (1-4) - The Mustangs just haven't been able to generate much offense in Chicago Catholic League play. St. Rita has a great chance to get two straight wins starting this week against Aurora Christian (3-2) and St. Joseph (1-4) but then would need to beat both Loyola Academy (5-0) and Brother Rice (4-1) in Weeks 8 and 9 to make the state playoffs. The last time the Mustangs finished the season with a losing record you ask? 1998 (3-6).

Wheaton South (1-4) - The Tigers, much like the entire DuPage Valley Conference so far this season, have been light on offense and heavy on defense. Wheaton South's playoffs begin this week at Waubonsie Valley (3-2) yet all four remaining games are winnable.

Riverside-Brookfield (5-0) - The Bulldogs have been dealing with its new stadium renovations (set to open this Friday against Immaculate Conception) and maybe head coach Brendan Curtin might want to reconsider staying on the road? Riverside-Brookfield has some heavy lifting left to do on the schedule (Immaculate Conception/Glenbard South) but the Bulldogs look to be on their way to back-to-back state playoff appearances.

Vernon Hills (5-0) - The Cougars have been on a roll; behind senior QB Connor McNamara yet beware Vernon Hills fans, the schedule gets much tougher from here on out (Lakes/Warren Township). The Cougars will also need six wins to guarantee a state playoff spot due to a potentially low number of playoff points. I expect the Cougars to be state playoff bound.

Hillcrest (4-1) - The Hawks added a first year head coach in former Hawks/Northwestern and NFL defensive back Marquise Cole and got off to an early roll. However how will this team bounce back after a 53-6 loss to Eisenhower (4-1) last Friday? Hillcrest will need to battle its way to at least five wins with the likes of Tinley Park (4-1), Lemont (4-1), TF South (3-2) and Oak Forest (5-0) still left to play. The four wins so far this season is the most regular season wins for Hillcrest since 2009 (8-2).

Eisenhower (4-1) - The Cardinals have bounced back well this season after going 1-8 in 2014. The offense for Eisenhower has been averaging 42 points per game so far and have a real shot at a state playoff spot this postseason.

Thornton Township (5-0) - With the departure of long time head coach Bill Mosel last spring no one outside of Harvey really knew what to expect from the Wildcats under first year head coach Dontrell Jackson. Thornton once again has speed and explosiveness with the likes of QB Sam Taylor III along with RB Tionte McDaniel and its 35-28 win last Friday over ranked Lincoln-Way West (4-1) no question sent a message to the rest of the South suburbs.

Glenbard East (4-2) - The Rams have been making steady progress over the past two seasons (2-7/3-6) and head coach John Walters has back some key playmakers from a season ago, including senior QB Phil Abruzino. Glenbard East however has a very tough end of the regular season schedule starting this week against South Elgin (4-1) and this team can't afford to look ahead whatsoever. Glenbard East has made the state playoffs just once back in 1999.

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. 

Check out the AP boys basketball polls as regular season winds down

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NBC SPORTS

Check out the AP boys basketball polls as regular season winds down

Here is the latest AP boys basketball polls. The girls basketball polls are done with the playoffs underway in all four classes.

Class 4A

School                                 W-L       Pts   Prv

1. Simeon (9)                      25-3      90    1

2. Belleville West                23-2      75    3

3. Curie                                22-3      74     2

4. Danville                           23-2      67      4

5. Whitney Young               22-7     52     T5

6. Normal West                   21-6     28     T5

7. Quincy                              19-4      21     T10

8. Bloomington                   18-7      15     8

9. Evanston                          20-5      14     7

10. New Trier                       22-3       12     NR

Others receiving votes: Moline 11, Niles North 10, Lisle (Benet Academy) 10, St. Viator 5, Naperville North 4, Maine South 2, Rockford Jefferson 1.

Class 3A

School                                            W-L          Pts    Prv

1. Morgan Park (7)                       18-9         88     2

2. Springfield Southeast (2)        22-3         82     1

3. Marian Catholic                        20-4         67     4

4. Hillcrest                                      21-5         57     5

(tie) Springfield Lanphier             22-3         57     3

6. Alton Marquette                       28-0         44      6

7. Centralia                                    21-4          32      7

8. DePaul College Prep                20-6          31      8

9. Champaign Central                  17-7          13      10

10. Decatur MacArthur                 18-8         9        NR

Others receiving votes: Lincoln 6, Burlington Central 6, Bogan 3.

Class 2A

School                                       W-L          Pts     Prv

1. Orr (11)                                 23-4         110     1

2. Warsaw West Hancock      22-2         83       3

3. Pinckneyville                       25-3         76       T4

4. Winnebago                          24-2         75       2

5. Monticello                            22-1         69       6

6. Leo                                        19-5         65       T4

7. Bloomington Central Catholic       21-6         42   8

8. Effingham St. Anthony                    25-3         23   7

9. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley               24-3         12   NR

10. Trenton Wesclin                             24-4         9     NR

Others receiving votes: Eldorado 7, Corliss 6, St. Joseph-Ogden 6, Bureau Valley 5, Uplift 5 Teutopolis 4, Williamsville 3, Quincy Notre Dame 2, Farmington  2, Casey-Westfield 1

Class 1A

School                                      W-L          Pts      Prv

1. Aurora Christian (9)            22-1        108      1

2. DePue (1)                              24-2        85        2

3. East Dubuque (1)                26-3        80        4

4. Annawan                              25-3        75        5

5. Payson Seymour                 26-2        68        3

6. Sterling Newman                 23-4       57        6

7. Colfax Ridgeview                  24-4       48        7

8. New Berlin                             25-3       33        8

9. Cairo                                       21-5       22        9

10. Nokomis                              21-7         9        NR

Others receiving votes: Newark 8, Quest Academy 5, Milford 4, Cissna Park 2. Okawville 1.