Preps Talk

High School Lites preview: Week 12

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High School Lites preview: Week 12

This week's edition of High School Lites has plenty of great games from around the area. The Public League Playoff semifinals will feature some conference rivalries between top-10 teams while we'll also feature conference matchups from the DuPage Valley, SouthWest Suburban Blue, Metro Suburban West and Central Suburban South. The IHSA girls basketball state tournament has also kicked off as Whitney Young will face Morton in the Class 4A Oak Lawn regional championship. This week's show will also feature 24-win Burlington Central as our Team of the Week and we'll get to know high-flying Larkin junior Christian Negron, as he's drawing significant college interest for his strong play. And, of course, we'll update the latest with #MascotMadness as we reach the Sweet 16 in our bracket.

Catch this week's edition of High School Lites on Friday night at 11 p.m. on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Be sure to follow @CSNPreps for all of the latest IHSA updates from around the state of Illinois. 

Public League Playoffs

No. 5 Curie vs. No. 6 Kenwood, 5:30 p.m. - In the first of two tremendous semifinals in the Public League Playoffs, Red-Central rivals Curie (20-4, 8-2) and Kenwood (18-3, 9-1) battle. These two teams split the regular season series with the Condors being short-handed in both games. The first game, which Kenwood won after trailing by 15 in the fourth quarter, Curie was without senior guard Devin Gage. The second game, the Condors won by a point without head coach Mike Oliver, who was suspended. Curie has proven themselves in big games this season by winning the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and playing well in a national showcase win over Orangeville Prep and Thon Maker. Kenwood is very talented but they have to prove that they can win on the biggest of stages before the state playoffs. 

No. 3 Simeon vs. No. 1 Morgan Park, 7:00 p.m. - In the second Public League Playoff semifinal, The Battle for Vincennes continues as Simeon and Morgan Park have a rubber match after splitting the regular season series. Morgan Park (21-2, 9-1) is the favorite behind Player of the Year frontrunner Charlie Moore but Simeon (21-3, 9-1) did a nice job of slowing him down in a road win by putting junior Evan Gilyard on him. The winner of that matchup could be key to the outcome of this one.

[MORE PREPS: CSN Preps Boys Basketball Power Rankings - Week 11]

Boys Basketball

No. 14 Homewood-Flossmoor at Stagg, 6:30 p.m. - Homewood-Flossmoor (18-5, 10-1) is trying to stay ahead in the SouthWest Suburban Blue when they travel to Stagg (14-8, 6-5). These two teams played earlier in the season with the Vikings taking a 59-43 win back on Jan. 15. The Vikings have aspirations to make a deep postseason run and they've won six straight games entering this one.  

No. 10 Riverside-Brookfield at Glenbard South, 7:00 p.m. - Riverside-Brookfield tries to finish the conference season undefeated as they travel to Glenbard South. The Bulldogs (19-4, 11-0) beat Glenbard South (16-8, 7-3) at home on Jan. 8 as they have already wrapped up the Metro Suburban West. 

Naperville Central at Wheaton North, 7:30 p.m. - DuPage Valley rivals collide when Naperville Central (14-10, 8-6) travels to Wheaton North (16-8, 9-5). The Redhawks won the first game between these two teams at home with a 52-37 win on Jan. 22. 

[MASCOT MADNESS: Vote here]

No. 4 Evanston at Maine South, 7:30 p.m. - Red-hot Evanston (21-2, 9-0) tries to finish off the Central Suburban South conference season with an undefeated record as they travel to rival Maine South. This matchup was our Game of the Week on High School Lites earlier this season with the Wildkits winning a close one, 58-53, at home on Jan. 14. Junior guard Nojel Eastern continues to be a major All-Area candidate with his solid overall play this season.

IHSA Girls Basketball Playoffs

Whitney Young vs. Morton, 7:00 p.m. - In the Class 4A Oak Lawn Regional championship, Public League champion Whitney Young battles Morton. The Mustangs beat Hinsdale South to reach the regional title game earlier this season with Maryam Wilcher scoring 23 points. The Dolphins had an easy time taking care of Jones in its playoff opener as Kiarra Lewis dropped 36 points.

