Preps Talk

The IHSA Playoffs continue on High School Lites

The IHSA Playoffs continue on High School Lites

High School Lites continues to roll into the boys basketball IHSA playoffs as the Class 1A and 2A semifinals are on the show this week. Sectional titles will also be decided in Class 3A and 4A as the show will have highlights from all over the state.

Class 4A Sectional Finals

Bolingbrook vs. West Aurora (at Romeoville), 7 p.m. -- A rematch from last season's Class 4A playoffs as the top two seeds in the sectional play. Bolingbrook (22-6) is coming off an emotional overtime win over Joliet Central earlier this week as they knocked off West Aurora in last season's sectional semifinals. The Blackhawks (24-4) has won 16 straight games as they're one of the hottest teams left in the playoffs. 

Willowbrook vs. Benet (at Glenbard East), 7 p.m. -- Benet tries to win a sectional title for the second time in three years while Willowbrook goes for its first sectional title in school history. The Redwings (26-4) held off upset-minded Bartlett to extend their winning streak to 17 games. Willowbrook (26-5) has picked up tough wins over Hinsdale South and Naperville North the past two rounds as they are very battle-tested to this point. Sophomore Everett Stubblefield III stepped up in a big way in the last one for the Warriors. 

Lake Zurich vs. Barrington (at Lake Zurich), 7 p.m. -- Lake Zurich hopes to capture its first ever sectional title as they host Barrington. The Bears (25-7) are the No. 1 seed in the sectional as they have a host of weapons. Barrington (24-6) has won 12 of 13 as the Mid-Suburban West champions try to capture their first sectional title since 2002. 

Evanston vs. New Trier (at Maine East), 7 p.m. -- A rivalry matchup gets a proper rubber match to close out a memorable season in the CSL South. These two team split the regular-season series with each team winning on the road as the third game will be at a neutral site. Evanston (24-5) is coming off a solid win over Loyola as junior Lance Jones had a big second half to seal the win. New Trier (25-5) is coming off an emotional 20-point comeback win over Niles North in double overtime on Wednesday night. 

Simeon vs. Marist (at Thornton), 7 p.m. -- Simeon tries to take the next step to Peoria as Marist presents another tough challenge. The Wolverines (28-3) still haven't lost a game to an Illinois opponent this season as senior Talen Horton-Tucker is still the leading Player of the Year candidate. Marist (27-4) earned an impressive win over Homewood-Flossmoor in the last round as they try to avenge a playoff loss to Simeon in last season's sectional semifinals. 

Curie vs. Whitney Young (at Riverside-Brookfield), 7 p.m. -- This could be perhaps the best matchup of the night as two top-five teams clash for a sectional title. The Condors (26-4) made quick work of Proviso East in the sectional semifinals as they try to win a second sectional title in two seasons. Whitney Young (25-7) has a tough win over Lincoln Park as they try to defend the Class 4A title. Senior Javon Freeman came up big in the fourth quarter of the sectional semifinals for the Dolphins.

Class 3A Sectional Finals

Morgan Park vs. Bogan (at St. Laurence), 7 p.m. -- These heated former Red-South rivals meet in the playoffs once again. The Mustangs (21-9) will be the favorite as they are the defending Class 3A champions. Senior guard Ayo Dosunmu has played well since returning from injury. Bogan (21-8) took down St. Rita as they'll be ready to face Morgan Park. These two teams played on Dec. 5 as the Mustangs pulled out a four-point road victory so the rematch could be another close one. 

Farragut vs. North Lawndale (at Little Village), 6 p.m. -- Two Public League conference rivals play in this one. North Lawndale (17-10) has picked up three playoff wins all by 20 points or more so far as they've been blowing out opponents. Farragut (17-10) is the No. 1 seed in the sectional as they just earned a solid win over De La Salle in the sectional semifinals.

Class 2A Semifinals

Pinckneyville vs. Winnebago, 5:30 p.m. -- Two very good teams clash in the first Class 2A semifinal. Pinckneyville (31-3) is making its first state appearance since 2008 as they're led by double-figure scorers Grant Jausel, J.C. Moll and Dawson Yates. Winnebago (29-2) held off Corliss to make it to Peoria as they're coming off a strong season. Senior big man Andrew Morrisey is putting up 19.7 points per game as he's a difference maker up front. 

Orr vs. Bloomington Central Catholic, 7:15 p.m. -- Orr is hoping to claim its second consecutive Class 2A title as they are the heavy favorites in this one. The Spartans (28-4) have plenty of weapons as seniors Dannie Smith, Raekwon Drake and Chase Adams are having tremendous seasons. Bloomington Central Catholic (25-6) is trying to claim its first Class 2A title since 2014. The Saints are led by are led by double-figure scorers like Jack Gilmore, James Morris and Austyn Ellison. 

 Class 1A Semifinals

Newman Central Catholic vs. Annawan, 11 a.m. -- A 30-win team meets a 28-win team in this semifinal clash. Annawan (30-3) knocked off Aurora Christian for a sectional title as they're led by senior Owen Landwehr. Newman Central Catholic (28-4) has won 11 straight games as they make their second state appearance. 

Okawville vs. Goreville, 12:45 p.m. -- A couple of teams who peaked late in the season meet in this one. Okawville (25-8) has won 10 straight games as they try to get past last season's second place finish in Class 1A. Goreville (23-11) is making its first state title appearance in school history as they're on a seven-game winning streak. 



62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park

62 Days to Kickoff: Lincoln Park 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: Lincoln Park

Head coach: Vince DeFrancesco

Assistant coaches: Steve Karoff, Grant Magnuson, Tyler Clark, Brandon Randolph, Alex Green and Tom Dellota

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (7-0 Chicago Public League Chicago Big Shoulders Conference). Lincoln Park made the Class 7A state football playoff field. The Lions lost to Alton in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ IWT Speer

Sept. 1 vs. Kenwood

Sept. 7 vs. Hubbard

Sept. 14 @ Phillips

Sept. 21 vs. Lane Tech

Sept. 28 vs. Taft

Oct. 5 vs. Westinghouse

Oct. 12 vs. Raby

Oct. 19 vs. Morgan Park

Biggest storyline: The Lions' new conference. Can Lincoln Park keep its winning ways when they start playing in the CPL/Illini Land of Lincoln this fall?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Dane Romberger and DB Jalen Jenkins

Biggest holes to fill: The Lions will need to reload on the offensive side of the football this summer with just three starters back this fall.

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Vince DeFrancesco's Lions have been on a nice roll, getting to the IHSA state playoffs in each of his past three seasons (four straight for the school overall). However, the price for the Lions' success is extremely high. The CPL Illini Land of Lincoln is loaded. The schedule includes the likes of Kenwood, Hubbard, Phillips, Raby and Morgan Park...just to name a few. If the Lions can develop their less experienced offense this summer, all the better for them.

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard 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: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?