Preps Talk

CSN Top 20 IHSA basketball rankings: Week 8

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CSN Top 20 IHSA basketball rankings: Week 8

1.Whitney Young (13-1)

PrepsTalk: Jahlil Okafor earned MVP honors in Saturdays win against White Station (TN) at the Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest in Memphis. It'll be a busy week for the Dolphins: Monday at Crane, Wednesday at Marshall, then home Friday vs. Farragut.

2. Morgan Park (16-1)

PrepsTalk: Two more wins for the Mustangs, who look to put an exclamation point on south side supremacy. Billy Garrett Jr, Kyle Davis and company will have a golden chance for just that on Wednesday.

3. Simeon (11-2)

PrepsTalk: Jabari Parker scored 21 points and grabbed six boards as the Wolverines beat Memphis Southwind 55-53 in Tennessee Saturday night. Three games this week, with the Battle of Vincennes (at Morgan Park) Wednesday.

4. Marian Catholic (16-1)

PrepsTalk: M-C won their 14th straight game Saturday --a school record-- as they took down Quincy, 60-39. Thursdays road game at Benet could be a must-see East Suburban Catholic duel.

5. North Chicago (16-1)

PrepsTalk: JaVairius Amos-Mays, JayQuan McCloud (18 and 8) and Big Kurt Hall helped overwhelm Wauconda and Libertyville this week. Up next: a Friday tilt against North Suburban foe Grant.

6. Proviso East (12-3)

PrepsTalk: The Pirates defeated Morton Friday 68-43, but a late-game skirmish between the two teams could leave Proviso East with a thin lineup Friday against Willowbrook.

7. Oswego (13-2)

PrepsTalk: The Panthers made an emphatic statement on the Southwest Prairie conference race Friday with a road win at Minooka. Darion Reddick was impressive, scoring 23 points.

8. Benet (17-3)

PrepsTalk: The Redwings walloped Joliet Catholic 47-18 Friday night behind Eddie Eshoos 11 points. Can they slow down Tyler Ulis and Marian Catholic? The winner seizes first place in the ESCC.

9. Notre Dame (15-2)

PrepsTalk: Two wins in back-to-back games. The first victory was a 63-53 decision Friday over Nazareth. Then Saturday, Matt Mooney and Eddie Serrano (12 points apiece) paced the Dons against Conant, 46-32.

10. West Aurora (13-2)

PrepsTalk: Saturday's 59-19 win over Lockport marked the first of four true road games for the Blackhawks. The fun continues Friday in what should be a fine matchup at Glenbard East.

11. Orr (11-2)

PrepsTalk: Tyquone Greer scored 12 points as the Spartans defeated Shiloh (GA) 50-43 at the Brandon Jennings Invitational in Milwaukee on Saturday. They face Ford Power Houses elite scorer Elliot Cole on Wednesday.

12. Bloom (12-3)

PrepsTalk: Johnny Griffin tallied 22 points as Bloom took down 12-win Crete-Monee 61-45 on Friday. Two home games for the Blazing Trojans this week: Tuesday vs. Joliet Central, Friday vs. Kankakee.

13. Niles North (12-3)

PrepsTalk: Malachi Nix scored 18 points, JJ Myles and BJ Beckford scored 14 apiece as the Vikings dispatched Deerfield 67-55 Friday. Niles North faces Prospect Tuesday. Friday's game vs. Glenbrook North should be entertaining.

14. Neuqua Valley (15-1)

PrepsTalk: The undefeated streak is over for the Wildcats. Jabari Sandifer scored 19 points but Neuqua could not contain Sean Davis and Metea Valley, falling 55-49 Saturday.

15. Larkin (15-2)

PrepsTalk: The Royals won their 10th straight game Thursday night as they rolled St. Charles East 67-53. Quantice Hunter scored 21 points to lead Larkin, who faces Streamwood Friday.

16. Providence-St. Mel (13-3)

PrepsTalk: St. Mel overwhelmed Christ The King 79-29 this week. It figures to be a good matchup Tuesday as Tevin King and company face Seton Academy on the west side.

17. Stevenson (12-4)

PrepsTalk: Jalen Brunsons 21 points led the Patriots in a 73-55 win Saturday over Vernon Hills. Pecking order in the North Suburban Lake is up-for-grabs Friday as Zion-Benton comes to town.

18. Brother Rice (15-2)

PrepsTalk: Alex Majewski scored 27 points to lead his team past Hales 53-38 on Friday. It was the first Brother Rice victory over Hales since 2004. Road games at Nazareth (Tuesday) and St. Rita (Friday) await.

19. Curie (9-5)

PrepsTalk: Curie earned our Muscle Milk Team of the Week honors last week. Cliff Alexander showed some muscle indeed Thursday in a win against Robeson: 23 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.

