Scott Phillips

High School Lites Preview: Week 7 features plenty of star power

High School Lites Preview: Week 7 features plenty of star power

High School Lites has a fun lineup with games from all over the Chicagoland area this week. We'll see highlights from the Red, White and Blue Divisions of the Public League.

The suburbs also have plenty of intriguing matchups, including our main game in the MSL East featuring Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows. High School Lites airs on Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago.

Clark at Crane, 5:00 p.m. -- We head to the Public League White-West for a matchup of two strong teams. Clark (13-5, 5-1) is battle-tested after losses to top-ten teams like Bogan and Thornton during the season. But they'll need to bounce back following a conference loss to Perspectives-MSA. Crane (16-2, 7-0) has also opened eyes this season by knocking off Orr and also making the title game of the Maine East Holiday Tournament. Both of the Cougars' losses this season have come to ranked teams (St. Charles North, Oak Forest).

North Shore at Northridge Prep, 6:00 p.m. -- The Independent School League's top team tries to stay unbeaten in this one. Northridge Prep (14-3, 5-0) earned a blowout conference win over Morgan Park Academy on Wednesday night to stay undefeated. North Shore (5-7, 2-4) won by a point in its Wednesday matchup against Ida Crown as they try to finish the week 2-0.

Sandburg at Stagg, 6:15 p.m. -- We catch up with the SouthWest Suburban with this crossover. Sandburg (8-8, 0-0) won four straight before a 10-point loss to a top-25 team in Oak Forest on Tuesday. Stagg (4-11, 0-0) has struggled following a 3-1 start. The Chargers dropped an up-and-down game against Evergreen Park earlier this week.

North Lawndale at No. 4 Whitney Young, 6:30 p.m. -- The Dolphins try to hold on to the Red North/West lead in this game. North Lawndale (12-5, 6-1) recently lost an overtime thriller to Lincoln Park but bounced back with a win over Orr. Daequon Davis and Larry Johnson lead a balanced Phoenix roster. Whitney Young (10-6, 6-0) is getting strong play from senior D.J. Steward (Duke). If the Dolphins get strong play from senior guard Tyler Beard then they are tough to stop.

Rich Central at (18) Kankakee, 6:30 p.m. -- High School Lites gets a look at Kankakee in this Southland battle. The Kays (14-1, 5-1) have only dropped a game to Bloom this season as they're one of the most underrated programs in the area. Rich Central (6-12, 3-4) completes a difficult week in conference play after losing to Bloom earlier this week.

Lincoln-Way East at Bolingbrook, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the best teams in the Southwest Suburban Blue kick off conference play in this game. Lincoln-Way East (12-2, 0-0) has flown a bit under the radar as they haven't lost since Dec. 6. Winners of the Effingham Holiday Tournament, the Griffins have some notable recent wins over Oak Lawn and Corliss. Bolingbrook (14-4, 0-0) is coming off of a monster win over Marian Catholic after falling to Neuqua Valley last week. Point guard Darius Burford is coming off of a blistering 38-point effort against the Spartans.

Sycamore at Kaneland, 7:00 p.m. -- The Interstate Eight has a solid game featuring two of the three conference leaders. Sycamore (11-5, 4-1) has won four of five as they try to stay tied atop the league. Kaneland (8-6, 4-1) is led by two double-figure scorers in Brett David and Jamari Meeks. These two teams also play on Feb. 21 with a return game at Sycamore.

Buffalo Grove at Rolling Meadows, 7:30 p.m. -- This should be a fun Mid-Suburban East showdown. Buffalo Grove (14-4, 4-0) lost to a tough Cary-Grove team on Monday as they were riding a six-game winning streak. The Bison have a strong group of perimeter shooters. Rolling Meadows (11-4, 4-0) is led by junior Max Christie, a five-star prospect and Player of the Year candidate. The Mustangs have started to emerge around Christie with solid recent wins over Fremd and Hersey.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week  

Senn at Amundsen, 5:00 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week goes to the Blue-North Division of the Public League. Senn (8-4, 7-0) is the undefeated leader in the conference with recent blowout wins in conference play. Amundsen (6-6, 6-1) is riding a recent three-game winning streak where they won each game by at least 19 points.

NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings: Curie stays No. 1

NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings: Curie stays No. 1

A slow week before the Martin Luther King weekend events means minimal changes to this week's Power Rankings.

Only one new team enters the mix, while only a few ranked teams lost during the week. This week should see tons of changes thanks to shootouts and tournaments going on all over the state.

1. Curie (14-1, 5-0) (1) -- Massive win for the Condors over No. 5 Bogan in conference play as they stay in the driver's seat in the Red South/Central. Curie showed they can win against a top team without a huge game from senior Ramean Hinton. 

2. Evanston (16-0, 4-0) (2) -- Quality win for the Wildkits taking down Niles North to stay unbeaten. The Wildkits get another intriguing matchup against Hillcrest this week. 

3. Bloom (16-4, 5-1) (4) -- Two blowout wins for the Blazing Trojans during the week. Bloom will be heavily favored again this week with matchups against Rich South and Rich Central. 

