Preps Talk

High School Lites preview: Week 15

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High School Lites preview: Week 15

This week's edition of High School Lites is filled with boys basketball playoff highlights as we're scheduled to bring you highlights of 14 games from across Illinois. CSN and CSNChicago.com will be airing the Class 1A and Class 2A state semifinals and finals on Friday and Saturday and highlights of those state semifinal games will be featured on High School Lites.
 
Tons of Class 3A and Class 4A sectional final games are also on the docket, including rematches between Morgan Park and Bogan, Fenwick and St. Joseph, Benet and York and Kenwood and Curie. Plus, we'll also have a Getting to Know feature on Fenwick senior point guard Mike Smith and our Team of the Week is the Benet girls basketball team after claiming back-to-back Class 4A state championships. You can catch High School Lites live at 11 p.m. this Friday night on CSN and streaming on CSNChicago.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CSNPreps for IHSA updates from all over the state.
 
CLASS 3A

Morgan Park vs. Bogan, St. Laurence Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — It will be the third time these two Red-South rivals meet this season when the Mustangs (25-3) take on the Bengals (20-7). Morgan Park won, 79-58, on the road on Dec. 17 while also winning at home, 77-67, on Jan. 21. Although the Mustangs swept the season series, this rivalry means this could be close. The Mustangs will rely on Player of the Year frontrunner Charlie Moore while Bogan counters with senior James Jones.

Fenwick vs. St. Joseph, Westinghouse Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — Another rematch as Fenwick (28-2) takes on St. Joseph (23-8) for the third time. The Friars won at home on Jan. 28 with a 54-42 win while also winning the Catholic League Tournament title over the Chargers with a 73-51 win on Feb. 20. Senior Mike Smith is right in there for the Player of the Year race while senior Nick Rakocevic has been an All-Area threat for St. Joseph. 
 
Ridgewood vs. St. Patrick, Ridgewood Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — Ridgewood (17-12) is hoping its late-season surge continues at home as they host St. Patrick (16-14). The Shamrocks made nine 3-pointers in a sectional semifinal win over Antioch on Wednesday night while Ridgewood took down top-seed North Chicago.  
 
Glenbard South vs. Boylan, Woodstock North Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — Boylan (30-2) will be the heavy favorite when they face Glenbard South (20-9) on Friday night. The Titans are led by talented junior guard Zach Couper, who is a threat to score from all over the floor. Glenbard South hasn't been to a sectional final since 2000 as they try to pull off a big upset here.
 
Class 4A
 
Benet vs. York, East Aurora Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — Another rematch in this one as Benet (28-3) knocked off York (20-12), 51-46, on Dec. 8. The Redwings have been one of the area's most consistent teams this season but York's defense has been impressive as they've earned quality wins over Naperville North and Glenbard West the last two games. 
 
Simeon vs. Thornton, Bloom Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — The Wolverines (27-3) will be the favorite in this one when they face Thornton. Simeon already bounced the south suburbs' other best team, Marian Catholic, earlier in the week as Zach Norvell, Evan Gilyard, Josh Thomas and company face the Wildcats. Thornton (25-3) is led by strong guard play in Patrick Rucker and Sam Taylor as they try to keep their strong season alive. 
 
Notre Dame vs. Deerfield, Glenbrook South Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — Two of the north suburbs' best teams go at it when Notre Dame plays Deerfield. The Dons (24-6) have won eight consecutive games as they beat Evanston in the sectional semifinals. Deerfield (28-3) has been one of the most fun teams to watch this season as they're led by senior Jordan Baum. 
 
Conant vs. Lake Zurich, Fremd Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — Top seed Conant tries to close out a sectional title as they battle Lake Zurich. The Cougars (22-6) have a talented junior guard in Jimmy Sotos and plenty of size inside as they play in their first sectional final since 2007. Lake Zurich (24-9) has never played in a sectional final as they held off Fremd in a thriller in the sectional semifinal. 
 
Curie vs. Kenwood, Riverside-Brookfield Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — These two Red-Central rivals meet for the fourth time this season when Curie and Kenwood battle. The Broncos (22-4) have won two of the three meetings, including a win in the Public League Playoff semifinals a few weeks ago. Senior Nick Robinson and Zion Morgan will be key players for Kenwood in this one. Curie (24-5) counters with senior Devin Gage, a DePaul commit, and junior Elijah Joiner. 
 
