Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 14 basketball capsules

High School Lites Week 14 basketball capsules

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland for another basketball edition of High School Lites. Catch the show live at 11 p.m. Friday on CSN and streaming at 

We'll have highlights from all four classes of the boys basketball state playoffs while we also have the state semifinal games from Class 3A and Class 4A girls basketball. 

Boys Basketball

Class 4A Regional Championships

Oak Park-River Forest vs. St. Patrick, 7:00 p.m. at Fenton -- An intriguing clash of teams who are very close to each other as Oak Park-River Forest takes on the Shamrocks. The Huskies (22-6) have won eight consecutive games as they look like one of the hottest teams in the Proviso East Sectional. St. Patrick (20-8) lost six of seven games entering the Class 4A playoffs as they try to get back on track. 

Marist vs. T.F. North, 7:00 p.m. at T.F. South -- The East Suburban Catholic Champion takes on the South Suburban Blue champion in this great battle of top-25 teams in the Thornwood Sectional. Marist (26-3) has won five straight as they've piled up wins all season. T.F. North (23-3) has won 14 consecutive games as they have yet to lose a game in 2017. These two team both played in the Centralia Holiday Tournament in December as Marist won by beating two teams that beat T.F. North -- O'Fallon and Belleville West. 

Bloom vs. Thornton, 7:00 p.m. at Richards -- Another matchup of top-25 teams in this one as these two teams played each other on Valentine's Day. The Blazing Trojans (21-6) have won eight straight as they won that matchup against Thornton by six points. Thornton (21-5) is led by senior and Player of the Year candidate Alonzo Verge as he's perhaps the Class 4A tournament's most dangerous player. 

Joliet Central vs. Lincoln-Way East, 7:00 p.m. at Joliet Central -- Joliet Central has put together a strong season as they hope to take down Lincoln-Way East. The Steelmen (22-5) have taken some tough losses to elite teams this season as they're hoping to make a run and potentially get another crack at Joliet West in the sectional semifinals. Lincoln-Way East (20-10) is confident heading into the state playoffs after stopping former No. 1 Bolingbrook from going unbeaten. 

Class 3A Regional Championships

Ridgewood vs. Foreman, 7:00 p.m. at Ridgewood 
-- Ridgewood is the heavy favorite in this one as the No. 2 seed in the Antioch Sectional. The Rebels (17-10) are a dangerous team in Class 3A as they have a talented senior in Zach Rzewnicki. Foreman (9-17) didn't have a great season in the White-North but they managed to beat Elmwood Park for an upset win in the regional semifinals.

Class 2A Sectional Championships

Orr vs. DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m. at Guerin
 -- This should be a really good game in Class 2A as the Spartans take on DePaul Prep. Both of these teams have spent time in the CSN Preps Power Rankings this season as Orr (19-5) is the favorite after a strong season in the Red-West. DePaul Prep (21-9) also had a strong season in the Catholic North as they have plenty of talent. This matchup could be the start of a rivalry with so much returning talent as the Spartans have juniors like Raekwon Drake and Dannie Smith while DePaul Prep has sophomore Perry Cowan and freshman Elliott Sieger.  

Class 1A Sectional Championships

John Hope vs. Hope Academy, 7:00 p.m. at Quest Multisport
 -- Hope Academy (26-3) hosts this one as they are the big favorite as one of the No. 1 seeds in the this sectional. A state title contender, Hope Academy has to hold off upstart John Hope (10-14). After a controversial buzzer-beating win over Luther North earlier this week, the No. 8 regional seed will see if they can continue its cinderella run. 

Girls Basketball

Class 3A Girls State Semifinals (CSN+ & NBC Sports App)

Morton vs. Simeon, 11:00 a.m.
 -- The first matchup features one Public League powerhouse facing a 30-win power from downstate. Morton (32-2) has won 13 consecutive games as they're led by sophomore guard Tenley Dowell (13.1 ppg). Simeon (23-6) is led by senior forward Jamyra McChristine as she is averaging 14.2 points per game. 

Marshall vs. Rochester, 12:45 p.m. -- The second semifinal features two 30-win teams -- including unbeaten Public League power Marshall. The Commandos (32-0) are led by Tekia Mack as the senior forward puts up 14.6 points per game. Rochester (31-3) has yet to lose in 2017 as they're led by senior forward Angela Perry (15.6 ppg).

Class 4A Girls State Semifinals (CSN+ & NBC Sports App)

Edwardsville vs. Montini, 5:30 p.m.
 -- One loss between both of these 30-win schools as Edwardsville takes on Montini. The Tigers (31-0) are led by senior Makenzie Silvey as she averages 15.9 points per game. The Lady Broncos (32-1) have not lost to an Illinois opponent this season as senior guard Kaylee Bambule is putting up 13.6 points per game. 

