Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 6 basketball capsules

High School Lites Week 6 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 CSNChicago.com.

This week's show has a lot of games with conference implications as we see plenty of great action across the area. We'll have battles from the Upstate Eight River and Valley, SouthWest Suburban Red, Little Ten and Interstate Eight. 

There will also be highlights from a top girls basketball matchup from the Mid-Suburban East as Hersey travels to Rolling Meadows. After a tightly contested battle for the Viewers' Choice I'll be heading to Downers South at Hinsdale South in a battle between the top two teams in the West Suburban Gold. Although the Public League doesn't have conference games this week the Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Simeon's Evan Gilyard after the team's championship at Pontiac. Here's the lineup of games for this week. 

BOYS BASKETBALL

U-High at Northridge, 6:00 p.m. -- We start with a battle in the Independent School League as the top two teams do battle. U-High (7-3, 2-0) hasn't played since Dec. 16th when they beat Payton, so it will be interesting to see if they have any rust in this one. Senior Jameel Alausa is one of the area's best interior players as the Yale commit is a double-double threat. Northridge (8-3, 3-0) is coming off a 2-2 showing at the Plano Christmas Classic. 

Andrew at No. 18 Thornton, 6:30 p.m. -- One of the more interesting games in the SouthWest Suburban Red as both of these teams are coming off of holiday tournament titles. The Thunderbolts (10-4, 2-0) won the large school division at Kankakee as they have won eight consecutive games. The No. 18 Wildcats (9-3, 2-0) took the title at Big Dipper as senior guard Alonzo Verge won MVP honors by continuing to play at a high level. Thornton will be the favorite in this one but Andrew is playing with a lot of confidence. 

St. Charles North at No. 21 Geneva, 7:00 p.m. -- An intriguing battle in the Upstate Eight River in this one as unbeaten No. 21 Geneva hosts St. Charles North. The Vikings (13-0, 3-0) are coming off of the title at DeKalb over the holidays while St. Charles North fell to Oak Park-River Forest in the first round at Pontiac before winning the consolation championship. The North Stars (11-2, 3-0) are experienced in big games and this should be a fun one for conference supremacy. 

West Aurora at West Chicago, 7:00 p.m. -- Staying in the Upstate Eight, we move over to the Valley division as West Chicago hosts West Aurora. Tai Bibbs is having a monster senior season for the Wildcats (12-3, 1-1) as the Drake commit is putting up a lot of points lately. West Aurora (8-4, 2-0) is led by junior Camron Donatlan as they went 1-2 at Pontiac. The Blackhawks 

Serena at Newark, 7:00 p.m. -- The Little Ten has four unbeaten teams with multiple wins as two of them meet here. Newark (10-2, 2-0) is coming off of a runner-up finish in the Plano Christmas Classic as they lost to Ottawa. Will Clausel, Cameron Myre and Dylan Patrick all made all-tournament for the Norsemen. Serena (11-2, 2-0) just won the Marseilles Holiday Tournament over conference rival Indian Creek as the Huskers have won nine straight games.

Peotone at Sandwich, 7:30 p.m. -- Moving on to the Interstate Eight, these two teams are also unbeaten in a crowded conference race. Peotone (11-4, 5-0) just finished in third place in the small school division of the Kankakee Holiday Tournament as Jack Halverson made the all-tournament team. Sandwich (8-4, 3-0) played in the Plano Christmas Classic where they placed ninth as they try to win this one at home.

VIEWERS' CHOICE GAME OF THE WEEK

Downers South at Hinsdale South, 7:30 p.m. -- The top two teams in the West Suburban Gold so far face each other as this is an important one for Hinsdale South. The Hornets (7-5, 2-0) finished 2-2 at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York as they fell to some good teams like Conant and Naperville North. Playing in that same holiday event, Downers South finished fourth as they faltered in the semifinals and third-place game to Conant and Wheaton North. The Mustangs (9-4, 3-0) have top-25 talent as senior forward T.J. Clifford is a Western Michigan commit and senior guards Denis Alibegovic and Tyree Spencer are solid as well. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 6:00 p.m. -- This should be a fun one in the Mid-Suburban East as these co-leaders are two of the best teams in the area. Rolling Meadows (11-5) is coming off of a semifinal appearance in the Montini Christmas Tournament as they fell short with close losses to Benet and Geneva. Hersey (14-2) came in fifth place in that same event as they also fell victim to Geneva during the proceedings. 

