Preps Talk

Simeon blows out Rockford Auburn for 4A third-place title


Simeon blows out Rockford Auburn for 4A third-place title

PEORIA -- Simeon fell short of its goal at the beginning of the season of winning a Class 4A boys basketball state championship, but the Wolverines ended their 2015-16 season on a high note with an 83-55 win over Rockford Auburn in the third-place game.

The Wolverines (30-4) raced out to a 41-25 halftime lead and never looked back as they thoroughly outplayed Auburn at both ends of the floor. Simeon's defense and a cold-shooting Auburn team meant the Knights only shot 32 percent (18-for-55) from the field as the Wolverines out-rebounded Auburn 51-28 for the contest.

Simeon's offense was led by senior guard Zach Norvell, as the Gonzaga commit had 22 points in his final high school game. Senior Ben Coupet also added 14 points while junior point guard Evan Gilyard finished with 11 points. Junior big man Madison Lowery also registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

"We wanted to come out here and make sure we brought home a trophy," Norvell said. "It's disappointing not be playing in a few minutes [in the Class 4A state title game] but we got the job done tonight."

[MORE: Belleville Althoff captures Class 3A title]

Rockford Auburn (25-8) ended its season with two consecutive losses, but made a nice run through the Class 4A Rockford Sectional to reach Peoria. Devon Richardson led the Knights with 15 points while star senior Trayvon Tyler finished with eight points on 3-for-13 shooting and 2-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.

After a two-year hiatus from Peoria, Simeon returned to claim its eighth state tournament trophy in the last 11 seasons. The Wolverines won a state title in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and finished in second in 2008. The 1-1 weekend in Peoria means that Simeon head coach Robert Smith is now 18-2 in games in IHSA state tournament games in Peoria.

"I thought we showed a lot of heart and courage coming out and playing the way we played," Smith said.

Although Simeon fell short of the state championship, they did win the Public League Playoffs this season and were No. 1 in the area to end the regular season. The Wolverines will lose talented seniors like Norvell, Coupet and Josh Thomas, but they have enough talent coming back where they should be a major competitor again next season.

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

Head coach: Bob Padjen

Assistant coaches: Trent Jensen, Jesse Kikkert, Jonathan Hill, Doug Smith, Mike Tisza, Rob Shell and Tim Russell

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (3-3 South Suburban Blue Conference), T.F. South made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Rebels lost to Danville in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Thornwood

Sept. 1 vs Julian

Sept. 7 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 14 @ TF North

Sept. 21 vs Bremen

Sept. 28 @ Reavis

Oct. 5 vs Hillcrest

Oct. 12 @ Lemont

Oct. 19 @ Tinley Park

[MORE: 86 Days to Kickoff - Reavis]

Biggest storyline: T.F. South has advanced to the playoffs 20 times in the past 24 seasons. Can the Rebels get back to the IHSA state playoff field and make more noise this fall?

Names to watch this season: QB Kamron Clayton LB Michael Smith

Biggest holes to fill: The Rebels will need to replace seven starters on each side of the football this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: T.F. South head coach Bob Padjen was able to keep the Rebels on a winning path in his first season as Rebels head coach after several years serving in an assistant role. South always has talent. If the underclassmen can step up this summer, look for the Rebels to challenge for the top half of the South Suburban Blue conference race. 

Recruiting News and Notes: Wynston Russell verbally commits to Oregon State


Recruiting News and Notes: Wynston Russell verbally commits to Oregon State

Homewood-Flossmoor’s senior three star-ranked defensive back Wynston Russell (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) announced his verbal commitment to Oregon State via his Twitter account.

"I really like the coaches at Oregon State a lot and they played a big role in my decision," Russell said. "Coach Tibs (Tim Tibesar) and head coach (Jonathon) Smith along with the rest of the coaches at Oregon State are a newer staff and they are going to win a lot of games at Oregon State. On my official visit I was able to learn more about the great academic support system in place. The academic support that is offered at Oregon State is great and they also work hard on career planning and placement."

"Everyone on the official visit really bonded last weekend, and the guys already on the team also made us feel like part of the team already. The guys on the team are great guy. I also really liked the campus life at Oregon State. You have plenty of things to do but you can also focus on academics and you don't have a ton of distractions. I just felt very comfortable at Oregon State and that was another big part of my decision. I just felt like I fit in there."

Russell was holding multiple scholarship offers and also considered Wisconsin, Western Michigan and Toledo before giving the Beavers his commitment. 

Chicago Mount Carmel senior offensive guard recruit Marcelo Mendiola (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) impress the University of Cincinnati coaches at a recently-held North Central College satellite camp. A few weeks later Mendiola added a Bearcat offer, visited the campus and then gave Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It's (Cincinnati) just a great fit for myself and my family," Mendiola said. "We talked it over and I just have a lot in common with the coaches and the philosophy in the football program at Cincinnati. I looked hard at things like the overall depth chart and I'll have a chance to come in and earn early playing time."

Joliet Catholic senior offensive tackle Dave Monnot III (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) decided to give Purdue his verbal commitment after adding a camp offer from the Boilermakers. Monnot III camped at Purdue last Monday, added a Boilermakers offer last Thursday and immediately gave the Purdue staff his verbal commitment.

"One of the big things that sold me on (Purdue) was the coaching staff," Monnot III said. "I love the way Coach (Dale) Williams coaches. He's an Ohio guy and he's going to hold me accountable if I mess up, and that's something I look for in a coach. The final factor was the players (at Purdue). I didn't get a chance to talk to any of the players while I was there, but at my gym here at home, Rudy's, Evan Panfil used to go there, so I had his number. I gave him a call and asked him about his experience there and he sold me."

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin senior three star-ranked offensive tackle Nick Broeker (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) decided earlier this week to give Ole Miss his verbal commitment. Broeker, who was holding 18 scholarship offers this summer pointed towards his connection to Ole Miss as one of his reasons on giving the Rebels his commitment.

"Ole Miss just has so much to offer," according to Broeker. "It's a great fit for me in so many ways. They play in the best conference in the nation in the SEC West. My goal has always been to play at the highest possible level in college and you can't find a higher level of college football than the SEC. Ole Miss offers a good education plus I just feel at home. Ole Miss offered and recruited me as an offensive tackle. I looked at several schools and in the end I found myself comparing everyone else to Ole Miss. My family is also really excited about Ole Miss and they also really loved it.