Preps Talk

High School Lites hoops preview: Week 1


High School Lites hoops preview: Week 1

High School Lites debuts with basketball this week as CSN will have a lot of high school hoops action at 11 p.m. on Friday night. 

The annual Chicago Elite Classic at UIC is the focus this week, but we'll also have highlights of some key SouthWest Suburban Blue games and two unbeaten teams from the Catholic Red. 

You can catch High School Lites on CSN or streaming at

Chicago Elite Classic, UIC Pavilion

No. 4 Fenwick vs. Oak Park-River Forest, 6:00pm - The Friars are loaded with shooters and are looking to improve to 5-0 while Oak Park-River Forest would love to win against a high-profile, nearby rival after a 2-2 start. Seniors Mike Smith and Mike Ballard lead Fenwick while senior Breshawn Wilkerson played well in the Chicago Elite Classic last season.

Mater Dei (CA) vs. No. 15 Marian Catholic, 7:30pm - Marian Catholic is young, but they're off to a 4-1 start on the season as they take on storied California powerhouse Mater Dei. The main task for the Spartans could be containing 6-foot-9 Oregon commit M.J. Cage, a senior center who is the son of former NBA center Michael Cage. 

Maine South vs. Loyola, 9:00pm - Maine South won the Maine West Thanksgiving Tournament and are off to a 4-0 start while Loyola dropped its opener to Lincoln Park before running off three straight wins. Two of the best coaches in the area go head-to-head in this one as Tony Lavorato and the Hawks face Tom Livatino and the Ramblers.

[MORE: AP basketball rankings Week 1

Other Games

Hersey at Prospect, 6:00pm - This nearby Mid-Suburban East rivalry won our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week, and it should have a lot of fans in attendance. Hersey (3-1) is off to a solid start and owns wins over Glenbrook North and Saint Patrick while Prospect is looking for a win after a 1-2 start. 

Palatine at Fremd, 6:00pm - Fremd is off to a 4-1 start as junior Kyle Sliwa and senior Patrick Benka have had some solid outings. They'll host Mid-Suburban West rival Palatine, who is 2-2 to start the season. After starting 2-0, Palatine fell to Jacobs and York. 

Bolingbrook at No. 12 Joliet West, 6:30pm - In this SouthWest Suburban Blue battle, Joliet West is off to a 5-0 start and has been one of the best surprises of the young season while Bolingbrook was ranked in the preseason and has a lot of talent but started 1-2 in Decatur. The battle of juniors between Joliet's Trevian Bell and Bolingbrook's Nana Akenten will be one to watch.

No. 14 Homewood-Flossmoor at Joliet Central, 6:30pm - Staying in the SouthWest Suburban Blue, Homewood-Flossmoor is off to a solid 3-1 start as they defeated Marian Catholic on the road and look to have a good crop of juniors.  Joliet Central is also 3-1 after a solid showing in the WJOL Thanksgiving event and they have a lot of talented juniors as well. 

No. 19 De La Salle at No. 9 St. Joseph, 7:00pm - In the Catholic Red, this should be one of the more intriguing matchups of Friday night as 4-0 De La Salle travels to 4-0 St. Joseph. A pair of seniors, the Meteors' George Wilburn and the Chargers' Nick Rakocevic are off to big starts on the season. 

No. 22 Hinsdale South at Morton, 7:30pm - Both of these West Suburban Gold teams stand 3-1 on the season with losses to teams in the CSN Preps Power Rankings. Hinsdale South is going to work the ball to senior center Barret Benson, who is off to a great start, while Morton will try to bounce back after a close loss to Fenwick last week.

