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Saturday on CSN: Week 4 of High School Lites hoops

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Saturday on CSN: Week 4 of High School Lites hoops

It's a special Saturday night, holiday tournament edition of High School Lites this week as we'll have highlights of some of the best high school basketball action from across the area. 

While some events like the Wheeling Hardwood Classic and Hinkle Holiday Classic are playing championship games on Saturday night other events like the Proviso West, Big Dipper (Rich South), Jack Tosh (York) and the inaugural Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic are tipping off the opening day of action.

Here's a rundown of some local holiday tournaments we'll have highlights of. You can catch High School Lites on SATURDAY night at 11 p.m. on CSN and CSNChicago.com and we'll also air the next broadcast of the show on Saturday as well.

WHEELING HARDWOOD CLASSIC

The championship of the Wheeling Hardwood Classic will feature No. 14 Notre Dame taking on Libertyville. The Dons were the favorites to win this event entering the week and have performed up to expectations so far. Senior big men Ammar Becar and Anthony D'Avanzo have performed well at times during the event and they'll take on the Wildcats and talented sophomore forward Drew Peterson.

In the third-place game, No. 19 Naperville Central will battle Lake Park.

PROVISO WEST HOLIDAY BASKETBALL INVITATIONAL 

One of the area's premier holiday tournaments tips on Saturday at Proviso West as this 16-team field features five ranked teams and many other talented teams who have been in the CSN Preps Power Rankings at some point this season.

No. 1 Morgan Park will be the clear favorite entering the field, but Fenwick and St. Joseph are both unbeaten entering the tournament and teams like Bogan, Whitney Young, Proviso East, Uplift, Larkin and Hillcrest are all dangerous.

Here's the opening-day schedule (in bracket order):

New Trier vs. Cathedral Catholic, CA., 8:30
Proviso West vs. (9) Bogan, 7
Whitney Young vs. Morton, 5:30
(3) Fenwick vs. Von Steuben, 4
Proviso East vs. Uplift, 2
(1) Morgan Park vs. Providence-St. Mel, 12:30
(5) St. Joseph vs. Dunbar, 11 a.m.
(24) Hillcrest vs. Larkin, 9:30 a.m.

JACK TOSH HOLIDAY CLASSIC AT YORK HIGH SCHOOL 

With a ridiculous 32-team field, the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York is one of the most difficult events to win in the area. Now that Evan Boudreaux has graduated from Lake Forest, the Scouts are no longer the favorite, but there's still plenty of great teams in the field including a top-ten team in Riverside-Brookfield.

Other ranked teams in the field include Downers South, Oswego, De La Salle, Hinsdale South and Stagg. There are also plenty of other talented teams including Conant, Wheaton North, St. Patrick, York and returning champion Lake Forest.

St. Laurence vs. (21) Downers Grove South, 9 a.m.
Palatine vs. Elk Grove, 10:30 a.m.
Sandburg vs. Conant, noon
Nazareth vs. Wheaton North, 1:30
Highland Park vs. (16) Oswego, 3:30
Lyons vs. St. Patrick, 5
St. Ignatius vs. Glenbard East, 6:30
Schaumburg vs. York, 8
Providence vs. (23) De La Salle, 8:30 a.m.
Metea Valley vs. Batavia, 10 a.m.
McHenry vs. Minooka, 11:30 a.m.
Lane vs. (22) Hinsdale South, 1
Rolling Meadows vs. (7) Riverside-Brookfield, 3
Lake Forest vs. T.F. South, 4:30
Waubonsie Valley vs. (17) Stagg, 6
Timothy Christian vs. Naperville North, 7:30

HINSDALE CENTRAL HOLIDAY CLASSIC

It's the inaugural year of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic and with some quality programs from all over the area, this tournament will only continue to get better. Defending Class 4A champion Stevenson is a headliner in this one while Rockford Auburn, St. Charles East and Maine South are some of the better teams in the field. 

