Five new teams enter the latest Preps Power Rankings

Five new teams enter the latest Preps Power Rankings

The Preps Power Rankings featured some shakeups this week as five new teams enter the mix. With many of the area's top teams facing elite competition during the Martin Luther King weekend, it was a good chance to see where teams stand heading into the home stretch of the regular season. 

1. Simeon (15-3, 5-0) (1) -- The clear No. 1 team in the state right now, the Wolverines picked up another double-digit win over a top-ten team by beating Fenwick on the road. Also losing by two to Montverde Academy, the unbeaten No. 1 team in the country, the Wolverines have impressed basketball analysts all over the country.

2. Orr (14-3, 5-0) (2) -- Orr lost in Michigan but bounced back with a double-digit win over Bloom. The Spartans get a tough road test this week at North Lawndale while they also host Westinghouse in conference play. 

3. Curie (14-2, 5-0) (3) -- The Condors earned two league wins over Bogan and Kenwood last week as Curie has won four consecutive games since falling to Simeon. Curie has three games against Public League opponents this week as they battle Hyde Park, Vocational and North Lawndale. 

4. Whitney Young (14-4, 4-1) (5) -- The Dolphins had a quiet week as they took down Von Steuben. Things pick up for Whitney Young this week as they face Uplift, North Lawndale and Bloomington. 

5. Bolingbrook (13-2, 3-0) (9) -- Huge week for the Raiders as they picked off Stagg in conference play before earning a win over No. 6 Morgan Park. Bolingbrook gets some more challenging games during the week when they play Joliet Central and Homewood-Flossmoor.

6. Morgan Park (12-7, 4-2) (6) -- Morgan Park fell to Bolingbrook in a big showcase game as the Mustangs are still trying to get fully healthy. Nick Irvin's ballclub has two conference games against Dunbar and Brooks before another test against No. 7 Fenwick. 

7. Fenwick (13-5, 4-0) (8) -- The Friars dropped a home contest against Simeon as Fenwick was able to hang with the Wolverines until the fourth quarter. Fenwick gets more tough matchups this week as they host St. Rita in a Catholic League game before taking on No. 6 Morgan Park in a shootout on Saturday. 

8. Lincoln Park (13-4, 5-1) (10) -- The Lions earned a home win over Westinghouse last week as they're still a major factor in the Public League Red North/West. Lincoln Park gets a pair of winnable conference games this week as they face Marshall and Farragut.

9. Marist (17-1, 3-0) (13) -- Impressive ESCC win for Marist as they took down Marian Catholic last week. The Redhawks are playing with a ton of confidence heading into a difficult week that features matchups against two ranked teams in Brother Rice and Benet. 

10. Niles North (17-2, 3-2) (4) -- An up-and-down week for the Vikings as they finally lost for the first time this season by dropping games to New Trier and Maine South. Niles North recovered with four wins over the weekend at their own event as they're one of only a only teams in the state with 17 wins.

11. Evanston (13-3, 4-1) (14) -- Huge overtime road win for Evanston at New Trier last week as the Wildkits remain right in the thick of the Central Suburban South race. Junior Lance Jones stepped up with some clutch plays on both ends of the floor in the win over the Trevians. 

12. Marian Catholic (13-3, 1-2) (11) -- The Spartans lost a tough conference clash with No. 9 Marist in ESCC play but they bounced back with a win over an Iowa opponent at Loras College. Marian Catholic gets a road game at Notre Dame this week as the Dons are coming off a solid win over OPRF. 

13. DePaul Prep (16-4, 2-1) (12) -- Strange week for the Rams as they lost to Loyola in conference play on Friday night, only to beat Loyola for an MLK tournament title on Monday. Also earning a win over Riverside-Brookfield this weekend, DePaul Prep will get another test when they play Evanston this week.

14. Loyola (16-3, 3-1) (17) -- Splitting two games with DePaul Prep over the weekend, the Ramblers won the conference matchup but lost in the championship of the MLK event the two schools help host. Riding a 10-game winning streak before losing on Monday, Loyola remains one of the hotter teams in the area. 

