Preps Talk

Bolingbrook takes third in Class 4A with win over Fremd

Bolingbrook takes third in Class 4A with win over Fremd

Bolingbrook captured third place in Class 4A boys basketball with a tight 70-66 win over Fremd on Saturday night in Peoria.

The Raiders had a balanced scoring effort in which five players ended up in double-figures.

Senior Malik Binns led Bolingbrook with 18 points while senior Nana Akenten, a Nebraska commit, added 16 points for the Raiders. Sophomore Joseph Yesufu (12 points) knocked in two key free throws for the Raiders to make it a three-point game with under 10 seconds left while sophomore Tyler Cochran also added 11 points for Bolingbrook. Senior Kaleb Thornton rounded out the double-figure scorers for Bolingbrook by chipping in 10 points.

"Coming into the state tournament, Coach [Robert Brost] emphasized a lot that there's only two teams in the state able to win their last game," Akenten said. "Like Coach said, we wanted to play for the state championship, but we lost our last game, so we came out here and fought."

The Raiders (30-2) finish this season as champions of the SouthWest Suburban Blue while they were also ranked as the No. 1 team in the CSN Preps Power Rankings for a good chunk of time in the middle of the season. When you consider that this Bolingbrook team also added three offseason transfers and played a lot of underclassmen, it was a very successful season for Bolingbrook.

The third-place title for the Raiders is tied for the best finish ever for their boys basketball program after they also placed third in Class 4A in 2015.

"I just couldn't be prouder of our guys," Bolingbrook coach Robert Brost said. 

"I'm so proud of these boys, not for the players that they are, but for the human beings they are. They geniunely care about each other. And they genuinely care about the coaching staff."

Finishing its season at 31-2,  Fremd's fourth-place finish is tied for the best ever for school's boys basketball program as the Mid-Suburban League champions were led by senior Kyle Sliwa's 25 points.

Sliwa's three-pointer with 2:35 left gave the Vikings a 64-63 lead that they held for nearly two minutes until Binns made two free throws to give the Raiders the lead that they held for good.

Luke Schoffstall finished with 16 points for the Vikings while Ryan Martin also finished in double-figures with 11 points. Fremd has finished two of the last four seasons unbeaten in the regular season as the team's seniors are hoping to continue to lay a foundation for future Fremd basketball success.

"We had a pretty historic season. No one really expected us to be anything this year," Fremd senior Shaan Patel said. "We came out and we believed in ourselves when nobody else would believe in us. Between all of us, we've been playing together since the fourth grade, and we had confidence in each other."

Power Rankings: #5 - Lake Zurich

Power Rankings: #5 - Lake Zurich

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Lake Zurich

Head coach: Luke Mertens

Assistant coaches: Aaron Towne, Nate Boekholder, Jason Newburger, Matt VanAcker, Nick Summers, Vito Andriola, Rick Erickson, Jeff Bartlett, Shane Williams, Kelly Henkel, Chris Barberis, Christian Wollard and Alec Malachowski

How they fared in 2017: 13-1 (7-0 North Suburban Conference). Lake Zurich made the 7A state playoff field and defeated Schaumburg, Plainfield North, St. Rita and Mount Carmel. In the state title game, they lost in OT to Batavia. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Fremd

Aug. 31 vs Nazareth Academy

Sept. 7 vs Zion-Benton

Sept. 14 vs Lake Forest

Sept. 21 @ Stevenson

Sept. 28 @ Libertyville

Oct. 5 @ Warren Township

Oct. 12 vs Mundelein

Oct.20 @ Waukegan

[MORE: Power Rankings #6 - Nazareth]

Biggest storyline: The program didn't miss a beat when they changed coaches in the 2017 offseason. Can the program, one year removed from a state title game, reload once again and not skip a beat for the second consecutive season?

Names to watch this season: LB Luke Dwyer (North Dakota State) and WR Michael Gallus

Biggest holes to fill: The Bears will need to have some fresh faces step up on offense, especially in the skills department: quarterback and running back. 

EDGY's Early Take: The Bears will simply reload this season. Head coach Luke Mertens was able to make quite a state playoff run in his first season. Keep an eye on senior QB Matt McGraw (6-foot-4, 185 pounds), who transferred in this summer from Grant. He brings a big arm and a passing threat to the Lake Zurich offense. The Bears' defense will once again be a strength. Keep an eye on senior DL Jackson Farsales, senior LB Luke Dwyer and senior DB Austin LePage. The underclassmen talent for Lake Zurich is also impressive and will provide much needed depth this season. 

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

Power Rankings: #6 - Nazareth

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy Luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Tom Minogue, Matt Letcher, Larry White, Jonathon Bittle and Joe Felice

How they fared in 2017: 12-2 (6-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference). Nazareth Academy made the 6A state playoff field and defeated Springfield, Danville, Sacred Heart-Griffin and Providence Catholic before losing to Prairie Ridge in the state title game.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs. Lutheran North (Mo.)

Aug. 31 @ Lake Zurich

Sept. 7 @ Marian Central Catholic

Sept. 14 vs. St. Patrick

Sept. 21 @ Benet Academy

Sept. 28 @ Carmel

Oct. 5 vs. Marist

Oct. 12 vs. Joliet Catholic

Oct. 19 @ Marian Catholic

[MORE: 33 Days to Kickoff - Benet]

Biggest storyline: Can the Roadrunners move up a class to 7A and win a state title in 2018?

Names to watch this season: RB/DB Devin Blakley (Miami of Ohio) and WR/DB Michael Love (Bowling Green)

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners welcome back 16 returning starters (seven offense, nine defense) from last year's Class 6A state title runner-up team. But still, more depth will be needed playing "up" in 7A this playoff season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Roadrunners and head coach Tim Racki (who will be playing up in Class 7A this year due to the IHSA Success Factor rule) came up just short in the 6A state title in 2017. This year's team brings back nearly every key player from that squad. The offense will need to settle on a starting quarterback (including D1 recruit sophomore QB J.J. McCarthy) but the overall skills group will be a major strength on offense this fall. Nazareth's defense is also loaded. Senior DB/WR Diamond Evans along with senior DT Cameron Leach are just names among several others who are expected to make a major impact this season. If the Roadrunners' offense can settle in under a new quarterback, this team has the potential to win a state title in Class 7A.