20. Zion-Benton (14-3)

PrepsTalk: A Tuesday out-of-state match against Tremper (WI) and a potential statement game at Stevenson Friday night. Milik Yarborough (30 points against Lakes on Saturday) has been nothing short of unstoppable.

Looming and Lurking: Lemont, St. Patrick, St. Viator, Maine South, Marist, St. Benedict, Riverside-Brookfield, Montini, Oak Park-River Forest, Bolingbrook, Lake Forest, Woodstock, Crystal Lake Central, Leyden, St. Edward, St. Rita, Dundee-Crown

You can catch High School Lites, sponsored by Discount Tire, every Friday night at 10:30 p.m. We stream the show live at CSNChicago.com.

Be sure to follow @PrepsTalkCSN and @JoeCSN for prep basketball coverage.

High School Lites Preview: Week 8

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Lites Preview: Week 8

High School Lites has plenty of action this week as the show will feature some interesting leagues. The Public League's White Divison will be specially focused in this one, with three big games from the city. The show also features Public League Red, SouthWest Suburban and the first ever girls basketball Viewers' Choice Game of the Week. High School Lites airs on NBC Sports Chicago at 11 p.m. on Friday night!

Thursday's Games

DuSable at Dunbar, 5:00 p.m. -- We head to the Public League White Central for this game. DuSable (7-9, 4-3) is coming off of a close loss to Solorio earlier in the week. Dunbar (14-4, 6-1) is trying to hang with unbeaten Lindblom at the top of the conference as they got off to an 11-0 start this season.

Brooks at Fenger, 6:45 p.m. -- Sticking in the Public League's White Division in the South, this one is also among two conference leaders. Brooks (8-8, 7-0) is the unbeaten leader as they're riding a three-game winning streak. Fenger (11-6, 6-1) lost to Ag. Science in conference play as they try to keep pace with both of those teams with a win here at home.

No. 16 Geneva at Naperville North, 7:00 p.m. -- Non-conference play gets interesting in this one. The Vikings (16-1, 5-1) are coming off of a loss to Lake Park that ended their unbeaten season as they try to bounce back. Naperville North (11-6, 3-1) counters with Loyola commit Tom Welch as he's a big All-Area candidate.

Friday's Games

Clark at Westinghouse, 5:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Public League White-South play here. Clark (12-7, 6-1) and head coach Terry Head have a lot of young talent as they try to stay in the conference mix after an early loss to Collins in league play. Westinghouse (12-7, 7-0) has also played a tough schedule like Clark as they're hoping to put a two-game cushion on their conference lead late in the season.

Barrington at Fremd, 6:00 p.m. -- An intriguing clash in the Mid-Suburban West for this game. Barrington (13-6, 2-3) lost the first matchup between these two teams on Nov. 30 as they look for revenge. Fremd (13-4, 4-1) lost to Schaumburg to drop out of the Preps Power Rankings, but they've started to make up for it with a win over Maine East earlier this week. 

No. 5 Whitney Young at North Lawndale, 6:30 p.m. -- The Public League Red North/West is arguably the toughest conference from top-to-bottom as we head there for this one. The Dolphins (15-6, 5-1) are coming off of a thrilling overtime win over Uplift as they remain in the mix at the top of the conference. North Lawndale (10-7, 3-4) lost a close game to ranked Orr earlier in the week as they get a shot at another top-25 team in this one.

No. 21 St. Laurence at No. 10 DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m. -- The best two teams in the Catholic League Blue play here. St. Laurence (18-3, 6-2) earned their way back into the Preps Power Rankings after an impressive win over Leo in conference play last week. DePaul (13-4, 7-0) is unbeaten in Catholic League play behind All-Area candidate Perry Cowan and his talented and veteran teammates.

No. 7 Bolingbrook at No. No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- The night's best game is in the SouthWest Suburban Blue. Bolingbrook (12-3, 2-0) hasn't lost to an Illinois opponent all season as they feature a top-notch backcourt in Tyler Cochran and Joseph Yesufu. Homewood-Flossmoor (12-4, 3-0) counters with great length and athleticism as senior Isaac Stanbeck and junior R.J. Ogom lead the charge. These teams play again on Feb. 15. 

Bradley-Bourbonnais at Thornwood, 7:00 p.m. -- The SouthWest Suburban Red also has a contest to watch on Friday night. Bradley-Bourbonnais (9-9, 3-1) has dropped two straight, as they try to hang with the conference's elite with a win. Thornwood (10-6, 4-0) leads the division over Thornton and the Boilermakers as they try to maintain a lead. These two teams also play again on Feb. 19.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Marengo at Burlington Central, -- For the first time, we had a girls Viewers' Choice Game as this one had a close victory with over 2,051 total votes. Marengo (17-5) lost to Burlington Central the first time these two teams played on Dec. 7. Marengo is riding a five-game winning streak heading into this one. Burlington Central (15-5) has won three of their last four as they try to win this important Kiswaukee River contest. 

