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High School Lites Hoops Preview: Week 2

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High School Lites Hoops Preview: Week 2

Whose side are you on? A classic south side-west side matchup will highlight this weeks episode of High School Lites on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Top-ranked Simeon, led by national talent Jabari Parker, takes on Farragut at North Park University. Can the Terrell brothers (Deonte and Alante) guide the Admirals to an upset?

We also spotlight a huge early-season game in the Catholic North as De La Salle travels to St. Joseph. Here is a snapshot of each game Comcast SportsNet will be covering this week on High School Lites. All rankings reflect the CSN Top 20:

THURSDAY GAMES

Uplift (0-6) @ 5 Curie (1-0), 5:30pm

Its a busy week for Curie, who will travel to the Assembly Hall Saturday for the Shootout At The Hall to take on Champaign Centennial. 6-9 sophomore Cliff Alexander and senior guard Devin Foster will get the most looks this season for the Condors. Foster scored 30 points in Curies 81-71 win over Bowman (IN) on Saturday. Uplifts record might stand at 0-6, but their schedule hasnt exactly been light. Theyve faced undefeated Mundelein, DuSable and took 5-2 Barrington to the games final moments.

Glenbrook South (2-5) @ 16 New Trier (6-1), 6:30pm

Dartmouth-bound Connor Boehm, a 6-8 forward, is looking to lead the Trevians far beyond last years pedestrian 15-12 finish. He scored 18 points and grabbed five boards in Tuesday nights 58-47 win over Niles West. New Triers only loss this season has been to 2 Warren. Glenbrook South is coming off a heartbreaking 52-49 loss to Waukegan Tuesday in the final seconds. Jamie Nikitas and Victor Levi will figure to make an impact for the Titans.

FRIDAY GAMES

Addison Trail (4-2) @ 4 Proviso East (5-0), 6:00pm

The fourth-ranked Pirates are not a one-man show. Their roster, with St. Louis recruit Keith Carter, Sterling Brown (Shannon Brown's brother), Trashaun Carroll and Paris Lee, could make a deep playoff run in March. They are coming off a 79-50 win over Raby on Saturday. The Blazers are also riding high off a 51-46 victory over Evergreen Park Monday night. Vince Beltrano tallied 15 points and Gunther Sauck added 14 more. Will they have the depth to match up with East?

Rich East (2-3) @ 11 Crete-Monee (3-1), 6:30pm

C-M features a couple of familiar names...for different reasons. Former Hillcrest coach Tom Cappel is now patrolling the sidelines for the Warriors. And LaQuon Treadwell, who was a force at wide receiver for the football team, is also one of the go-to guys on the court. The Warriors feature standout guards in Michael Orris and Marvie Keith. Rich East will contend this year, thanks to guard Raheem Jackson. Coach George Leonard should also get contributions from Anthony Perkins and Ron Lawton.

Stagg (5-1) @ 17 Andrew (4-0), 7:00pm

It's the home opener for the Thunderbolts, CSN's Muscle Milk Team of the Week. Their road resume has looked pretty good to this point. They have already defeated the aforementioned Crete-Monee Warriors and also went into Harvey to take down Thornton. Brothers Jawad and Jubril Adekoya lead the attack. Stagg figures to be another tough challenge, though. 6-6 junior Sean Dwyer is one of the more versatile players in the area. His height speaks for itself, but he can also hit threes.

10 De La Salle (5-1) @ 12 St. Joseph (3-2), 7:30pm

The 10th-ranked Meteors bounced back in a huge way Tuesday night, defeating 13 Farragut 62-50 after Friday's heartbreaking loss to St. Rita. Alvin Ellis, Gavin Schilling and Alex Foster all scored in double figures. However, De La Salle can't ease off the gas, as a formidable Catholic North opponent awaits. Gene Pingatore's crew has some height to match up against a tall Meteor squad, namely in 6-8 junior A.J. Patty. Look for Reggie Johnson to contribute for the Chargers as well.
1 Simeon (2-0) vs. 13 Farragut (2-2), 7:30pm at North Park University

The good news for Farragut? They should be battle-tested. And angry. Rashaun Stimage scored 19 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday night against 10th-ranked De La Salle, but it was not enough, as Farragut lost by 12. A much tougher test, though, awaits as the top-ranked Wolverines are lurking. Simeon has the deepest roster in the state, with forwards Jabari Parker, Steve Taylor and guard Kendrick Nunn running the show. They are 2-0 after a 73-53 win over Notre Dame on Sunday.

