Preps Talk

Despite national losses, Simeon still the team to beat in Chicago

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Despite national losses, Simeon still the team to beat in Chicago

The Simeon Wolverines have already lost two games this season. Both losses came on national television and one of those defeats came in embarrassing fashion. Since opening the December month later than most teams, the three-time, Class 4A Illinois state champions have looked nothing like the dominant squad many have become accustomed to seeing.

That being the case, it stands to reason that the losses especially the 29-point drubbing at the hands of Montverde have given local teams confidence that the Wolverines can be beaten just dont tell them that.

Im pretty sure theres a few teams thinking they can beat us right now. If I watched the game on TV, Id feel good about myself on winning too, head coach Robert Smith said. But at the end of the day, everybody that knows me and what Im about and what I do, they know well get it together.

Simeon took out a bit of their anger and frustration from the Montverde loss on Perspectives-Calumet Wednesday night, blowing them out by a final score of 68-39.

Jabari Parker continued to work himself back into elite status as the senior put up 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in the victory.

Though the win over Perspectives was expected. The real test comes later this season when the Wolverines will square off against the likes of Whitney Young, Morgan Park and other top-tier Public League programs; schools that feel like they may have a shot at knocking off the champs.

The competition in the city, theyre no pushovers, Dayton commit Kendall Pollard explained. Weve still got to deal with Whitney Young and Morgan Park. Theyve seen us get our butts kicked on national TV Whitney Young was there against Montverde. So Im sure they think they can get us, but I dont think they can.

The games against nationally ranked teams that weve played so far, just prepares us for the local teams, the Duke-bound Parker said. Yeah, weve lost, but now were basing all our practices and games as preparation for what well have to face in the city. A couple of more practices and I think well be ready. I think well be back blowing the other top teams out and well make our presence felt in the city.

University of Illinois commit, Kendrick Nunn, echoed his senior teammates sentiments.

Locally, I think we should handle those games pretty well. Im not worried about any of those teams beating us, but you still have to be humble about it and just play hard. Always play hard.

Past success breeds confidence, but confidence can also be instilled by a strong leader. The Wolverines seem to get their confident attitude from their head coach who has pretty much seen it all and knows what his team is capable of, even if it doesnt appear to be that way on the surface.

When it comes down to those last games when its win or go home theres been no better team than us, Smith said. As the season goes on we start to figure things out. But were still the champs and if people dont think that or understand who we are or what we are, then theyre sadly mistaken. At the end of the day, were still Simeon.

High School Lites Roundup: Basketball Week 8

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NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Roundup: Basketball Week 8

High School Lites has a show full of highlights from important conference games this week as we feature plenty of unique conferences. We have top teams from the SouthWest Suburban and Public League Red Division while also featuring plenty of top games from the White Division of the Public League.

For the first time ever, High School Lites also has a girls basketball game featured in the Viewers' Choice Game of the Week.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Curie's DaJuan Gordon

Team of the Week, Presented by Saint Xavier: Stevenson girls basketball team

Viewers' Choice Game of the Week: 

Marengo 68, Burlington 52 (Girl's)

This Week's Highlights:

Whitney Young gets close win over the Uplift in this week's mixtape series

Bolingbrook dominates Homewood-Flossmoor in blowout victory 

St Laurence takes care of business against DePaul Prep

Cary Grove gets win over Huntley in back-and-forth game 

Whitney Young knocks off North Lawndale in close win 

Dunbar gets blowout win over DuSable

Westinghouse has great energy in 4-point win over Clark

Geneva picks up OT win over Naperville North

Thornwood overpowers Bradley Bourbonnais

Fremd gets 20-point win over Barrington

Cary Grove gets one-point win against Huntley

High School Lites Preview: Week 8

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.

Huntley at Cary-Grove, 7:00 p.m. -- The Fox Valley race is wide open with six teams within one game of the conference lead. Two of those teams face here. Huntley (10-6, 5-3) lost to Cary-Grove on Dec. 5 at home as they look to get revenge in this one. Cary-Grove (13-5, 5-3) won the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs as they're trying to make a move on conference leaders Crystal Lake Central and Dundee-Crown.

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.