This week is absolutely loaded on High School Lites.
We have huge conference matchups from the ESCC, DuKane, Southland and SouthWest Suburban Blue. Tournament play is also going as we check in with the Public League Playoffs and Little Ten Conference Tournament.
High School Lites airs at 11 p.m. on Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago with replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Marshall at No. 1 Curie, 6:00 p.m. -- The second round of the Public League Playoffs features a matchup between two storied programs. Curie (21-1, 8-0) is dealing with the sudden departure of head coach Mike Oliver as the Condors try to stay focused in their quest to repeat as city champions. Marshall (10-13, 2-7) struggled in Red-West/North play but earned a win over Longwood in the first round on Tuesday.
Christian Life at Yorkville Christian, 7:00 p.m. -- An enticing non-conference matchup in this one. Christian Life (17-4, 7-2) has been one of the better teams in the Northeastern Athletic this season as they're riding a recent three-game winning streak. Yorkville Christian (16-9) is led by the strong duo of senior Micah Schnyders and sophomore Jaden Schutt as they picked up a recent impressive road win at East Dubuque.
No. 4 Bloom at No. 23 Kankakee, 6:30 p.m. -- The Southland gives us another high-quality matchup. Bloom (21-5, 10-1) is coming off of a monster week that included wins over Thornton and Marian Catholic. The Blazing Trojans are starting to play at a higher level defensively as they're looking every bit like the state title contender they were projected to be. Kankakee (19-3, 8-3) lost the first matchup between these two teams on Dec. 3 as the Kays are still looking for a signature win this season. Although Kankakee is a top-25 caliber team, they're 0-3 this season against Bloom and Thornton, the Southland's two other ranked teams.
No. 11 Bolingbrook at No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- The SouthWest Suburban Blue produces a major showdown here. Homewood-Flossmoor (19-3, 3-0) suffered a buzzer-beating loss to Hillcrest last weekend but bounced back nicely with a win over Lincoln-Way West during the week. The Vikings are led by senior forward R.J. Ogom (College of Charleston) and a talented perimeter group that includes Joel Watts and Josiah Palmer. Bolingbrook (20-4, 3-0) has an eight-game winning streak that includes two wins over ranked teams during that span. Senior guard Darius Burford (Elon) is a major All-Area candidate as he's joined in the Raider backcourt by Kai Evans.
St. Patrick at No. 6 Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m. -- One of the best rivalry games in the state as these two teams battle for the top spot in the ESCC. St. Patrick (17-5, 5-1) has five straight wins as the Shamrocks have only lost in conference play to another top-25 in Marian Catholic. Notre Dame (23-3, 6-0) has only lost to Simeon since Dec. 13 as the junior-led group of Louis Lesmond, Anthony Sayles and Troy D'Amico is one of the state's most talented trios.
Benet at No. 13 Marian Catholic, 7:00 p.m. -- These two teams are also trying to keep pace with Notre Dame atop the ESCC as this game will help determine a lot in the conference standings. Benet (17-6, 5-1) has an impressive record but they've lost their last five games against ranked teams. The Redwings will try to establish senior Colin Crothers on the interior as his size is a matchup issue for the Spartans. Marian Catholic (18-7, 5-1) lost to Bloom last week but earned a notable double-digit win over Brother Rice earlier this week. Senior point guard Ahron Ulis (Iowa) leads the Spartans as he's surrounded by athleticism all over the floor.
Glenbard East at Glenbard South, 7:00 p.m. -- The Upstate Eight has an enticing matchup in this one. Glenbard East (16-7, 9-3) is trying to keep pace in the conference by earning a road win here as they come in winners of six of their last seven. Glenbard South (18-4, 10-2) has already defeated Glenbard East twice this season as they try to go 3-0 against their local rivals with another win. Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Raiders are peaking at the right time.
Lake Park at St. Charles North, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the best teams in the DuKane Conference play in this matchup. Lake Park (18-5, 6-3) is trying to regain its footing after being in the Preps Power Rankings earlier this season. The balanced Lancers have plenty of weapons as they try to get back in the conference race with a crucial road win. St. Charles North (17-5, 8-1) beat Lake Park on the road on Jan. 5 as they're currently tied with crosstown rival St. Charles East for the DuKane lead. A win here would be massive for the North Stars as they're led by senior big man Connor Linke (Bradley).
Rolling Meadows at Buffalo Grove, 7:30 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Mid-Suburban East battle in this one. High School Lites was there the first time these two teams played Jan. 17 as the Bison earned a road win behind four double-figure scorers. Rolling Meadows (14-7, 6-1) is led by junior star Max Christie as he's continuing to put up big numbers this season. Buffalo Grove (20-5, 7-0) counters with a strong perimeter shooting team that includes talented sophomore Kam Craft and a balanced offense that can score from all over.
Little 10 Tournament Championship, 8:00 p.m. -- We'll be there for the Little 10 Tournament Championship matchup at Somonauk on Friday night. The major storyline here is Indian Creek (22-0, 6-0) extending its unbeaten season. Of course, the Timberwolves have to beat LaMoille-Ohio (16-6, 4-2) in the semifinals first on Thursday night to make that happen. But Indian Creek will be favored in that matchup. The other Thursday semifinal features host Somonauk (14-9, 5-1) battling Newark (11-14, 4-3) for the second spot in the championship.
Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week
Round Lake at Grant, 7:00 p.m. -- The Northern Lake County produced over 2,000 votes this week as this matchup was the winner. Round Lake (16-8, 6-2) has recovered nicely from a January losing streak as they've won three straight games. Grant (7-16, 2-6) lost the first matchup on Dec. 10 as they try to turn things around before the postseason. The Bulldogs fell at Wauconda earlier this week.