Geneva vs. Fremd, 7:15 p.m. -- Two Chicagoland teams clash in the other Class 4A semifinal. Geneva (27-4) has won 13 straight games as Margaret Whitley (14.2 ppg) and Grace Loberg (14.0 ppg) are the team's leading scorers. Fremd is led by senior Grace Tworek as the Harvard commit is averaging 16.0 points per game.

Preps Basketball Player of the Year Preseason Power Rankings

Preps Basketball Player of the Year Preseason Power Rankings

The 2019-20 high school basketball season has plenty of star power to keep track of this season. One of the strongest groups of Player of the Year contenders the area has seen in years, this year's group features multiple nationally-ranked players and intriguing candidates.

We'll continue to monitor Player of the Year candidates as the season goes on but here's a look at the top five contenders entering this season. 

1. Adam Miller, Morgan Park -- The favorite entering the 2019-20 season has to be Miller after he was arguably the state's best player last season.

Averaging 28.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, nobody in the area is capable of going for scoring runs quite like Miller. He can go on insane three-point bursts off the dribble while also creating offense for his Morgan Park teammates. The senior broke the Big Dipper Holiday Tournament scoring record while having games of 48 and 45 points there last season.

The Mustangs also could be the best team in the state this season as Miller will have plenty of help around him. That could mean some huge offensive nights for Miller since defenses shouldn't be about to key in on him with junk defenses like he saw so often last season. 

2. D.J. Steward, Whitney Young -- Steward had perhaps the best summer of any in-state player as he rose up national rankings and committed to Duke. But he's still slightly behind Miller in the Player of the Year preseason race because his numbers haven't been as massive.

Still averaging a stellar 24.3 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Dolphins last season, Steward is ultra efficient as an offensive threat. On a team that will play a national schedule with tons of opportunities against nationally-ranked teams, Steward will also get a ton of chances to make his case during the season.

While this season looks like a Miller vs. Steward race for Player of the Year going into it, both players are also trying to capture state titles after falling short last season. Earning state hardware could wind up being the difference in what should be a tight race.

3. Max Christie, Rolling Meadows -- If anyone is to push Miller and Steward's two-senior battle for Player of the Year it will likely be Christie. The state's top college prospect, the 6-foot-7 junior is a top-ten national recruit in the Class of 2021 who won a gold medal with USA Basketball over the summer.

Putting up 25.2 points, nine rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore, Christie has already won MSL East Player of the Year honors and scored over 1,000 points during his two-year varsity career.

Capable of putting up 50 points during a game or throwing up a triple-double, Christie is one of the most electric players the area has seen in years. Watching his junior season should be a ton of fun as he has the potential to win Player of the Year if he can stay healthy and put up huge numbers.

4. Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick -- Also coming off of a big summer is this 6-foot-7 junior forward. Hopkins was already consistently putting up 30-point games by the end of his sophomore season. Now, the junior could emerge as a a sleeper Player of the Year threat after becoming a nationally-ranked Class of 2021 prospect this summer.

Committed recently to Louisville, Hopkins averaged 23 points per game last season. After seeing his complete scoring package grow and his strength continue to develop, Hopkins could be an unstoppable scorer for the Friars this season.

Hopkins will also be counted on to be a leader of a young team as Fenwick plays a tough schedule with tons of showcase opportunities this season. 

5. Ahron Ulis, Marian Catholic -- There are a number of candidates who could go in this final spot but Ulis gets a slight nod over the others. A winning player who has already made a trip to Peoria as a sophomore, Ulis has helped the Spartans to some very successful seasons while running point.

Averaging 18.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as a junior, the Iowa commit will consistently have the ball in his hands for a likely top-ten team as Marian Catholic has big expectations this season. If Ulis consistently shows an ability to knock down perimeter jumpers then he could have a huge season to close out a memorable high school career. 

Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 14: Lake Park Lancers

NBC Sports Chicago

Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 14: Lake Park Lancers

School: Lake Park

2018-19 record: 23-11 (8-6 DuKane)

Postseason results: Lost to Downers North in Class 4A sectional semifinals.

Players to watch: Luke Sgarbossa is a senior guard coming off of a strong junior year that saw him put up 15.5 points and 2.1 assists per game. Sgarbossa is a big-time scorer. Junior Trevor Montiel emerged as a player to watch this summer with some solid play as he can knock down jumpers. 

Why they're in the power rankings: The Lancers made a huge impression in the postseason with regional wins over DeKalb and Benet before losing a tight game in the next round. Lake Park also looked strong during June. With many pieces returning, the Lancers look like the DuKane favorites and a force to contend with in Class 4A.   

Did you know? Lake Park has captured 14 regional titles in program history but the Lancers only have one sectional title (2015) in program history.