Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Posted 11:13 p.m.
By Joe Collins
Comcast SportsNet is your number one source for high school athletics in Chicagoland. Its basketball championship weekend in Peoria and well have highlights of the 4A and 3A title and third place games.
Well also pay a visit to Hales Franciscan High School, where the Spartans celebrate their 2A title. Plus Chuck Garfien profiles a World War II veteran who will get the chance to go on a very special trip thanks to some free throw shooters at Elgins Westminster Christian High School.
And well tell you about an athlete at Lincoln-Way West who balances three sports and contributes at the highest level in the classroom. All this plus a special montage of the best highlights of the basketball season.
Here is a capsule of each team that will compete for a title in Peoria this weekend:
Brooks (28-3): Can the Chicago Public League champs also tame the field at state? The Eagles have already turned some heads in the playoffs, as they outlasted Morgan Park for the sectional title and then used a 20-0 surge to outlast Lindblom in the supersectional. Their offense revolves around their Wisconsin-bound senior guard, George Marshall. He led all scorers with 18 points in Tuesday nights victory. Mike Powell and brothers Keith and Kevin Gray are also key contributors.
Rock Island (28-3): The Rocks will take on the aforementioned Eagles in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 12:15. And if youre looking for star power on Rock Islands roster, look no further than future Stanford Cardinal Chasson Randle. Chicagoans got a look at Randle in the City-Suburban Showdown last month. Randle had a double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) in Tuesdays supersectional victory over Aurora Central Catholic. The Rocks have a fine basketball tradition, as they have advanced to state three times since 1988.
Centralia (29-4): Legendary coach Arthur Trout guided the Centralia High School to three state titles in the first half of the 20th century. Current head coach Lee Bennett and his talented team hope to leave a similar legacy. The Orphans claimed the Springfield Supersectional title on Tuesday with a 48-44 victory over Morton. Guard Bryan Betts, R.J. Kwiatkowski and Tyler Obermeier make up part of a well-balanced attack. This will be Centralias first trip to state since 2002, when they took home a third place trophy.
North Chicago (17-13): Raise your hand if you had the Warhawks advancing to state this season. Anyone? Bueller? The Cinderellas of the north shore will enter the grand ballroom at 2pm on Friday, as they dance with Centralia. NC had a losing record when the playoffs began. And they arent just surprising their opponentstheyre dismantling them. North Chicago used a 26-2 run to overwhelm a tough Crane team Tuesday night in Hoffman Estates. Maurice Gordon, Jaylen Linson and Marzhon Bryant are among the ones to contain on the Warhawk roster.
Glenbard East (27-3): Its all coming together for Illinois State recruit Johnny Hill and the Glenbard East Rams. Hill was unstoppable in the NIU Supersectional game against Rockfords Auburn high school, scoring 32 points in a 63-51 victory. Point guard Zach Miller also got a good feel of the arena hell be playing in next season. The future Huskie tallied nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win. Head coach Scott Miller has completely turned the program around. His teams finished 5-20 in 02 and 03 and have been solid ever since.
Simeon (28-2): A state title in 2006. Another one in 2007. And an unexpected state championship last season. Whats left on the to-do list Wolverines head coach Robert Smith? Preserving the dynasty by winning a fourth championship in six years. Simeon endured two back-to-back losses last month but has been nothing short of dominant ever since. The team is unselfish and features one of the best talents in the nationsophomore Jabari Parker. Their quest for another state title begins Friday night at 6:30 against Glenbard East.
Normal Community (27-6): Dave Witzigs first year as head coach of the Ironmen didnt do much to appease the masses in central Illinois: 4-22. But the program has grown significantly since that 1998-99 season, and Witzig has the likes of Paul Musselman, Anthony Beane and Chase Robbins to thank for it. The three all chipped in nicely in Tuesdays 59-48 win over DePaul-bound Jamee Crockett and Crete-Monee. Normal will take on Warren in the late game on Friday night (8:15pm).
Warren (30-3): The key to the Blue Devil attack revolves around their talented front line, which features Darius Paul (Brandon Pauls brother), Jeremiah Jackson and Nathan Boothe. Coach Chuck Ramseys squad took down star Abdel Nader and Niles North in the Waukegan Supersectional Tuesday. Warren opened some eyes in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament as they pushed Simeon to the brink of defeat, coming up short 58-50. They cannot afford to look ahead to a possible rematch in Saturdays final, though.
Each game of the 3A and 4A championships can be found on WMAQ-DT 5.2. Check us out this Saturday night at 11:00. High School Lites streams live at csnchicago.com.