Edgy Tim's early outlook on the 2019 season

Edgy Tim's early outlook on the 2019 season

Some years, it's pretty easy to select one or two of the top returning teams to watch as potential favorites in the following season.

2019 isn't exactly following the norm. You can make a case for multiple teams to track this winter.

Low hanging fruit/Traditional powers

These are schools that are consistently near the top of the polls and have a track record of success:

Loyola: Why the Ramblers? Because it's Loyola and head coach John Holocek. They will simply reload once again. Later this fall, the Ramblers will bring back three returning starters on the offensive line plus RB Trevor Cabanban.

Lincoln Way East: Head coach Rob Zvonar's Griffins will always need to "reload" since they have such great overall numbers and depth. Seldom will you see a ton of underclassmen starting for Lincoln-Way East; that said, the talent level will remain as strong as ever come August. Junior four-star ranked ATH AJ Henning is a highlight name to watch in Frankfort come opening weekend.

Phillips: The Wildcats and head coach Troy McAllister will graduate a strong senior class this spring, but Phillips also has a deep and talented underclassmen group. Junior OL/DL Demerick Morris and junior DB Ronald Pledger are just to name a few names to watch this coming fall. 

Homewood-Flossmoor: Head coach Craiz Buzea and the Vikings will also be in a similar situation as rival Lincoln-Way East. They both have great overall numbers and need to replace several graduated seniors. The Vikings always seem to find talent. Keep an eye on junior OL Marcus Harper II, junior QB Dominic Jones and junior S/OLB LaVoise McCoy.

Maine South: Another team that consistently fields a good product can be found in Park Ridge. Coach Dave Inserra's Hawks seem to reload just as well as any public school football program year in and year out. Of course, it also helps that one of the Midwest's top offensive linemen is back: four-star ranked Peter Skoronski for the 2019 season.

Batavia: There will be quite a few graduation losses for Batavia this spring. But the Bulldogs also welcome back the Urwiler brothers: junior RB/LB Quinn and sophomore RB/DB Trey. Batavia is a deep program with great numbers and talent. 

Glenbard West: The Hilltoppers and head coach Chad Hetlet are always in state title contention mode. This program always finds a way. Keep an eye on junior OLB/S Greyson Metz for the Hitters come August. 

Marist: The Redhawks will graduate several key seniors from the 2018 season, but junior four-star ranked WR Jadon Thompson along with up-and-coming freshman QB Dontrell Jackson Jr. are key names to watch in 2019.

Montini: It must be nice for Montini Catholic head coach Mike Bukovsky to welcome back two starting quarterbacks. Junior Deontae Bell and sophomore Robert Brazzile are back in the fold for the 2019 season. Keep an eye on junior WR Nate Muersch and OL Michael Banks-Wall as well. The defense brings back five starters from their 2018 Class 5A runner up squad.

Others Teams to Watch in 2019?

Barrington: The Broncos, under head coach Joe Sanchez, always reload. Keep an eye on junior DE Lukas Van Ness, junior QB Tommy Fitzpatrick and junior WR Eric Darlington Jr. this coming season. 

Oak Park-River Forest: The Huskies are stacked with underclassmen talent, including sophomore .QB Jaden McGill.

Minooka: The Indians had 18 underclassmen starters in 2018 and will welcome back a ton of talent, speed and experience this fall.

Prairie Ridge: The Wolves saw their state title run end last season. But Chris Schremp's featured a ton of underclassmen starters last year and they will be stacked this year once again.

St. Rita: Could the Mustangs put together a Brother Rice-type of turnaround? It's very possible. Head coach Todd Kuska played a ton of underclassmen in 2018.

St. Charles North: The North Stars welcome back nine starters from the 2018 season and also have a nice core of current sophomores. North's lower levels are also stacked with big linemen and a plethora of talent on the rise.

Nazareth: The Class 7A state champions will need to reload-- especially on the offensive line. But the skills department (JJ McCarthy/Tyler Morris) is strong. And they also have six starters back on defense.

West Aurora: Lots of multi-year experience coming back; the 2019 Blackhawks feels a lot like the 2016 Blackhawks playoff team.

IC Catholic Prep: The Class 3A state champion Knights welcome back eight starters (two offense, six defense) including RB Kyle Franklin, who's just a sophomore.

Bishop McNamara: The Fighting Irish also bring back 10 starters (four offense, six defense) including QB Tyler Hiller and OL Isaac Ruder.

Willowbrook: The Warriors just keep winning and finding a way to get deep in Class 7A. They will be led this upcoming fall by All State QB/DB Sam Tumilty.