Preps Talk

Morgan Park vs. Simeon highlights big week on High School Lites

Morgan Park vs. Simeon highlights big week on High School Lites

High School Lites has a great show lined up this week as we have highlights from all over the area. The huge clash between No. 1 Morgan Park and No. 3 Simeon leads the list of great games we have for this week. 

Be sure to watch High School Lites this Friday at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. 


No. 3 Simeon at No. 1 Morgan Park, 5 p.m. -- It's always a huge deal when these two teams play and this year's rivalry matchup had some intriguing subplots. The first year of Public League conference realignment means these two rivals only get one guaranteed matchup per season now as the Wolverines made the most of it with a 70-57 win on Thursday night.

Using a second-quarter run and huge second half to get past the Mustangs, Simeon put on a ridiculous aerial show for the road win as senior Messiah Jones, a Drake commit, led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds -- including six dunks. Senior Talen Horton-Tucker also tallied 17 points for the Wolverines while St. Patrick transfer Xavier Pinson had a great second half to finish with 12 points -- including a huge fourth-quarter dunk that had the gym buzzing. 

Illiois commit and Player of the Year candidate Ayo Dosunmu led Morgan Park with 18 points but he didn't receive enough consistent help to get by the balanced effort of Simeon. Senior Kenyon Duling added 15 points for the Mustangs with all of his points coming in the first half.

You won't want to miss the highlights of this intense rivalry as Simeon had numerous alley-oops and put on a show for the huge road win.


Lane Tech at Taft, 6:30 p.m. -- These two Public League White-North rivals always play intense matchups as Friday should be no different. The Indians (4-2) are off to a solid start this season as they look like one of the better teams in the White Division of the Public League this season. Guard Michael Malloy is off to a solid start for Lane. Taft (1-4) is off to a sluggish start as they've played a tough schedule so far.  

Stagg at Sandburg , 6 p.m. -- An intriguing matchup in the SouthWest Suburban Blue as Sandburg battles Stagg. The Chargers (3-2) knocked off Thornridge in their last contest as they try to make their way in the top half of a very difficult league. Sandburg (5-1) is also off to a solid start as they try to open Conference play on a positive note. 

Homewood-Flossmoor at No. 18 Lincoln-Way East. 6:30 p.m. -- We stay in the SouthWest Suburban Blue for this one. Lincoln-Way East (5-1) was unbeaten until a loss to Bloom earlier this week. Senior sharpshooter Sam Schaefer is headed to Southern Illinois next season as he’s one of the area’s best players. The Vikings (4-1) are an intriguing team in the Conference race as they’ve only lost to another ranked team in Marian Catholic this season. 

St. Viator at No. 17 Marian Catholic, 7 p.m. -- The East Suburban Catholic Conference looks to be wide open as this early clash could tell us a lot The No. 17 Spartans (4-0) are off to a great start after winning the Chicago Heights Classic as juniors Malik Tidwell and Chris White are some talented pieces while sophomore point guard Ahron Ulis is emerging as a player to watch. St. Viator (5-1) is also off to a solid start after winning their own Thanksgiving event against a good field. Junior Jeremiah Hernandez is a player to watch while junior Trey Calvin is a point guard to keep an eye on.

Evanston at Maine South, 7:30 p.m. -- It's always fun when these two CSL South teams get together and this year the league has a lot of overall depth. Evanston (4-1, 1-0) will rely on a trio of talented junior guards as Lance Jones, Ryan Bost and Jaheim Holden are all capable of making plays. Maine South (4-1, 0-1) was previously ranked before falling to a talented New Trier team last week as the Hawks will look to bounce back. 

Metea Valley at Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m. -- Two interesting teams in the DuPage Valley Conference as Naperville Central hosts Metea Valley. The RedHawks (5-1, 2-0) beat Neuqua Valley earlier in the week to continue a good start as senior center Ben Wolf is off to a positive start. Metea Valley (3-3, 1-1) fell to DVC favorite Naperville North earlier this week as they try to keep pace with the league leaders. 

Oak Lawn at T.F. North, 6:30 p.m. -- A crossover in the South Suburban as Oak Lawn heads to T.F. North. Coming off of a win over T.F. South earlier this week, Oak Lawn (5-1, 1-0) is off to a strong start this season. T.F. North (1-1, 1-1) dropped a close game to Shepard earlier this week as they try to bounce back against a tough opponent. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Andrew at Thornwood, 6:30 p.m. — The SouthWest Suburban Red hosts our Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week as this one won after over 1,400 votes. Andrew (3-4, 0-1) will try to get back on track after dropping a few to tough teams like Bolingbrook and Hinsdale South. Thornwood (3-2, 1-0) is coming off of a big win over Lincoln-Way West as they try to keep an unbeaten start going in conference play. 

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage


Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSPreps) crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. The show also live streams at High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week, we're profiling teams who are jostling for position near the top of their respective conference. Speaking of battling, did we mention three of the team mascots in this week's poll are named "Warriors?" Which game should we attend Friday night?

Bloom at Rich Central, 6:30 p.m.

Crystal Lake South at McHenry, 7:00 p.m.

Maine West at Deerfield, 7:30 p.m.

Poll opens Monday at 12:00 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.

1-on-1 with East St. Louis safety Antonio Johnson

1-on-1 with East St. Louis safety Antonio Johnson

While many top Chicagoland underclassmen took part in the third annual EDGYTIM MLK Underclassmen Showcase powered by EFT Football Academy last week, several others from outside the area participated and made waves of their own. Athletes from Central and Southern Illinois made statements, while others from a dozen states and Canada turned heads as well. 

East St. Louis sophomore safety Antonio Johnson (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) was one of several Flyers who made a very positive impression and made the most of his experience. 

Johnson, who started at wide receiver and safety for the Flyers (10-2 in 2017), is already appearing on several college radar screens. Johnson remains one of several underclassmen to watch for head coach Darren Sunkett over the next few years. 

I caught up with East St. Louis sophomore safety prospect Antonio AJ Johnson at the showcase and discussed his winter plans, his recruiting and why he made the nearly-300 mile trek in the dead of winter to compete at this event.