5 Days to Kickoff: Batavia

5 Days to Kickoff: Batavia

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Batavia

Head coach: Dennis Piron

Assistant coaches: Matt Holm, Billy Colamatteo, Sean Anderson, P.J. White, Dan Cadena, Adam Lester, Adam Kolowski, Mike Theriault, Zac Roberts and Erin Finucane

How they fared in 2018: 12-1 (7-0 DuKane Conference). Batavia made the Class 7A state playoff field and defeated Granite City, Moline and Willowbrook. They advanced to the semifinals where they lost to Nazareth Academy.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs East St. Louis
Sept. 6 @ Naperville North
Sept. 13 @ Lake Park
Sept. 20 vs Glenbard North
Sept. 27 @ Wheaton South
Oct. 4 @ Geneva
Oct. 11 vs St. Charles East
Oct. 18 @ St. Charles North
Oct. 25 vs Wheaton North

[MORE: 64 Days to Kickoff - Geneva

Biggest storyline: Batavia has won a minimum of 12 games four times since 2011 (two state titles: 2013, 2017). They were within striking distance of another title game appearance last season. Can Batavia reload and make it to DeKalb in November?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Quinn Urwiler (Sr., North Dakota) and ILB Matt "Mojo" Weerts (Jr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Bulldogs welcome back nine returning starters (four offense, five defense); they will need to patch a few holes on both the offensive and defensive lines. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Dennis Piron has simply built the Bulldogs into a perennial state title contending team over his eight seasons (85-12 overall record, two state titles). The 2019 Bulldogs welcome back some key names from a season ago including RB/LB Quinn Urwiler, his brother junior RB/DB Trey Urwiler, senior RB Art Taylor, junior ILB Matt Weerts and senior S Sam Barus. The schedule is loaded, like usual. The opener vs. East St. Louis is full of intrigue. The Week 8 game against St. Charles North could be a must-see. If the new faces can step up and help Batavia reload in a few key spots, the Bulldogs will again challenge for the Class 7A state title. 

6 Days to Kickoff: Naperville Central

6 Days to Kickoff: Naperville Central

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Naperville Central

Head coach: Mike Stine

Assistant coaches: Mike Ulreich (DC), Tim Boecker (DB), Marty Balle (LB), Marc Anderson (DB), Eric Novak (DL), Adam Pucylowski (LB), Rick Erickson (DL). Offense: Mike Stine (OC), Pat Watson (OL/Assistant OC), Tony Colletti (OL), Phil Allen (H-Backs), Kofi Hughes (WR), Josh McLeod (WR), Joe Denney (WR), Ryan Clifford (RB) and Chad Bradley (QB)

How they fared in 2018: 7-4 (4-0 Dupage Valley Conference). Naperville Central made the Class 8A state playoff field, defeated Plainfield South and then lost to Marist in the second round.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Hinsdale Central
Sept. 6 vs Lincoln-Way East
Sept. 13 @ Pickerington Central (Ohio)
Sept. 20 vs Metea Valley
Sept. 27 vs Naperville North at NCC
Oct. 4 @ Neuqua Valley
Oct. 11 @ Waubonsie Valley
Oct. 18 vs DeKalb
Oct. 25 vs East St. Louis

Biggest storyline: Can the Redhawks’ transfers mesh well with their new teammates and win big in Class 8A?

Names to watch this season: QB Sam Jackson (Jr., Minnesota) WR Jadon Thompson (Sr., Illinois)

Biggest holes to fill: The Redhawks welcome back just seven returning starters (four offense, three defense); however, some key incoming transfers will certainly help fill those holes. 

EDGY's Early Take: Naperville Central had a short IHSA playoff run last season. Coach Stine’s 2019 Redhawks might be young in spots, but they have the potential to be one of the most explosive offenses in the state. Junior quarterback Sam Jackson (Minnesota) played receiver in 2018 and brings incredible speed/quickness and athletic ability to the offense. Incoming (transfer) wide receivers Thompson and sophomore Reggie Fleurima provide instant big play ability to the Naperville Central offense.

If the new faces on defense can develop and progress this fall, the Redhawks have a chance of being one of the top teams in Chicagoland in 2019.