15. Oak Park-River Forest (13-4, 4-0) (7) -- The Huskies had some losses during the week as they dropped tight contests against Notre Dame and Wheaton-Warrenville South. Still the favorite in the West Suburban Silver, OPRF travels to Hinsdale Central this week.

16. Hillcrest (15-4, 7-0) (18) -- Hillcrest has continued to win since the Proviso West Holiday Tournament as they remain one of the best teams in the South suburbs. The Hawks will look to stay unbeaten in the South Suburban Blue when they host Tinley Park this week. 

17. North Lawndale (13-4, 3-2) (15) -- The Phoenix fell to Lincoln Park and a team from Minnesota last week while also earning a win over Von Steuben. This week sees North Lawndale play perhaps the toughest stretch of any team in the area all season. In a four-day span, the Phoenix have to play Orr, Whitney Young and Curie. That brutal stretch will teach us a lot about this team.

18. Joliet Central (14-2, 7-0) (21) -- Riding a four-game winning streak, Joliet Central is playing good ball over the last several weeks. The Steelmen have an important week ahead as they get a crack at No. 5 Bolingbrook while also facing rival Joliet West. 

19. Brother Rice (12-6, 2-2) (22) -- Brother Rice earned a double-digit win over Mount Carmel in Catholic League play last week. The Crusaders get a chance at a top-ten team when they travel to No. 9 Marist this week while they also host De La Salle in league play.

20. Batavia (18-3, 5-1) (23) -- The first team in the area with 18 wins this season, the Bulldogs are red hot, having won eight consecutive games. Winning the Rockford Jefferson tournament was an impressive feat, especially since Batavia knocked off the 17-win hosts on the way to the title. 

21. New Trier (14-3, 4-1) (NR) -- The Trevians enter the mix after an impressive win over Niles North. Although New Trier dropped an overtime heartbreaker to rival Evanston, they recovered nicely with a strong showing at the Rockford Jefferson event, including a beatdown of Larkin.

22. Naperville North (14-1, 6-0) (NR) -- With four consecutive wins, Naperville North is back in the Power Rankings after defeating conference rival and previously-ranked Naperville Central. The Huskies have only lost to No. 20 Batavia this season as they look like the favorite in the DuPage Valley Conference.

23. Romeoville (15-3, 7-0) (NR) -- The Spartans are back in the mix after some double-digits wins since losing during the holidays. Still a threat in the Southwest Prairie, Romeoville will get a big test with a game against No. 25 West Aurora on Saturday night.  

24. Benet (14-4, 2-1) (NR) -- An impressive weekend for the Redwings as they won four games to capture the title at Wheaton-Warrenville South. Benet's offense was more potent than they've shown in the past during Saturday's two wins while they're still able to grind out wins if they need to.

25. West Aurora (12-4, 4-0) (NR) -- The Blackhawks have won four consecutive games since the Pontiac Holiday Tournament with all of those coming by double-digits. A dangerous team with no bad losses, West Aurora remains the favorite in the Upstate Eight Valley.

Preps Power Rankings adds two new teams this week

Preps Power Rankings adds two new teams this week

The Preps Power Rankings don't have a lot of changes this week since the high school season was slow after the holiday tournaments. Some teams had off while others only played one game. Many teams traveled out of state to play opponents from all over the country.

Although most of the rankings remain the same, a few teams fell to unranked opponents, so we see two new teams enter the mix this week.

1. Simeon (12-2, 3-0) (1) -- The Wolverines earned an impressive national victory against Memphis East, a team Simeon lost to in December. Conference games and national opponents have Simeon with a busy week ahead as they play Kenwood, Hyde Park and No. 1 national Montverde Academy. 

2. Orr (12-2, 4-0) (2) -- Another quality win for the Spartans as they beat St. Joseph by double-digits. Orr has a crazy week as they host Uplift and Whitney Young before playing Detroit English Village in Michigan. 

3. Curie (12-2, 3-0) (3) -- The Condors picked up two out-of-state wins over Missouri and Michigan opponents as Curie is starting off 2018 in a positive manner. Bogan and Kenwood loom on the conference schedule for the Condors this week. 