4. Whitney Young (9-6, 5-0) (6) -- D.J. Steward had a potential signature performance with 40 points against Christian Brothers (MO) at the Highland Shootout. It was also a strong win for Whitney Young before a week that includes two conference home games and a trip to Hoop Hall.

5. Bogan (16-2, 5-1) (3) -- Bogan lost a tight road game to Curie in Red South/Central league play. The Bengals bounced back with two wins as they prepare for Kenwood and Lindblom this week.

6. Loyola (17-1, 6-0) (7) -- Loyola retained the Jesuit Cup over St. Ignatius before taking down St. Viator in overtime the next day. The Ramblers are still unbeaten against Illinois competition as that will be heavily tested against No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor this week.

7. Notre Dame (17-2, 3-0) (8) -- The Dons continue to pile up impressive wins, this time over St. Viator and Fenwick. Notre Dame will face Morgan Park in a huge showdown at Fenwick on Monday.

8. Thornton (16-0, 6-0) (9) -- Still unbeaten, the Southland leaders face a major test in No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor during the week. The Wildcats will look to add another top-ten win to its profile. 

9. Homewood-Flossmoor (13-1, 0-0) (10) -- The Vikings earned two more victories to stay in the top ten. Homewood-Flossmoor faces two top-ten teams this week as they're scheduled to face Thornton and Loyola.

10. Lincoln Park (14-3, 5-1) (11) -- Even in the midst of controversy with suspended head coach Pat Gordon, the Lions are playing great ball with wins over North Lawndale and Lane. The Lions have a tough game against No. 20 Joliet West at Hyde Park this week.

11. DePaul Prep (15-2, 6-0) (12) -- Three wins for the Rams during the week. DePaul Prep gets three more games this week when they play Manual and two Catholic League matchups.

12. Marian Catholic (13-4, 3-1) (15) -- The Spartans got back on track with a notable win over Morgan Park at DePaul Prep. It's hard to figure out Marian Catholic at this point in the season but they maintain a very high ceiling.

13. Morgan Park (9-6, 3-1) (5) -- Morgan Park dropped a game to Marian Catholic at DePaul Prep. Even with all of the star power, the Mustangs can't seem to figure out how to best play together yet.

14. Waubonsie Valley (16-1, 3-1) (14) -- Two double-digit wins for the Warriors as they continue to be one of the area's hottest teams. Waubonsie Valley plays at Burlington Central this week for Martin Luther King events.

15. Stevenson (12-3, 4-0) (17) -- The North Suburban is now in Stevenson's control following a massive conference win over Mundelein. The Patriots play on the road, including an intriguing matchup in Libertyville during the week.

16. Mundelein (14-2, 3-1) (13) -- The Mustangs dropped a North Suburban road game at Stevenson. Mundelein deserves credit for a solid follow-up win against Willowbrook the next day. Strong week of games for the Mustangs once again as they play Libertyville and No. 19 Glenbrook South at Lake Zurich.

17. York (14-2, 3-0) (18) -- York stayed the course with two wins during the week. Huge week in conference play for the Dukes when they host Glenbard West and Oak Park-River Forest. 

18. Kankakee (13-1, 4-1) (19) -- The Kays won two during the week, including a blowout win over Danville. Kankakee stays in Southland play this week with two winnable games.

19. Glenbrook South (15-2, 4-0) (20) -- The Titans picked up two wins, including a win over Palatine at Lake Zurich. Glenbrook South matches up with New Trier and Mundelein this week. The game against the Mustangs should be a fun matchup of top-25 teams.

20. Joliet West (15-2, 8-0) (22) -- Strong week for Joliet West knocking off Oswego and Oswego East for two quality wins. A strong matchup against Lincoln Park looms at Hyde Park on Monday.

21. Niles North (13-3, 4-0) (21) -- Niles North lost in a test against No. 2 Evanston as Aquan Smart continues his All-Area campaign. The bounceback win over Highland Park maintains control of the CSL North for the Vikings.

22. Orr (10-5, 4-1) (23) -- The Spartans earned two during the week to stay in the mix in the Red North/West. Orr has two conference road games this week and a trip to East St. Louis to face Cardinal Ritter (MO). 

23. Oak Forest (15-1, 7-0) (24) -- Oak Forest made a strong statement with a double-digit win over Oak Lawn during the week. The Bengals hit the road to play TF South this week. 

24. St. Charles North (12-3, 5-0) (25) -- The North Stars earned an easy conference win during the week. St. Charles North faces Batavia and Libertyville for two tougher matchups this week.

25. DeKalb (14-3, 4-0) (NR) -- After a 2-3 start, DeKalb has run off a winning streak to get into the rankings for the first time this season. The Barbs own wins over No. 14 Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley as they lead the DuPage Valley.

Scott Phillips' NBC Sports Chicago High School Lites Preview

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NBC Sports Chicago

Scott Phillips' NBC Sports Chicago High School Lites Preview

High School Lites has tons of conference action this week. Big games in the North Suburban, Catholic League, Fox Valley and West Suburban Silver are just a few of the matchups we'll spotlight as there are great games across Chicagoland.

