Things really picked up on Friday night as the evening saw three top-25 matchups and some other Thanksgiving events coming to a close.
Saturday also has some great matchups to keep an eye on as more events finish up throughout the day. Here's a look at some storylines to keep tabs on.
If you have scores, stories, highlights or updates, don't be shy to hit us up on Twitter @NBCSPreps or @Phillipshoops. Coaches, players, ADs, parents and fans are also encouraged to email me (email@example.com) with any stories we should be tracking this season.
Be sure to catch High School Lites this Saturday at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago as we'll have highlights and reactions from the eight football state title games as well as some basketball happenings from the first week of the season.
FRIDAY'S THINGS TO KNOW (11/29)
1. No. 3 Bloom earns impressive win over No. 8 Marian Catholic to win Chicago Heights Classic
The title game at the Chicago Heights Classic continued an impressive early-season showcase for the Blazing Trojans. Earning a 77-60 road win over the Spartans, Bloom solidified its top-three status with two top-15 wins during the opening week of the season.
Senior Christian Shumate continues to be a major factor as he put up 28 points in the win -- getting a triple-double thanks to 10 blocks and 11 rebounds. With the balance that the Blazing Trojans possess, all it takes is for one player to have a big game for them to be nearly unstoppable.
This is the type of title win Bloom was looking for as they’re playing with a lot of confidence at the beginning of the season. It's almost impossible to create separation among the top three teams (Morgan Park, Whitney Young, Bloom) after the first week of the season.
2. No. 9 Notre Dame closes out No. 15 DePaul Prep for Battle of the Bridge title
The talent is there for Notre Dame to compete for an ESCC and state title this season. But the junior-laden team had to prove itself against strong competition to merit its preseason top-ten status.
Consider Friday night to be a statement win for the Dons in holding off DePaul Prep for a 65-60 win.
Junior Louis Lesmond is already making his presence felt as he was named event MVP with 22 points in the win. Fellow junior forward Troy D’Amico also tallied 18. And senior Jason Bergstrom had a huge impact with 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter — including three timely triples.
If that trio is knocking down shots then Notre Dame can hang with anyone in the state. Point guard Anthony Sayles has plenty of weapons to use around him and the Dons have a unique combination of size and skill. It'll be fun to check out the ESCC race this season with so much talent in that league once again.
3. Oak Lawn uses big game from Sami Osmani to race past St. Laurence.
Before the season, I spotlighted Oak Lawn as a potential top-25 team at some point this season. That could be happening sooner than later after the Spartans used a big game from senior Sami Osmani to get past St. Laurence.
Osmani scored 20 points in the first quarter alone — finishing with a game-high 36 points — as Oak Lawn claimed their own tournament title.
Osmani and senior guard Trey Ward form a very fun one-two combination as Ward also chipped in 24 on the night. If Osmani and Ward are rolling (how many area players are combining for 60 points in a game?) then Oak Lawn can hang with most teams in the area.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Oak Lawn plays as the hunted now that everyone in the area if familiar with their star players entering this season.
SATURDAY'S THINGS TO WATCH FOR (11/30)
Stevenson vs. York, 4:45 p.m. — The Dukes already opened eyes with a win over Cary-Grove on Friday night. It was hard to peg York as a preseason Power Rankings team after losing so many key seniors. Now, Nate Shockey and company get a crack at a top-five team. It will also be beneficial to see how the Patriots handle a Division I caliber guard like Shockey.
Morton vs. St. Rita, 4:30 p.m. — Both of these teams have quietly gone unbeaten at Riverside-Brookfield this week — setting up an intriguing title game not many saw coming. While St. Rita had question marks with a new coach, it was known the Mustangs still had talent. Morton is the bigger question mark in this matchup. Great test to see if the Mustangs are for real.
Bolingbrook vs. Thornton, 7:30 p.m. — It’s a shame this matchup has to happen in Decatur. A local matchup between these two would have surely drawn a big crowd. As it stands, this is a major early test for the ranked Raiders while also giving the Wildcats a chance to claim a spot in the next batch of Power Rankings.
As Thanksgiving events come to a close on Saturday, I continually think every season how useless most of these events are in the grand scheme of things.
Between the difficult-to-follow round-robin format and the IHSA football season still going, it's tough to get a grasp on how good some teams actually are. What hoops fan wants to spend the week calculating event standings when single-elimination tournament formats are available? People love brackets and tournaments, not round-robin events that nobody will remember come holiday tournament time.
I wish more teams would opt not to play the first week of the season and instead pick up a tournament around the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Wouldn't January tournaments be more beneficial in preparing teams for the state tournament then these watered-down, round-robin events still being played during football season? Hopefully something can be done about so many of these Thanksgiving events being underwhelming. Because, as we've seen during holiday tournament time, IHSA basketball is a very special thing when there are high stakes and big-time events.