High School Lites has tons of conference action this week. Big games in the North Suburban, Catholic League, Fox Valley and West Suburban Silver are just a few of the matchups we'll spotlight as there are great games across Chicagoland.
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Vocational at No. 5 Morgan Park, 5:00 p.m. -- We begin in the Public League Red South/Central. The Mustangs (8-5, 2-1) had an impressive win over Hyde Park earlier this week as they'll be the heavy favorites. Morgan Park features Illinois commit Adam Miller, Wake Forest commit Marcus Watson and wing Brandon Weston on a team trying to compete for a city and state title. Vocational (6-9, 1-4) started the conference season 0-4 before a big win over Lindblom earlier this week.
Girls: Montini at Fenwick, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the area's top girls teams play here. Both also reside in the top ten of the latest AP Class 3A girls basketball state poll. Montini (17-3) had some slip-ups at the holidays as they come in looking to regain their footing. Fenwick (17-2) recently fell to Simeon but bounced back with a win over Loyola.
No. 22 Joliet West at Oswego East, 6:30 p.m. -- A lot of talent on the floor in this Southwest Prairie crossover. Joliet West (14-2, 7-0) has high expectations now following the strong third-place showing at Pontiac. The Tigers are led by Jamere Hill, Jaiden Lee and Trent Howland as they earned a win over Oswego earlier this week. Oswego East (12-4, 6-1) is the top team in the West Division of the Southwest Prairie as they won over Plainfield Central on Tuesday. Senior Sam Schultz recently returned to the lineup from a knee injury while Will Wolfe is a leader on the perimeter.
Hampshire at Cary-Grove, 7:00 p.m. -- Two top teams collide in the Fox Valley here. Hampshire (11-4, 5-1) had won 11 straight games after an 0-3 start -- including winning the tournament title at Marengo be -- before a loss to Burlington Central this week. One of the area's bigger lineups, the Whip-Purs' shortest starter is 6-foot-3 senior Jackson Milison. Cary-Grove (13-2, 6-0) has only lost to ranked teams in York and Waubonsie Valley as they're led by senior big man Frank Jakubicek (Belmont) and senior point guard Beau Frericks (Lewis). A key matchup in this one could be Hampshire 6-foot-7 senior Nick Erickson matching up with the 6-foot-8 Jakubicek on the interior.
No. 15 Marian Catholic at St. Patrick, 7:00 p.m. -- We head to the ESCC for a matchup between two of the league's best teams. Marian Catholic (11-4, 2-1) is led by Iowa commit and senior Ahron Ulis. Ulis has plenty of weapons around him, including forward Elijah Jones (Western Illinois) and athletic senior guard Joe Green. St. Pat's (12-3, 2-0) has a solid record to start the season but they lack a signature win since knocking off Benet on the road in December. The Shamrocks are a balanced offense led by Caleb Corro, Timaris Brown and Nick Galati.
Dundee-Crown at Jacobs, 7:30 p.m. -- Staying in the Fox Valley, we take in this rivalry matchup. Dundee-Crown (7-6, 3-2) picked up a massive comeback road win at Crystal Lake South on Wednesday -- trailing by double-digits in the second half and still winning. Jacobs (10-5, 4-2) held off Prairie Ridge as they try to stay in the Fox Valley race with a win.
No. 13 Mundelein at No. 17 Stevenson, 7:30 p.m. -- A major showdown for the top spot in the North Suburban. Mundelein (13-1, 3-0) is led by a strong junior group that includes Conor Enright (Drake), Scottie Ebube and Trey Baker. The trio has helped the Mustangs stay unbeaten against Chicagoland competition this season, with their only loss coming against Class 4A title contender Collinsville on the road. Stevenson (11-3, 3-0) lost to a pair of ranked opponents at Hinsdale Central, falling to H-F and Marian Catholic. The Patriots are skilled at all five spots, led by seniors Matthew Ambrose, R.J. Holmes and John Ittounas. But Stevenson will have to play better against length and athleticism, something they've struggled with at times this season.
Glenbard West at Oak Park-River Forest, 7:30 p.m. -- This one could be important in the West Suburban Silver race. Glenbard West (12-1, 1-1) is off to a strong start but they haven't beaten a great opponent yet. The Hilltoppers won their recent holiday event and come in with a lot of confidence. OPRF (7-5, 2-0) hasn't played since the Pontiac Holiday Tournament as they've had a long layoff to practice and rest. Junior Isaiah Barnes is a potential All Area candidate who can score in bunches for the Huskies.
Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week
St. Ignatius vs. No. 7 Loyola, at Loyola University, 7 p.m. -- A battle for the Jesuit Cup wins our Viewers' Choice matchup this week. St. Ignatius (12-4, 4-1) is an intriguing team led by senior Daniel Fahey. The Wolfpack have loads of younger talent as they are a team to watch in the Catholic League race. Loyola (15-1, 5-0) hasn't lost to an area team all season thanks to suffocating defense and a balanced offense. Seniors Jordan and Bennett Kwiecinski (Drake and Siena, respectively) give the Ramblers an advantage inside.