The IHSA high school boys basketball season tipped off on Monday.
While the calendar this time of year is generally filled with underwhelming Thanksgiving events -- or teams opting not to play at all -- Monday saw the area's top two teams face off as No. 1 Morgan Park outlasted No. 2 Whitney Young with a 61-59 win.
We have more on that game, and some more things to keep an eye on, as we get into more Thanksgiving tournament action on Tuesday.
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.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW FROM MONDAY (11/25)
1. Brandon Weston gives Morgan Park another potential star
While Monday's matchup of Public League superpowers had plenty of subplots, the emergence of Mustangs junior Brandon Weston was the major takeaway from Morgan Park's win over Whitney Young.
I have much more on Weston's journey from missing all of last season to opening eyes in his Public League debut here.
No. 1 Morgan Park holds off No. 2 Whitney Young with a 61-59 final. A frantic final few seconds as the Dolphins never put up a game-winning attempt. pic.twitter.com/IkUTXdP7e3— Preps Talk (@NBCSPreps) November 26, 2019
2. No. 17 Homewood-Flossmoor survives scare from Rich East
Coming off of a sectional title last season, it was tough to project the Vikings this season. Senior RJ Ogom returned in the frontcourt. He's a Division I signee who blossomed into a go-to player this summer. And H-F wasn't the type of team to rely on any one star to be a top-25 presence last season. This is a program that generally has many talented pieces at their disposal.
But uncertainty looms about some of the Homewood-Flossmoor rotation compared to some others in the preseason Preps Power Rankings. That showed Monday night at the Chicago Heights Classic as H-F needed double overtime, and foul trouble from Rich East, to escape with a 69-63 double overtime win.
This could be a case of early-season jitters and the Vikings trying to find themselves with many new faces. It's also certainly feasible that the Rockets are also a sleeper team for this season. I saw Rich East give Bloom some trouble last season on the road as they were a scrappy team with a handful of promising players.
One thing is for sure: the Chicago Heights Classic is the area's best Thanksgiving event by a mile this week. I'll be checking out the event's final day of action on Friday.
Lost a double OT thriller 63-69 to a good Homewood Flossmoor team tonight. Chris Smith lead with 7pts 4 blocks and 7 rebs. Brandon Brogdon led in scoring with 17pts and 3 rebs Gary Clay added 11pt 2ast.— Rockets Basketball (@RE_Rockets) November 26, 2019
3. Glenbrook South senior Dom Martinelli states his early case
Admittedly, I was aggressive in ranking Glenbrook South this preseason. The Titans lost a lot of senior firepower from last season's breakthrough season.
But Glenbrook South returned leading scorer and senior star Dom Martinelli. That was good enough for me to rank the Titans this preseason.
Martinelli started his sleeper Player of the Year campaign Monday with a blistering 37 points as the Titans outlasted Uplift at Buffalo Grove. As long as he stays healthy, this will likely be the first of many big games from Martinelli this season. There just aren't many at the local high school level who can pour it in like the senior wing forward can.
Again, college coaches, what more do you need to see out of this guy? It's not like the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world should be keeping track of Martinelli. But he's a bonafide stud at this level and the type of gym rat who will figure it out as a scholarship player at the next level. Division II and low-major Division I programs beware.
The Titans survived tonight despite a pesky and hard playing Chicago Uplift. 69-65 final. @dom_martinelli3 scored 37 pts - @CNoard3 had 11. #GBSnow @TitanBoosters @Dion_JTsports @GlenviewLantern @michaelsobrien— Glenbrook South Boys Basketball (@TitanBoysHoops) November 26, 2019
THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR TUESDAY (11/26)
Rich East at No. 8 Marian Catholic, 6:30 p.m. -- We get to see if Rich East is for real as they battle another top-25 team to begin the season. It'll also be nice to see Ahron Ulis and company get a better test on Tuesday after an easy win over Rich Central on Monday.
No. 22 Glenbrook South vs. Zion-Benton (at Buffalo Grove) 6:00 p.m. -- The individual matchup between the Titans's Martinelli and Zion-Benton stud junior Amar Augillard should be a good one. Both have a shot at 30-point games in this one. It's also another chance for Glenbrook South to establish themselves as a credible top-25 team.
Westinghouse at No. 16 Fenwick, 7 p.m. -- An enticing matchup in Oak Park. The Friars are young -- led by standout junior and Louisville commit Bryce Hopkins and sophomore lead guard Trey Pettigrew. But they are talented enough to make some serious noise in the area this season. Westinghouse is coming off of a shocking loss to Benet in which the Redwings were without all-conference senior center Colin Crothers. For a team that some had in the preseason top-25 mix, not the start Westinghouse was looking for. Can the Warriors bounce back against another tough opponent?
Don't sleep on Whitney Young.
The talk of Tuesday is going to center around Morgan Park and Brandon Weston stepping up to give the Mustangs the season-opening win.
It would also be very silly to forget about the Dolphins and what they're capable of. Senior DJ Steward showed supreme skill and toughness playing through a bloody lip to deliver 20 points while also contributing all over the box score.
Inconsistent at times this spring and summer, senior Tyler Beard had some eye-opening stretches, including the end of the third quarter that saw him throw down a big dunk and bury a buzzer-beating three-pointer. And transfer guard Jaeshawn Thomas proved he belonged in the Public League while looking like a tough third guard to contend with.
Whitney Young might have lost this season-opening clash, but they're still arguably the best Class 4A team in the state this season.