4. Niles North (13-0, 3-0) (4) -- Niles North had the week off as they try to stay undefeated. The Vikings take on a tough conference opponent in Maine South before hosting Deerfield. 

5. Whitney Young (13-4, 3-1) (5) -- Tough loss against Hamilton (TN) for the Dolphins as they traveled to Memphis. Whitney Young will get some Public League Red North-West games this week as they face Von Steuben and Orr. 

6. Morgan Park (10-6, 2-2) (6) -- The Mustangs lost to Chaminade (MO) over the weekend at an out-of-state shootout. Morgan Park has two conference battles this week against Hyde Park and Vocational.  

7. Oak Park-River Forest (10-2, 3-0) (7) -- Overtime win against York for OPRF this week as they start the year with a win. The Huskies have a conference matchup with Downers North before playing in the Wheaton Warrenville South tournament over the weekend.

8. Fenwick (12-4, 3-0) (8) -- The Friars won against De La Salle in conference play as they remain unbeaten in the Catholic League. Fenwick gets another strong opponent in conference play this week when they face St. Joseph. 

9. Bolingbrook (11-2, 2-0) (9) -- Needing overtime to take down Sandburg, Bolingbrook outlasted the Eagles for a conference win. The Raiders go on the road to face Stagg for another league game this week. 

10. Lincoln Park (11-4, 3-1) (11) -- The Lions had the week off as the jump back into Public League play during the week. North Lawndale will be a major test while Westinghouse is another tough game. 

11. Marian Catholic (11-2, 1-1) (12) -- Marian Catholic barely got past Rock Island for a solid win as the Spartans have won some tight games recently. This is a big week for Marian Catholic as they face Richards and Marist before heading to Iowa for a game at Dubuque (IA).

12. DePaul Prep (13-3, 2-0) (13) -- Huge win for DePaul Prep as they got revenge on St. Rita while also beating St. Francis. DePaul Prep faces Lindblom, Loyola Academy and Riverside-Brookfield during a busy week. 

13. Marist (15-1, 2-0) (15) -- Easy win over Harlan as Marist is already up to 15 wins on the season. Marist gets two games this week, including an ESCC battle with Marian Catholic that should be a good one. 

14. Evanston (12-3, 3-1) (16) -- The Wildkits picked up a double-figure win over Niles West in conference play this week. Evanston has one of its biggest games of the season against New Trier during the week. 

15. North Lawndale (11-2, 2-1) (17) -- North Lawndale had the week off as they get ready to restart Public League play this week. The Phoenix play Lincoln Park and Von Steuben this week. 

16. Uplift (9-5, 3-1) (18) -- The Titans had the week off as they prepare for a big conference games against Orr and Farragut. Uplift is still searching for a marquee Public League win this season. 

17. Loyola (13-2, 2-1) (19) -- After winning in Florida, the Ramblers earned wins over Mount Carmel and Lakes. Loyola has some tough games this week, including St. Viator, DePaul Prep and Mather.

18. Hillcrest (13-4, 5-0) (20) -- Solid week for Hillcrest as they picked up double-digit wins against Argo and John Glenn (MI). The Hawks will try to remain unbeaten in the South Suburban with games against Shepard and Oak Lawn this week.

19. St. Rita (9-8, 1-1) (10) -- The Mustangs fell at home to DePaul Prep as the Rams got revenge from the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic game. St. Rita travels to Pennsylvania next week for multiple games over the weekend.

20. Libertyville (8-5, 3-1) (21) -- Libertyville had the week off as they prepare to face Carmel and Mundelein during the week. Senior Drew Peterson remains in the thick of the Player of the Year race. 

21. Joliet Central (12-2, 5-0) (22) -- Blowout win for the Steelmen as they ran past Plainfield South. Joliet Central has two more Southwest Prairie games this week against Plainfield North and Oswego.

22. Brother Rice (11-6, 1-2) (24) -- Picking up a Catholic League win this week, Brother Rice held off St. Ignatius. This week, the Crusaders hit the road to face Mount Carmel in another conference clash. 