NBC Sports Chicago has live/live streamed coverage of High School Lites at 11 p.m. on Friday night. 

THURSDAY

Vocational at No. 5 Morgan Park, 5:00 p.m. -- We begin in the Public League Red South/Central. The Mustangs (8-5, 2-1) had an impressive win over Hyde Park earlier this week as they'll be the heavy favorites. Morgan Park features Illinois commit Adam Miller, Wake Forest commit Marcus Watson and wing Brandon Weston on a team trying to compete for a city and state title. Vocational (6-9, 1-4) started the conference season 0-4 before a big win over Lindblom earlier this week.

Girls: Montini at Fenwick, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the area's top girls teams play here. Both also reside in the top ten of the latest AP Class 3A girls basketball state poll. Montini (17-3) had some slip-ups at the holidays as they come in looking to regain their footing. Fenwick (17-2) recently fell to Simeon but bounced back with a win over Loyola. 

FRIDAY

No. 22 Joliet West at Oswego East, 6:30 p.m. -- A lot of talent on the floor in this Southwest Prairie crossover. Joliet West (14-2, 7-0) has high expectations now following the strong third-place showing at Pontiac. The Tigers are led by Jamere Hill, Jaiden Lee and Trent Howland as they earned a win over Oswego earlier this week. Oswego East (12-4, 6-1) is the top team in the West Division of the Southwest Prairie as they won over Plainfield Central on Tuesday. Senior Sam Schultz recently returned to the lineup from a knee injury while Will Wolfe is a leader on the perimeter. 

Hampshire at Cary-Grove, 7:00 p.m. -- Two top teams collide in the Fox Valley here. Hampshire (11-4, 5-1) had won 11 straight games after an 0-3 start -- including winning the tournament title at Marengo be -- before a loss to Burlington Central this week. One of the area's bigger lineups, the Whip-Purs' shortest starter is 6-foot-3 senior Jackson Milison. Cary-Grove (13-2, 6-0) has only lost to ranked teams in York and Waubonsie Valley as they're led by senior big man Frank Jakubicek (Belmont) and senior point guard Beau Frericks (Lewis). A key matchup in this one could be Hampshire 6-foot-7 senior Nick Erickson matching up with the 6-foot-8 Jakubicek on the interior.

No. 15 Marian Catholic at St. Patrick, 7:00 p.m. -- We head to the ESCC for a matchup between two of the league's best teams. Marian Catholic (11-4, 2-1) is led by Iowa commit and senior Ahron Ulis. Ulis has plenty of weapons around him, including forward Elijah Jones (Western Illinois) and athletic senior guard Joe Green. St. Pat's (12-3, 2-0) has a solid record to start the season but they lack a signature win since knocking off Benet on the road in December. The Shamrocks are a balanced offense led by Caleb Corro, Timaris Brown and Nick Galati. 

Dundee-Crown at Jacobs, 7:30 p.m. -- Staying in the Fox Valley, we take in this rivalry matchup. Dundee-Crown (7-6, 3-2) picked up a massive comeback road win at Crystal Lake South on Wednesday -- trailing by double-digits in the second half and still winning. Jacobs (10-5, 4-2) held off Prairie Ridge as they try to stay in the Fox Valley race with a win. 

No. 13 Mundelein at No. 17 Stevenson, 7:30 p.m. -- A major showdown for the top spot in the North Suburban. Mundelein (13-1, 3-0) is led by a strong junior group that includes Conor Enright (Drake), Scottie Ebube and Trey Baker. The trio has helped the Mustangs stay unbeaten against Chicagoland competition this season, with their only loss coming against Class 4A title contender Collinsville on the road. Stevenson (11-3, 3-0) lost to a pair of ranked opponents at Hinsdale Central, falling to H-F and Marian Catholic. The Patriots are skilled at all five spots, led by seniors Matthew Ambrose, R.J. Holmes and John Ittounas. But Stevenson will have to play better against length and athleticism, something they've struggled with at times this season.

Glenbard West at Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30 p.m. -- This one could be important in the West Suburban Silver race. Glenbard West (12-1, 1-1) is off to a strong start but they haven't beaten a great opponent yet. The Hilltoppers won their recent holiday event and come in with a lot of confidence. OPRF (7-5, 2-0) hasn't played since the Pontiac Holiday Tournament as they've had a long layoff to practice and rest. Junior Isaiah Barnes is a potential All Area candidate who can score in bunches for the Huskies. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

St. Ignatius vs. No. 7 Loyola, at Loyola University, 7 p.m. -- A battle for the Jesuit Cup wins our Viewers' Choice matchup this week. St. Ignatius (12-4, 4-1) is an intriguing team led by senior Daniel Fahey. The Wolfpack have loads of younger talent as they are a team to watch in the Catholic League race. Loyola (15-1, 5-0) hasn't lost to an area team all season thanks to suffocating defense and a balanced offense. Seniors Jordan and Bennett Kwiecinski (Drake and Siena, respectively) give the Ramblers an advantage inside.