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

NBCSportsChicago.com 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: Schaumburg

Head coach: Mark Stilling

Assistant coaches: Anthony Belmont, Fran Cassidy, Adam Strauch, Nick Torresso, Nick Anselmo, Juwaan Richard, Leo Clark, Joe Kowalski, Chris Rafah, Jake Hughes, Justin Teschner and John Fidler

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (2-3 Mid-Suburban West Conference). Schaumburg made the Class 8A state playoff field and lost to Lake Zurich in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ St. Charles North
Sept. 1 @ Wheeling
Sept. 7 @ Niles North
Sept. 14 vs Highland Park
Sept. 21 vs Hoffman Estates
Sept. 28 vs Conant
Oct. 5 @ Palatine
Oct. 12 vs Barrington
Oct. 19 @ Fremd

Biggest storyline: After three seasons of hovering around the .500 mark, are the Saxons ready to make a strong run to win the Mid-Suburban West in 2018?

Names to watch this season: WR/DB Heze Trotter and RB Mike Digiola

Biggest holes to fill: The Saxons will need to replace four starting offensive linemen lost to graduation from last season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Saxons will welcome back several returning starters (especially in the offensive skills department) from last year's state playoff team (five offense, seven defense) and could very well be the conference's most experienced team this fall. If the Saxons can find some answers up front on the offensive line they have a very good shot at getting back to the 8A state playoffs along with challenging for a conference title this season.

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

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USA TODAY

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC. -- Markese Jacobs doesn't have to impress college coaches during the July live evaluation period since he's already committed to Kansas. But the Uplift rising senior point guard is still motivated to make a strong impression during his final summer on the grassroots circuit.

Playing with a healthy and rejuvenated Mac Irvin Fire roster that includes Morgan Park's Adam Miller and former city players like Terrance Shannon (Lincoln Park) and Kahlil Whitney (Solorio), Jacobs is running an offense with a lot of talent around him the next few weeks. His ultimate goal is to make waves with national talent evaluators to improve his stock and overall ranking.

"We're extra motivated because we didn't get to play with each other fully healthy. We were missing guys some sessions. Some players weren't playing. Now our thing is, now that we're healthy, let's finish strong and accomplish what we want to accomplish," Jacobs said.

"My goal is to at least get top 50. They've got me in the 90s and 100s and I feel disrespected. My whole thing is coming out strong and breaking the top 50."

Since Jacobs doesn't have to worry about collecting scholarship offers since he's been pledged to the Jayhawks for over a year, he is focused instead of making sure that his point guard ability continues to grow. Jacobs also wants to continue to improve his perimeter shooting since defenses will collapse on him regularly next season.

"I have to show that I'm not only an athlete. I can play defense, score the ball and get the ball to my teammates," Jacobs said.

"Over these next couple months, my whole thing is getting off the dribble and hitting open shots. Going into my high school season, pretty much everybody in Chicago is going to be gunning for me. I'm going to get double teamed and stuff like that. So the opportunities that I get, I have to make the best of them."

Jacobs is encouraged by how things are going at Uplift entering next season -- especially now that he is a team leader. In the past, Markese could rely on leadership from his older brother Demarius, or Toraze Dobbs. Now, those guys have graduated and it's his time to shine as a team leader for the Titans.

"It's actually very different. I have to be the one talking now. I can't take a couple plays off like I normally can. So now, it's just, I have to come with it every game," Jacobs said.

Uplift will continue to develop its Class 2A rivalry with conference opponent Orr as both teams always feel like they're on a collision course during the postseason. This season, Jacobs has made it clear that a state title is his goal as he feels as though Class 2A is underrated in Illinois. 

"I'm trying to win state. That's my only goal. City is going to be what city is going to be. But my whole thing is winning state,' Jacobs said.

"Two A is actually pretty tough because it's the same two teams every time: us and Orr. For us, it's about finishing once we get to that game. We do pretty good up until that game, and then we fold. So my thing is just finishing and playing all the way through."