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.

Max Christie selects Michigan State over Duke, several Big Ten schools

Max Christie selects Michigan State over Duke, several Big Ten schools

Sparty Nation got another reason to flex. And it may have Coach K seeing green.

Max Christie, a five-star shooting guard (Rivals) and the top Illinois player in the Class of 2021, is headed to play for Michigan State and legendary head coach Tom Izzo. The Rolling Meadows High School product made his decision Tuesday in an interview with Fox’s Andy Katz.

“It just felt like it was a place that I was needed and a place I wanted to go to,” Christie said. “I think Coach Izzo and his staff and all my teammates there can push me to be the person I want to be, not just on, but off the court.”

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Christie selected Michigan State —his only official visit— over, namely, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. Also on his list of potential choices were Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois and several others. While Christie is excited for Izzo to help improve his game, he also prides himself on his versatility and making an immediate impact.

“I think I can be a great facilitator and a great scorer,” Christie said. “I feel like I can do anything that Coach Izzo or the players need be to do if that means rebounding, pushing the ball, setting up an offense or coming off screens, I feel like I am versatile enough of anything that is asked of me.”

The 6-foot-6 Christie may get another boost on the court a few years down the line, as Class of 2022 phenom Emoni Bates, the top player in the current junior class, committed to play for MSU on June 30. All of this assumes Bates keeps his commitment to East Lansing and doesn’t hop the NBA. Christie remains steadfast in his committed to Michigan State and is not exploring any G-League options at the moment.


Christie has grabbed headlines in Chicagoland since his freshman year. He has tallied a 50-point game and a triple double and had several clutch moments during his junior season. He is coming off the first 20-win campaign at ‘Meadows in nearly 30 years.

And there’s more Christie magic in the pipeline. Cameron, his younger brother, is one of the quickly-rising sophomores in the area.

Illinois high school boys basketball state finals return to Champaign

USA Today

Illinois high school boys basketball state finals return to Champaign

It’s time to party like it’s 1995 —especially if you’re a high school basketball fan who likes watching the game in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) board of directors voted Monday to move the host venue for the boys state basketball finals from Peoria to Champaign’s renovated State Farm Center for the next three seasons.

“We see this as the passing of the torch from Peoria to Champaign-Urbana,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “It is bittersweet because there is incredible passion from high school basketball within these two communities, and both have done so much to elevate the state final experience as hosts. The State Farm Center is one of the best arenas in the country, and we are excited to crown state champions there once again. The timing simply felt right to make a change as the tournament format shifts in 2021."

The boys tournament will run on March 11-13, 2021, March 10-12, 2022 and March 9-11, 2023.

“We are thrilled with today’s news that the Illinois high school boys basketball state finals will return home to the campus of the University of Illinois, Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “We are grateful to the IHSA and its leadership for choosing State Farm Center and Champaign-Urbana to host the state finals.

The boys tournament, which had been located in Champaign for 77 years, moved to Peoria’s Civic Center (Carver Arena) starting in 1996. The girls tournament was also in Champaign until 1992 before moving to Redbird Arena. The girls tournament will remain in Normal.

The Champaign area was steeped in prep basketball glory for generations. The first televised championship came in 1952 when Hebron, a school of 98 students defeated a Quincy school boasting an enrollment over 1,000. Six years later, the first Chicago school —Marshall— won state. In 1972, the tournament was split into Class A (small schools) and AA (large schools). The late Ben Wilson helped Simeon win in a title in Champaign in 1984 while future NBA stars (Kevin Garnett, Melvin Ely) and NFL receivers (Antwaan Randle El and Tai Streets) graced the floor at Assembly Hall during the 1995 tournament.

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The next year was a perfect one for the city of Peoria to grab the reins for the boys tournament. Hometown Manual High School won their third and fourth consecutive state titles in 1996 and 1997. Later, Derrick Rose guided Simeon to back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007. A four-class system was instituted for the 2007-08 season. Simeon dominated again from 2010-13 with Jabari Parker in the spotlight.

This year’s basketball tournaments were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.