Auburn vs. St. Charles East, Rock Valley Sectional, 7:00 p.m. — St. Charles East tries to continue its unlikely run when they play Rockford Auburn. The Saints (18-12) have won five straight games as they're coming off blowout wins over Batavia and Prairie Ridge. Auburn (23-6) picked up a blowout win over Jacobs in the sectional semifinals as they've won all three playoff games by double figures.

36 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard North

36 Days to Kickoff: Glenbard North

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: Glenbard North

Head coach: Ryan Wilkens

Assistant coaches: Rich Smelko, John Cassidy, Bruce Donash, John Pullia, Tom Gudella, Kudret Kamabari and Matt Ng

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (4-4 DuPage Valley Conference). Glenbard North made the Class 7A state playoff field and lost to Batavia in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Neuqua Valley

Aug. 31 vs Warren Township

Sept. 7 @ St. Charles East

Sept. 14 vs Batavia

Sept. 21 @ Wheaton North

Sept. 28 @ Lake Park

Oct. 5 vs St. Charles North

Oct. 12 vs Wheaton Warrenville South

Oct. 19 @ Geneva

[MORE: 50 Days to Kickoff - Neuqua Valley]

Biggest storyline: The Panthers have a new conference home. Can the Panthers reload and fare well in the DuKane Conference?

Names to watch this season: LB Michael Wellman and FB Jake Wilson

Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers will need several players to step up on offense with just one returning starter back from a season ago-- senior FB Jake Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbard North says farewell to the DuPage Valley conference and says hello to all things DuKane. The Panthers will undoubtedly be a younger team in 2018. While some of the star power has graduated, head coach Ryan Wilkins will once again focus on establishing a strong, fast and physical running game. Getting off to a good start against a loaded schedule will be a big key for Glenbard North this season. 

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

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USA TODAY

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

EMERSON, Ga. -- Rolling Meadows rising sophomore guard Max Christie is having a strong spring and summer on the grassroots circuit as he's emerged as one of the area's newest breakout stars.
 
At 6-foot-5 with an ability to play both on and off the ball, Christie is a versatile perimeter player who can be either a big point guard or a smooth wing. Even though he's only finished one year of high school, Christie already has earned some major college scholarship offers as Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin have all been involved. Playing up an age group with the Illinois Wolves U16 team, Christie is starting to generate a lot of buzz among college coaches and national scouts.
 
"I think I've played well. I've been growing. I have a huge target on my back. So I'm just confident and humble and playing my game," Christie said. "College coaches are coming in everywhere, but I'm just playing my game and not worrying about them. I'm just having fun."
 
Christie is coming off of a positive freshman season at Rolling Meadows in which he had some big games as a freshman while playing on varsity. Although Christie is still very skinny and trying to add strength, he has started to adjust to opponents trying to play physical against him. As he starts to get older, Christie is adjusting to how certain opponents will handle him.
 
"On the court, it's physical. So I have to get used to that. I have encouraging teammates so that's good for me. But everybody is double-teaming me and face-guarding me, so I just have to use screens and everything," Christie said.
 
"I've been in the weight room working. The strength is there. I'm always using it against other teams. I just have to get used to it. I feel like [the physicality] is not as much of a factor as I get stronger."
 
Christie will be one of the marked men in the area this season as he'll draw a lot of attention at Rolling Meadows. He has the potential to be an all-area player. With multiple high-major scholarship offers and national recruiting profiles, Christie is just trying to maintain his focus on staying a versatile player. Playing both on and off the ball, Christie is trying to improve the consistency on his perimeter jumper while also trying to grow his basketball IQ.
 
"Both of them are fine. Off the ball, I like to set screens and get teammates open. I like to get open. On the ball, I like to create, passes, all that stuff," Christie said. "So I'm just trying to make plays, get my teammates open, set better screens."
 
"Leadership is something I need to work on, so it's something I need to accept for this season. So, since I've built this reputation, I'm trying to be more of a leader and encourage. Just being a better teammate."
 
Christie averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a freshman at Rolling Meadows, as he has the ability to put up monster numbers as a sophomore. Underclass players don't typically compete for awards in the Chicagoland area, but Christie is a potentially special talent at the high school level as he attempts to ascend into a national-level recruit.