Richards vs. Hope Academy, 9:30 a.m.
Stevenson vs. Foreman, 11 a.m.
Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Lincoln Park, 12:30
Rockford Auburn vs. Westinghouse, 2
St. Charles East vs. DePaul Prep, 3:45
Maine South vs. Urban Prep-Englewood, 5:15
Hinsdale Central vs. Crete-Monee, 7
Crespi (CA) vs. Perspectives-MSA, 8:30

HINKLE HOLIDAY CLASSIC AT JACOBS HIGH SCHOOL 

Out in the Fox Valley, the Hinkle Holiday Classic will close up shop on Saturday night as the championship game will feature Zion-Benton battling Rockford Boylan. The Zee-Bees are off to a quietly good start this season and Boylan is once against a powerhouse in the Rockford area.

Barrington takes on host Jacobs in the third-place game.

RICH SOUTH BIG DIPPER HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

This could be the final year of the Big Dipper being at full strength as this south suburban classic once again has a very good field. Marian Catholic and Thornton will be the favorites entering the weekend but teams like Joliet Central, Leo and Lincoln-Way Central are off to good starts this season.

Bolingbrook vs. Butler, 9 a.m.
Hales vs. Lincoln-Way Central, 10:30 a.m.
Rich East vs. Leo, noon
(20) Thornton vs. Perspectives-Calumet, 1:30
Joliet Central vs. King, 4
Rich South vs. U-High, 5:30
Rich Central vs. Marquette, 7
(11) Marian Catholic vs. Tinley Park, 8:30

Bulls defense costs them late but showing 'competitive spirit' a step in right direction

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USA TODAY

Bulls defense costs them late but showing 'competitive spirit' a step in right direction

The Bulls defense is nowhere near where it needs to be, and it cost them dearly on Saturday night. But in a season that’s still about seeing progression both individually and collectively, the Bulls took a step in the right direction with their effort and what Fred Hoiberg called “competitive spirit.”

That won’t change the standings when they wake up Sunday morning, now facing an 0-2 hole in the early season. And while better effort and tougher defense helped them stage a second-half comeback they weren’t able to manage on Thursday, it was a defensive miscue that cost them the game.

Ish Smith split a double screen at the top of the key and sliced his way past Jabari Parker for a wide open go-ahead layup with 5.4 seconds left. Zach LaVine, who 20 seconds earlier had tied the game with the last of his 33 points, was unable to get a shot off after a timeout. Better than Thursday for 47 minutes and 50 seconds. But still costing them when it mattered most.

“We can’t give up a layup for the last play,” said LaVine, who was guarding Smith. “We just got to get our defense right. That’s why it’s really upsetting because we played so well, we came back but we can’t give up a layup. We at least have to make him take a tough one. That was as easy a layup as you can get. It’s really upsetting.”

Fred Hoiberg defended his decision to leave Parker in the game instead of inserting rookie Wendell Carter Jr. He opted to ride the group that helped the Bulls erase a fourth-quarter deficit when it appeared the Bulls were spiraling toward another double-digit loss.

But the Pistons were ready to find the weak link in the Bulls defense and expose it, like they did much of the fourth quarter while attacking Parker with Blake Griffin. As the screen was set Parker jumped outside to cut off Smith, who then made a cut inward and made a dash to the rim. Parker was a couple steps late, allowing the 5-foot-9 Smith to score with ease to give the Pistons their lead and the eventual game-winner.

Bobby Portis, whose shot wasn’t falling but played admirable defense against a talent like Griffin, was on the other side of the double screen and didn’t have a great view of the play. But he said allowing a layup with the game on the line is inexcusable.

“It’s a tough play but at the same time you don’t want to give up a layup at the end of the game,” he said. “You want to make him take a tough shot. That’s something we’ve got to work on, is late game execution on defense.”

But again, it’s about baby steps. The Bulls will want that final possession back, and Hoiberg might also want it back after leaving Parker in the game over Carter. But from where the Bulls were on Thursday, this was better. Granted, allowing 118 points and 18 3-pointers to the Pistons isn’t a recipe for success, it’s improvement nonetheless. Detroit got a career-high five triples from Griffin, four from Reggie Jackson (a career 32 percent 3-point shooter) and a pair from Stnaley Johnson (a career 29 percent 3-point shooter). The Bulls will be able to live with some of those makes.

