Preps Talk

Several familiar teams fighting to stay alive at 0-4

Several familiar teams fighting to stay alive at 0-4

As we enter Week 5 of play, it’s quite the understatement that several teams are fighting to stay alive in the IHSA playoff hunt. What's even more startling is that some of these programs are part of the state's biggest names in IHSA football:

Glenbrook South (0-4): The Titans’ longtime head coach Mike Noll retired after the 2015 season. David Schoenwetter, who was formerly an assistant under Noll, stepped in as the new head coach. The Titans have played a very tough non-conference slate to start the year (Barrington, St. Patrick, Palatine and Fremd). Those teams have posted a combined 15-1 record. I fully expect Glenbrook South to win more than its share of Central Suburban South games this season.

St. Francis (0-4): The Spartans also had a sudden head coaching change this past offseason as Mike Fitzgerald left to take a teaching position at Naperville North. Under first year head coach Joe Lepsche, St. Francis has played a tough early schedule which included Loyola (4-0) and Marmion Academy (4-0). But they’ve scored just 14 points in four games along with allowing 215 points in that same span. It doesn't bode well for the remaining CCL Green slate.

Bishop McNamara (0-4): The Fighting Irish, the defending Class 3A state champions also have played a very tough early schedule (Immaculate Conception, Bolingbrook, St. Laurence and Marmion Academy). They have also suffered a rash of injuries including Western Michigan commits senior WR/DB Chris Bell and senior OL/DL Dylan Deatherage. However, I feel that Bishop McNamara still has a fighting chance to make a push for a state playoff spot.

Wheaton South (0-4): The Tigers and veteran head coach Ron Muhitch seemed to be all-go this summer, winning the annual Red Grange 7-on-7 tournament. But Wheaton South has also been a victim of injuries and the always-tough competition in the DuPage Valley Conference hasn’t helped. Most glaring has been a defense that has allowed 159 points in four games. Several Wheaton South teams in the past didn't allow 159 total points against in a full season. 

Joliet Catholic (0-4): The Hilltoppers, under veteran head coach Dan Sharp, graduated a ton of starters last spring. Those graduation losses hit hard, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. On top of that, the amount of overall players numbers coming out from the senior and junior class has been down. Joliet Catholic has started up to eight sophomores on the varsity level this season and they’re hoping that the move to go young this season will pay off down the line.

Conant (0-4): Head coach Bill Modelski wasn't kidding this summer when he said he had no returning starters back in 2016. The Cougars have struggled getting the offense on track despite a strong season so far from junior RB Jack Reiger. Next up for Conant is Mid-Suburban West play, featuring a group of opponents with an 18-2 overall record.

Andrew (0-4): The Thunderbolts also have a first year head coach in Adam Lewandowski who was an assistant coach at Crete-Monee. Turnovers and penalties have been an issue for Andrew so far this season and the remaining schedule (Lockport, Lincoln-Way East, Thornton, Lincoln-Way Central, Stagg) won't make thingws any easier for the T-Bolts this fall.

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.