23. Batavia (13-3, 4-1) (25) -- Two wins for Batavia during the week, including a thrilling buzzer-beater to knock off St. Charles East. The Bulldogs get three games this week, including two games Saturday against South Elgin and host Rockford Jefferson.

24. Naperville Central (11-2, 4-1) (NR) -- With only 10 wins all of last season, the Redhawks are now up to 11 this season as this balanced group is playing with a lot of confidence. Winning the DeKalb Holiday Tournament and knocking off previously-ranked Wheaton Warrenville South has been an impressive stretch. 

25. Jacobs (12-2, 4-0) (NR) -- The Golden Eagles enter the top 25 after a great stretch that includes winning their own Hinkle Holiday Classic. Not only is Jacobs running through the Fox Valley but they have double-digit wins over solid Mid-Suburban teams like Palatine and Barrington.

Simeon stays at No. 1 in latest Preps Power Rankings

Simeon stays at No. 1 in latest Preps Power Rankings

Now that the holiday tournaments are in the books, the latest edition of the Preps Power Rankings has a host of new teams in the mix. While the rankings have already been very fluid during a chaotic first month of the season, some surprising holiday tournament showings have completely changed the outlook for some teams as we begin 2018. 

1. Simeon (11-2, 3-0) (1) -- Clearly the No. 1 team in the state right now, Simeon dismantled quality competition in winning the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. The Wolverines still have some difficult games against local and national competition, but they look like the clear favorite in the city and state title race. 

2. Orr (11-2, 4-0) (8) -- The Spartans have their swagger back after winning the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. The beatdown of Uplift was one of the most eye-popping wins of the season and beating rival Whitney Young for the title was a huge step in Orr being viewed as a potential No. 1 team in the state. 

3. Curie (10-2, 3-0) (3) -- The Condors hadn't lost in Illinois until they fell to Simeon for the Pontiac title as Curie continues to look really good. You could make the case for the Condors being the No. 2 team in the state with wins already over Morgan Park and Orr. Curie's balance is scary.  

4. Niles North (13-0, 3-0) (5) -- Still undefeated on the season, the Vikings claimed the crown at Wheeling with a tough overtime win over Libertyville for the title. Now that Jamal Stephenson is back in the lineup, this team gets an additional scoring threat. 

5. Whitney Young (13-3, 3-1) (2) -- Solid week for the Dolphins at Proviso West as they advanced to the title game before falling to Orr. After relying so heavily on Javon Freeman earlier in the year, Whitney Young has figured out a more balanced approach as others are beginning to step up. 

6. Morgan Park (10-5, 2-2) (6) -- The short-handed Mustangs still earned the title at Rich South as sophomore Adam Miller is finally starting to figure things out with his new team. Senior Cameron Burrell also deserves a lot of credit for elevating his play since the beginning of the season. 

7. Oak Park-River Forest (9-2, 2-0) (7) -- Running into some of the state's best competition at Pontiac, the Huskies held their own against powerhouse Curie before also falling to state title contender Danville in the third-place game. Beating a tough Bloomington team was a major positive from the week at Pontiac.

8. Fenwick (11-4, 2-0) (13) -- Solid week for Fenwick at Proviso West as they earned good wins over Bogan, Larkin and Proviso West. A close loss to Orr was tough, but the Friars now have three close losses against the area's top seven teams. 

9. Bolingbrook (10-2, 1-0) (4) -- The Raiders placed second at Hinsdale Central after a disappointing championship loss to St. Rita. Still a threat in Class 4A, Bolingbrook has to find scoring help outside of the guard trio of Tyler Cochran, Kaleb Thornton and Joseph Yesufu. 

10. St. Rita (9-7, 1-0) (NR) -- The major story of the week is St. Rita as they went from under .500 to tournament champions at a very deep Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic. Knocking off Bolingbrook, DePaul Prep and Maine South, the Mustangs looked like the team that was in the preseason Preps Power Rankings before the slow start. 

11. Lincoln Park (11-4, 3-1) (NR) -- The emergence of Lincoln Park continues to be a solid storyline in the Public League as the Lions picked off Marian Catholic and gave Bolingbrook everything they can handle. Showing well against top-ten competition, Lincoln Park is a team that nobody will want to face in the next few weeks. 

