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High School Lites: Weekly Hoops Preview

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High School Lites: Weekly Hoops Preview

Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011
9:47 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Comcast SportsNet Chicago is your source for prep basketball highlights in Chicagoland! Were covering all compass points in this Fridays edition of High School Lites, including a key DuPage Valley showdown between 14 Glenbard East and West Aurora.

Well head north to check in with 3 Warren and Stevenston. Our cameras will also travel to the south side for a key Catholic League matchip between Hales Franciscan and Fenwick. Also, Luke Stuckmeyer visits Eisenhower High School to witness a rather unique offense run by head coach Mike Curta including an emphasis on three-pointers and substitutions that are reminiscent of a hockey game.

Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover Friday night:

Hubbard @ (23) Curie, 4:00pm

Is there such a thing as a quiet 17-1 team? If so, the 23rd-ranked Condors might fit the bill. They racked up another win Wednesday night over King, 90-67. Greg Travis had a solid night (16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals). The visiting Greyhounds will face a stiff challenge, but they do have a few threats of their own. Cleo Jones and Javon Fields each scored in double figures in Wednesdays 76-67 win over Chicago Richards.

Palatine @ Vernon Hills, 6:00pm

Palatine hasnt had the best of luck this season (6-10, 2-2 in the Mid-Suburban West) but they did score a nice victory last week over a Conant team that came into the contest 11-3. Senior guard Peter Bony will have the Pirates in the game. The host Cougars will hope to bounce back from an 81-70 loss to North Chicago. Did you know that Vernon Hills standout wide receiver (and Notre Dame recruit) DaVaris Daniels also is one of the stars on the basketball team?

Lincoln-Way West @ (18) Thornton, 6:30pm

Think the Wildcats will be ready to get the bad tastes out of their mouths? They will have waited almost a week to erase the jarring memories from last weeks stunning 55-53 loss to unranked North Lawndale. Brian Greene Jr. will look to help raise Thorntons record to 14-1. The Warriors will be looking for their first win since December 27th (Oak Forest). They might have their work cut out for them Friday night in Harvey.

(5) Homewood-Flossmoor @ Bolingbrook, 7:00pm

The 5th ranked Vikings bounced back nicely after the tough overtime loss against Benet in the Proviso West championship. They defeated Lincoln-Way East last week behind Julian Lewis 18 points. H-Fs Delvon Rencher should also pose problems for Bolingbrook, who will be looking to erase a three-game skid. The Raiders have played tough, losing those three by a combined 13 points, including a 62-61 heartbreaker against Glenbard West. Devon Hodges, Chad Cooke and Nick Malonga are the go-to guys for Brook.

Fenwick @ (11) Hales-Franciscan, 7:30pm

The Friars were the big story in Chicagoland prep basketball last Friday night as they shocked then 3 De La Salle 49-48. Although they suffered a letdown the very next night against Ridgewood (48-42), the win over the Meteors should serve as a warning flare to the 11th ranked Spartans. Aaron and Aaric Armstead lead the way for Hales, who have won two straight after the Rich South McDipper tournament. Fenwick guard Dylan Barnett is back after missing some time in the Proviso West tournament with a high ankle sprain.

(25) Lyons @ Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30pm

Keep an eye on Lyons Township. Their 81-55 victory over Waukegan, a long-time prestigious program, should serve as a wake-up call for the rest of the opponents on the Lions schedule. Senior guard Nick Zeisloft can flat-out shoot. He scored 20 points and went 5-for-7 from behind the arc in that victory over Waukegan. But OPRF will be a tough out. The Huskies came back from a 10-point deficit to shock Proviso West last Friday 75-68. KaDarryl Bell scored 22 in that one and he will be needed to counter the Lions attack on Friday.

(13) Glenbard East @ West Aurora, 7:30pm

Is this the first big test for Glenbard East? The Rams, 5-0 in the DuPage Valley conference, head out to play a West Aurora teamalso 5-0 in the DVC. Illinois State recruit Johnny Hill and Zack Miller, an NIU recruit will be the ones to contain on GBEs roster. The Rams beat Glenbard North and Naperville North last week. The Blackhawks, who blew out West Chicago (67-34) and slipped past Glenbard North last weekend (55-54), boast high-flying junior Juwan Starks. Jontrel Walker and Jayquan Lee are tough to contain as well.

Stevenson @ (3) Warren, 7:30pm

The Blue Devils are a force to be reckoned with in the northern suburbs. They dismantled Lake Zurich and then beat Lake Forest by double figures last weekend. They go for their third in a row with Nathan Boothe, Darius Paul and Brandon Ferguson (just to name a few) starring as key contributors. Fellow North Suburban Lake foe Stevenson will come to Gurnee looking for their fifth straight win. Ryan Chapman and Michael Fleming, Colby Cashaw and Troy Radtke are keys to the Patriot attack.

St. Ignatius @ St. Joseph, 7:30pm

Nnanna Igwu is one of the dominant big men in the state. And the 6-10 senior might have St. Ignatius making some noise in the playoffs in the near future. They have won three straight, including a 58-40 decision over St. Rita last Friday. Igwu led all scorers with 23 points. Its been a tough season for St. Joseph so far, but a recent two game winning streak could have the Chargers headed back towards respectability. Joe Edwards, Reggie Johnson and Cameron Harvey will look to give St. Joes their third straight win Friday in Westchester.

