Preps Talk

Five new teams enter the latest Preps Power Rankings

Five new teams enter the latest Preps Power Rankings

The Preps Power Rankings featured some shakeups this week as five new teams enter the mix. With many of the area's top teams facing elite competition during the Martin Luther King weekend, it was a good chance to see where teams stand heading into the home stretch of the regular season. 

1. Simeon (15-3, 5-0) (1) -- The clear No. 1 team in the state right now, the Wolverines picked up another double-digit win over a top-ten team by beating Fenwick on the road. Also losing by two to Montverde Academy, the unbeaten No. 1 team in the country, the Wolverines have impressed basketball analysts all over the country.

2. Orr (14-3, 5-0) (2) -- Orr lost in Michigan but bounced back with a double-digit win over Bloom. The Spartans get a tough road test this week at North Lawndale while they also host Westinghouse in conference play. 

3. Curie (14-2, 5-0) (3) -- The Condors earned two league wins over Bogan and Kenwood last week as Curie has won four consecutive games since falling to Simeon. Curie has three games against Public League opponents this week as they battle Hyde Park, Vocational and North Lawndale. 

4. Whitney Young (14-4, 4-1) (5) -- The Dolphins had a quiet week as they took down Von Steuben. Things pick up for Whitney Young this week as they face Uplift, North Lawndale and Bloomington. 

5. Bolingbrook (13-2, 3-0) (9) -- Huge week for the Raiders as they picked off Stagg in conference play before earning a win over No. 6 Morgan Park. Bolingbrook gets some more challenging games during the week when they play Joliet Central and Homewood-Flossmoor.

6. Morgan Park (12-7, 4-2) (6) -- Morgan Park fell to Bolingbrook in a big showcase game as the Mustangs are still trying to get fully healthy. Nick Irvin's ballclub has two conference games against Dunbar and Brooks before another test against No. 7 Fenwick. 

7. Fenwick (13-5, 4-0) (8) -- The Friars dropped a home contest against Simeon as Fenwick was able to hang with the Wolverines until the fourth quarter. Fenwick gets more tough matchups this week as they host St. Rita in a Catholic League game before taking on No. 6 Morgan Park in a shootout on Saturday. 

8. Lincoln Park (13-4, 5-1) (10) -- The Lions earned a home win over Westinghouse last week as they're still a major factor in the Public League Red North/West. Lincoln Park gets a pair of winnable conference games this week as they face Marshall and Farragut.

9. Marist (17-1, 3-0) (13) -- Impressive ESCC win for Marist as they took down Marian Catholic last week. The Redhawks are playing with a ton of confidence heading into a difficult week that features matchups against two ranked teams in Brother Rice and Benet. 

10. Niles North (17-2, 3-2) (4) -- An up-and-down week for the Vikings as they finally lost for the first time this season by dropping games to New Trier and Maine South. Niles North recovered with four wins over the weekend at their own event as they're one of only a only teams in the state with 17 wins.

11. Evanston (13-3, 4-1) (14) -- Huge overtime road win for Evanston at New Trier last week as the Wildkits remain right in the thick of the Central Suburban South race. Junior Lance Jones stepped up with some clutch plays on both ends of the floor in the win over the Trevians. 

12. Marian Catholic (13-3, 1-2) (11) -- The Spartans lost a tough conference clash with No. 9 Marist in ESCC play but they bounced back with a win over an Iowa opponent at Loras College. Marian Catholic gets a road game at Notre Dame this week as the Dons are coming off a solid win over OPRF. 

13. DePaul Prep (16-4, 2-1) (12) -- Strange week for the Rams as they lost to Loyola in conference play on Friday night, only to beat Loyola for an MLK tournament title on Monday. Also earning a win over Riverside-Brookfield this weekend, DePaul Prep will get another test when they play Evanston this week.

14. Loyola (16-3, 3-1) (17) -- Splitting two games with DePaul Prep over the weekend, the Ramblers won the conference matchup but lost in the championship of the MLK event the two schools help host. Riding a 10-game winning streak before losing on Monday, Loyola remains one of the hotter teams in the area. 

15. Oak Park-River Forest (13-4, 4-0) (7) -- The Huskies had some losses during the week as they dropped tight contests against Notre Dame and Wheaton-Warrenville South. Still the favorite in the West Suburban Silver, OPRF travels to Hinsdale Central this week.

16. Hillcrest (15-4, 7-0) (18) -- Hillcrest has continued to win since the Proviso West Holiday Tournament as they remain one of the best teams in the South suburbs. The Hawks will look to stay unbeaten in the South Suburban Blue when they host Tinley Park this week. 

17. North Lawndale (13-4, 3-2) (15) -- The Phoenix fell to Lincoln Park and a team from Minnesota last week while also earning a win over Von Steuben. This week sees North Lawndale play perhaps the toughest stretch of any team in the area all season. In a four-day span, the Phoenix have to play Orr, Whitney Young and Curie. That brutal stretch will teach us a lot about this team.

18. Joliet Central (14-2, 7-0) (21) -- Riding a four-game winning streak, Joliet Central is playing good ball over the last several weeks. The Steelmen have an important week ahead as they get a crack at No. 5 Bolingbrook while also facing rival Joliet West. 

19. Brother Rice (12-6, 2-2) (22) -- Brother Rice earned a double-digit win over Mount Carmel in Catholic League play last week. The Crusaders get a chance at a top-ten team when they travel to No. 9 Marist this week while they also host De La Salle in league play.

20. Batavia (18-3, 5-1) (23) -- The first team in the area with 18 wins this season, the Bulldogs are red hot, having won eight consecutive games. Winning the Rockford Jefferson tournament was an impressive feat, especially since Batavia knocked off the 17-win hosts on the way to the title. 

21. New Trier (14-3, 4-1) (NR) -- The Trevians enter the mix after an impressive win over Niles North. Although New Trier dropped an overtime heartbreaker to rival Evanston, they recovered nicely with a strong showing at the Rockford Jefferson event, including a beatdown of Larkin.

22. Naperville North (14-1, 6-0) (NR) -- With four consecutive wins, Naperville North is back in the Power Rankings after defeating conference rival and previously-ranked Naperville Central. The Huskies have only lost to No. 20 Batavia this season as they look like the favorite in the DuPage Valley Conference.

23. Romeoville (15-3, 7-0) (NR) -- The Spartans are back in the mix after some double-digits wins since losing during the holidays. Still a threat in the Southwest Prairie, Romeoville will get a big test with a game against No. 25 West Aurora on Saturday night.  

24. Benet (14-4, 2-1) (NR) -- An impressive weekend for the Redwings as they won four games to capture the title at Wheaton-Warrenville South. Benet's offense was more potent than they've shown in the past during Saturday's two wins while they're still able to grind out wins if they need to.

25. West Aurora (12-4, 4-0) (NR) -- The Blackhawks have won four consecutive games since the Pontiac Holiday Tournament with all of those coming by double-digits. A dangerous team with no bad losses, West Aurora remains the favorite in the Upstate Eight Valley.

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

Who wants it more? 

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m on NBC Sports Chicago. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. We’re going all out for the Northern Lake County Conference this week. 

Which one of the four games below are the most worthy of our coverage?

Grayslake Central at Grant, 7:00 p.m.

Lakes at Grayslake North, 7:00 p.m.

Round Lake at North Chicago, 7:00 p.m.

Wauconda at Antioch, 7:00 p.m.

To participate in the poll, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word!
 
We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.

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