6 Downers Grove South (5-1) @ 20 Morton (4-0), 7:30pm

Jerron Wilbut, Downers Grove Souths dynamic guard, did not play in the teams last game against Oak Park-River Forest. Head coach Jay Baum said he will play this Friday against a Morton team who has posted quality wins against Centennial, Fenwick, Lyons and Willowbrook. Senior center Rocco Belcaster is their go-to guy. Downers Grove South and Morton will need to keep pace with Proviso East in the West Suburban Gold conference race.
Girls: Niles West (10-0) @ Maine South (9-1), 7:30pm

The visiting Wolves are coming off a huge win check that, routof a talented New Trier team. Notre Dame-bound Jewell Lloyd is the key to Wests attack. She scored 25 points and pulled in 15 rebounds in the 45-23 victory. Maine South did one better than Niles West Tuesday nightliterally. They scored a 46-23 victory over Evanston. Michelle Maher had 11 points.

Girls: Proviso East (7-1) @ Whitney Young (4-0), 8:00pm

It should be a good battle between two teams who have potential to go deep into the state playoffs. Youngs Janee Thompson has quite a story. The Kentucky-bound point guard spent most of the 2010-11 season on the sidelines with a torn ACL. She will be relied on quite a bit this season, but Virginia Tech-bound guard Alexis Lloyd and junior guard Linnae Harper are certain to help out as well. Proviso East, coming off a 65-40 win over Willowbrook, has scorers in Jakeisha Wells, Kalea Parks and Jalairia Wells.

Every Friday night at 10:30, High School Lites will bring you scores and highlights from the Chicagoland basketball courts. We'll also have in-depth feature stories and take a look back down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment.

This week, be sure to check out CSN's Muscle Milk Team of the Week, the Andrew High School Thunderbolts. As mentioned above, an underrated duo is helping transform this Tinley Park school into a consistent basketball power. Could a deep playoff run be in the mix for the Bolts?

High School Lites streams live every Friday at 10:30pm on CSNChicago.com.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well by leaving comments below the story.

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

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AP

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Cubs have reportedly found new hitting coach in Anthony Iapoce

Cubs have reportedly found new hitting coach in Anthony Iapoce

The Cubs are heading into a new season with a different hitting coach for the second straight winter, but the most recent choice is a familiar face.

Anthony Iapoce is set to join Joe Maddon's coaching staff this week after serving in the same capacity with the Texas Rangers for the last three seasons. The Cubs confirmed the move Monday afternoon shortly after the news broke out of the Rangers camp.

The Cubs fired Chili Davis last week after just one season as the team's hitting coach.

Entering the final week of the season, the Rangers fired manager Jeff Banister, leaving Iapoce and the rest of the Texas coaching staff in limbo.

As such, Iapoce is rejoining the Cubs, where he served as a special assistant to the General Manager from 2013-15 focusing on player development, particularly in the hitting department throughout the minor leagues.

Iapoce has familiarity with a bunch of the current star offensive players on the Cubs, from Willson Contreras to Kris Bryant. 

Both Bryant and Contreras endured tough 2018 seasons at the plate, which was a huge reason for the Cubs' underperforming lineup. Bryant's issue was more related to a left shoulder injured suffered in mid-May while Contreras' offensive woes remain a major question mark after the young catcher looked to be emerging as a legitimate superstar entering the campaign.

Getting Contreras back to the hitter that put up 21 homers and 74 RBI in only 117 games in 2017 will be one of the main goals for Iapoce, so the history between the two could be a key.

With the Rangers, Iapoce oversaw an offense that ranked 7th, 9th and 14th in MLB in runs scored over the last three seasons. The decline in offensive production is obviously not a great sign, but the Rangers as a team have fallen off greatly since notching the top seed in the AL playoffs in 2016 with 95 wins only to lose 95 games in 2018, resulting in the change at manager.

Iapoce has worked with an offense backed by Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo the last few seasons.

Under Iapoce's tutelage, former top prospect Jurickson Profar shed any notion of a "bust" label and emerged as a budding star at age 25, collecting 61 extra-base hits with a .793 OPS in 2018.

When the Cubs let Davis go last week, they provided no update on assistant hitting coach Andy Haines, who just finished his first season in that role and is expected to remain with the team for 2019. The same offseason Iapoce left for the Rangers, Haines took over as the Cubs' minor league hitting instructor.