GIRLS: Joliet West @ (1) Bolingbrook, 5:30pm

Will Bolingbrook be looking ahead to their Monday showdown against 3 Montini at Willowbrooks McDonalds Shootout? Well find out that answer Friday night as the Raiders battle a Joliet West team that has won three of their last four, including a 58-38 victory over Joliet Central Wednesday night. Bolingbrook, anchored by Morgan Tuck, Taylor Tuck and Ariel Massengale, is one of the elite high school girls basketball programs in the country. They have won their last four games by an average of 29 points, including a 98-37 triumph over Lockport last week.

THURSDAY GAMES:

(15) Crane 57, Marshall 53

Willie Connor scored 18 points and Kieran Woods tallied 16 more as the 15th ranked Cougars beat the Commandos in another hotly contested game in the storied rivalry. The Cougars 14-0 second quarter run offset 29 turnovers on the night and a 5-14 free throw mark from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Marshalls Keifer Sykes (17 points), Shamon Monck 11 points) and Marlon Sykes (9 points) paced the Commando attack.

(13) Farragut 51, (4) Whitney Young 49

The Admirals get a huge upset win on the road. DJ Tolliver made some key baskets down the stretchpart of his 21 points on the night. Whitney Young had key contributions from Ohio State recruit Sam Thompson. He had 11 points but it was not enough, as Farragut iced the game late with free throws. Farragut got the win without the help of their center, Rashaun Stimage, who has a broken hand. Youngs Luke Hager missed a three pointer from the corner as time expired.

Check us out this Friday night at 10:30. High School Lites streams live at csnchicago.com.

What’s at stake for the Bears in Sunday Night’s pivotal NFC North battle

What’s at stake for the Bears in Sunday Night’s pivotal NFC North battle

The Bears aren’t viewing Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings as an opportunity to make a statement. But this also isn’t just another game — it’s the Bears’ best opportunity to take control of a division in which they’ve been mired at the bottom for the last five years. 

“You could say whatever you want in these situations,” outside linebacker Khalil Mack said. “Ultimately, it’s all about getting a win — playing as a team and getting a win. You can’t really get too caught up in the hype. You gotta let that stuff roll off your shoulders and go out and ball, and that’s the mindset of this team, we’re going to go out and ball.”

The Bears enter Sunday with an 86.7 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, according to Football Outsiders. Their chance of winning the division is 68.9 percent, and the most likely playoff seed they’re in line for is No. 3 (35 percent). The Vikings, meanwhile, have a 43.8 percent chance of making the playoffs, and only a 17.4 percent chance of winning the division.

If the Bears win, here’s how the top three in the NFC North would look:

Bears: 7-3
Vikings: 5-4-1
Packers: 4-5-1

The Bears would be 1 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota and 2 1/2 games ahead of Green Bay. But how could that play out with these teams’ remaining schedules?

Bears: 

@ Detroit (Thanksgiving)
@ New York Giants
vs. Los Angeles Rams
vs. Green Bay
@ San Francisco 
@ Minnesota

Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, and the Lions, Giants and 49ers won’t lose the rest of their games this year (especially at home). But at worst, the Bears can reasonably expect to win two of those three games against divisional bottom-feeders, and then one of three games against the Packers, Rams and Vikings. That almost seems like the worst-case scenario, and in it, the Bears get to 10-6. It’s easy to see how, with a win over Minnesota on Sunday night, 11-5 or even 12-4 could be in play. 

The Vikings, meanwhile, have a difficult road ahead:

vs. Green Bay
@ New England
@ Seattle (Monday night)
vs. Miami
@ Detroit
vs. Chicago

The Packers’ path is considerably easier:

@ Minnesota
vs. Arizona
vs. Atlanta
@ Chicago
@ New York Jets
vs. Detroit

But Green Bay probably can only afford one more loss. There’s a very real scenario in which the Bears knock the Packers out of playoff contention with a win at Soldier Field Dec. 16. 

As for the Vikings — a loss to the Bears Sunday night drops them to 5-4-1, though they could hang in the division race by taking two of three from that Green Bay-New England-Seattle stretch, then sweeping their final three games. 

The flip side to all this is what happens if the Bears lose: The Vikings would slide past the Bears into first place with a 6-3-1 record. It wouldn’t knock the Bears out of the NFC North race, not with the way each team’s schedule lines up. 

But psychologically, the effects of losing to the Vikings for the Bears could be longer-lasting than merely losing first place by half a game. Just as psychologically, the effects of beating the Vikings could have a longer-lasting impact than padding their lead in the division to 1 1/2 games. 

“We know it's a big game coming up,” left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “But all we've got to do is take care of our job. Do our job, block all the noise out and take care of business.”

Preseason Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 1 Whitney Young

Preseason Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 1 Whitney Young

Whitney Young

2017-18 record: 28-8, 7-2 Public League Red-North/West

Postseason results: Lost to Belleville West in Class 4A state title game.

Players to watch: The junior backcourt of Fenwick transfer D.J. Steward and Tyler Beard is potentially the best in the state as both players are consensus top-75 national prospects. Senior Myles Baker is poised for a big season after some strong play last season. Other seniors like Justin Warren and Keenan Jones are great role players who have helped win plenty of games.

Why they're in the power rankings: After falling just short of back-to-back Class 4A championships last season, Whitney Young reloads to replace departed seniors like Javon Freeman and Xavier Castaneda. It's rare a high school team loses two Division I prospects and replenishes with a backcourt that could be better, but that's the case here with Whitney Young. The Dolphins have the upside to be the state's best team this season.

Did you know? Whitney Young has been a state final qualifier seven times -- including five times under current head coach Tyrone Slaughter.