Lake Forest at Lake Zurich, 8:00pm - Two North Suburban Lake teams face-off as senior forward Lorenzo Edwards and Lake Forest travel to play guard Nick Penny and Lake Zurich. Lake Forest lost two tough games to Loyola and Benet while Lake Zurich went 3-0 before losses to North Lawndale and Hoffman Estates

Power Rankings: #9 - Marist

Power Rankings: #9 - Marist 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: Marist

Head coach: Ron Dawczak

Assistant coaches: Matt Shalvis (OC), Pete Gabel (DC), Jim Looney (OL), Joe Watson (OL), Chris Bohanek (WRs), Tony Turek (DL), Rich Watson (DL), Matt Jedrey (LBs) and Brendan Garrett (DBs)

How they fared in 2017: 11-1 (7-0 East Suburban Catholic Conference). Marist made the 8A state playoff field, defeated Oak Park-River Forest and Curie then lost to Loyola Academy in quarterfinal round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Brother Rice
Sept. 1 vs Mishawaka Indiana
Sept 7 @ Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 14 vs St. Viator
Sept. 21 vs Joliet Catholic Academy
Sept. 28 @ Marian Catholic
Oct. 5 @ Nazareth Academy
Oct. 12 vs Marian Central Catholic
Oct. 19 @ Benet Academy

Biggest storyline: Can the Redhawks replace a handful of key starters from last season and keep moving forward in Class 8A?

Names to watch this season: QB Mike Markett and WR Jadon Thompson

Biggest holes to fill: The Redhawks will look to reload in a few key spots this summer, especially up front on the defensive line with the graduation losses of DT Elijah Teague (Minnesota) and DL Gavin McCabe (Indiana). 

EDGY's Early Take: The Redhawks once again look to be loaded on the offense side of the football for the 2018 season. Senior QB Mike Markett is back after a strong 2017 junior campaign and Markett has multiple weapons including highly recruited junior WR Jadon Thompson along with senior WR Billy Skalitzky and senior WR Denny Hogan. While the Redhawks' defense will be missing a few headliners from last season, this is still a unit with seven returning starters back this fall. Keep an eye on senior OLB Kendric Nowling (Eastern Michigan) for the Redhawks this season.

Power Rankings: #10 - Homewood-Flossmoor

Power Rankings: #10 - Homewood-Flossmoor 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: Homewood-Flossmoor

Head coach: Craig Buzea

Assistant coaches: Tom Cicero, Zac Wells, Alex Pratt, Daron Williams, Eric Schreiber Jr., Bart Czachor, David James, Josh Blair, Josh Forney and Matt Ramos

How they fared in 2017: 9-2 (6-1 Southwest Suburban Conference). H-F made the 8A state playoff field, defeated Lake Park then lost to Naperville Central in second round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Michigan City (IN)

Sept. 1 vs Lutheran North (MO.) at East St. Louis

Sept. 7 vs Stagg

Sept. 14 @ Bolingbrook

Sept. 21 vs Lincoln-Way West

Sept. 28 @ Lincoln-Way East

Oct. 5 @ Bradley

Oct. 12 vs Andrew

Oct. 19 vs Sandburg

[MORE: 69 Days to Kickoff - Lincoln-Way West]

Biggest storyline: Can the Vikings, now without their dynamic WR/RB Justin Hall (NIU), get back to the postseason and play deeper into November?

Names to watch this season: QB Dominick Jones and DB Wynston Russell (Oregon State)

Biggest holes to fill: The Vikings have a good number of returning starters back in 2018 (five offense, six defense). The team boasts plenty of talent. But who can step up and be the go-to guy? Who replaces Justin Hall?

EDGY's Early Take: The Vikings have become a traditional power in Chicago's south suburbs and in the overall Class 8A field. Head coach Craig Buzea is looking for a breakout season and he has the ingredients in the program. The offense will be led by junior QB Dominick Jones. He has some firepower behind him in senior RB Leon Tanna. Keep an eye senior TE Jack Schmitz as well. The defense is also talent-heavy. Look for senior DL Isaiah Coe and senior DE/OLB Charlies Brooks to help carry the load. Oregon State commit senior DB Wynston Russell is the lone returning starter in the secondary.