12. Marian Catholic (10-2, 1-1) (18) -- Marian Catholic fell in its Hinsdale Central opener to Lincoln Park but rallied to win three straight and claim the consolation title. Sophomore point guard Ahron Ulis is growing more and more comfortable as the team's floor leader while juniors Malik Tidwell and Chris White have also been solid. 

13. DePaul Prep (11-3, 1-0) (15) -- The Rams finished fourth at Hinsdale Central after an up-and-down week that included good wins over Crete-Monee and Stevenson and double-digit losses to St. Rita and Lincoln Park. Junior Perry Cowan had some cold shooting during the event, but when he's on track, DePaul Prep can compete with anyone. 

14. Conant (11-4, 2-1) (NR) -- Winning five games at York is always incredibly tough as Conant had one of the best weeks of any team in the area. Senior big man Ryan Davis is a big Player of the Year candidate while the Cougars received some clutch shooting around Davis to help win at Jack Tosh. 

15. Marist (14-1, 2-0) (NR) -- Time to start keeping an eye on Marist as an impressive 14-1 start and third-place finish at Centralia a great start. Senior Morgan Taylor is hooping at a very high level right now as Marist looks like a factor in the ESCC race. 

16. Evanston (11-3, 2-1) (21) -- Good week at Centralia for the Wildkits as they lost to a quality opponent in Champaign Central before finishing in fifth. Junior guard Lance Jones made a clutch shot to beat Carmel and fellow junior Jaheim Holden also had some bright moments in the event as well.  

17. North Lawndale (11-2, 2-1) (NR) -- Finishing in second place in Bloomington, the Phoenix lost to a tough Normal team in the championship. A win over Joliet Central was very notable as North Lawndale will be a factor in the loaded Public League Red North/West. 

18. Uplift (9-5, 3-1) (NR) -- One of the area's most puzzling teams, Uplift looked good earning double-digit wins over Hillcrest and Larkin at Proviso West. Then there's the ugly semifinal loss to Orr in which the Titans were down 38 points at halftime. Which Uplift team will we see the rest of the season? One thing is for sure, when Uplift is focused, they are capable of competing with most of the area's top teams. 

19. Loyola Academy (11-2, 1-1) (NR) -- Winning a holiday tournament in Florida, the Ramblers shot the ball well from the perimeter while defending at a high level. Kevin Cunningham was named MVP in Naples as he continues to fly a bit under the radar in the area. 

20. Hillcrest (11-4, 4-0) (22) -- The Hawks played one of the toughest schedules of any team during holiday tournament week as they placed fourth at Proviso West after a 2-2 finish. Close wins over New Trier and Bogan was a great start before losses to Whitney Young and Uplift.

21. Libertyville (8-5, 3-1) (NR) -- After being ranked in the Power Rankings to start the season, Libertyville is back in the mix after a solid second-place showing at Wheeling. Senior Drew Peterson is starting to generate more high-major interest with his strong season and his supporting cast is coming together around him. 

22. Joliet Central (11-2, 4-0) (NR) -- The Steelmen always seem to emerge as more of a threat after Bloomington and this season is no different. Joliet Central's triple OT win over Wheaton Warrenville South was one of the better matchups of the week. 

23. Wheaton Warrenville South (10-2, 4-0) (23) -- Some tough losses for the Tigers down in Bloomington as they fell to eventual champion Normal by a point before falling to Joliet Central in three overtimes. Very good at dictating the slow pace they want to play, Wheaton-Warrenville South showed that they can be competitive with some of the state's better teams.

24. Brother Rice (10-6, 0-2) (NR) -- If it weren't for some last-second losses to ranked teams like Fenwick and Conant then Brother Rice would be sitting at a really strong 12-4 right now. Instead, the Crusaders had to settle for second place at York as this team is starting to come together. 

25. Batavia (11-3, 3-1) (NR) -- Finally at full strength after the deep run in football, the Bulldogs looked feisty and dangerous in taking third place and going 4-1 at York. The win over previously-unbeaten Naperville North was perhaps the signature moment of the week for Batavia.