On Thursday the Bulls trailed by just six early in the third quarter before the Sixers ripped off a 19-3 run to put the game out of reach. On Saturday the Pistons got out to a six-point lead on two different occasions, and then a seven-point lead with just 2:01 to play. All three times the Bulls came roaring back, using timely spots and clutch baskets from LaVine, Park and even Cameron Payne, who tied a career-high with 17 points.

Ultimately it wasn’t enough, but it’s a positive sign that they were able to battle back and show some fight defensively. They’ll certainly need that when they travel to Dallas to take on a Mavericks team that scored 140 points on the Jimmy Butler-less Timberwolves on Saturday. They should get Dunn back, which will help,  and now have a close contest under their belt on which to build. It didn’t result in a win, and the late-game cross-up was the cause, but the Bulls finished Saturday in a much better place than they were in on Thursday.

“Yeah but obviously we want to get the win. I feel like we fought hard,” Portis said. “Even when adversity hit everybody stuck together. We did our thing tonight. You want to win the game but I felt like we did our job tonight. We just gave up a bad play at the end of the game.”

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

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AP

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

COLUMBUS — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday:

1. Corey Crawford steals the show

The Blackhawks had no business winning this game. They were being outshot 28-15 through two periods, committed four penalties and gave up 18 high-danger chances in the game. 

But Crawford bailed out his team like he often has done in the past, and was zoned in from the moment the puck dropped. He finished with 37 saves on 38 shots for a save percentage of .974, picking up his first win since Dec. 17, 2017.

"Yeah, I felt good," Crawford said. "I think everyone was playing hard, rebounds, taking away sticks. That was a great effort by everyone."

"He was standing on his head for us," Patrick Kane said. "As Q would say, that’s a goalie win for us."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was vintage Crow."

2. Tic-tac-toe leads to go-ahead goal

The Blue Jackets were clearly the better team through two periods. The Blackhawks were fortunate to go into second intermission with the game still tied at 1-1.

The next goal was crucial, and they got it thanks to a give-and-go play by Brent Seabrook and Kane, who buried home a wide open net to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead with 4:14 left in regulation.

Was Kane expecting Seabrook to pass it back?

"No. Not a chance," Kane said laughing. "That’s his wheelhouse, coming right down there. He scores a lot of goals from that area. Saw it was like a 2-on-2, he was coming late, he jumped in the play on the first goal, did a great job, jumped in the play on that goal. Made a great pass. When I saw it come back, I just tried to stay patient, settle it down and make sure I hit the net, because I knew I had the whole open net."

3. Busy night for PK

The Blackhawks penalty kill was very busy. It was also on it's A-game, partly because their best penalty killer was Crawford.

The Blackhawks spent 6:31 of the first 40 minutes killing penalties, allowing 11 shots total on it. But most importantly, they killed off all four penalties.

"We had some tough clears, but I thought we did some good things," Quenneville said. "We withstood some extended PK zone time there and found a way to keep us in the game. Obviously that next goal was huge and that second period was a big part of them having so much zone time, keeping us in our end. We'll say, hey good job, but Crow was the best penalty killer tonight."

4. Catching up with Kane on Artemi Panarin

Kane and Panarin spent only two seasons together, but they brought Blackhawks fans out of their seats on a nightly basis and it was amazing to watch the instant on-ice chemistry they shared. And most of it was non-verbal, which made it even more impressive. They were always on the same wavelength.

"Sometimes it takes time to build some chemistry but that was one of those things where it was like, I don't want to say instant chemistry, but after one or two preseason games we kind of new that maybe something special was going to happen," Kane told NBC Sports Chicago. "I think he scored in his first game in the NHL, we had a really good game, we had the puck a lot, we sensed that this could be a fun way to play hockey."

Off the ice, Kane said Panarin would use Google translate on his phone to communicate while Kane would try using a Russian accent while saying English words.

The two of them got a chance to hang out for a little bit on Friday and Kane still keeps tabs on his former linemate.

"I always really enjoy watching him," Kane said. "If we have an off night or something, he's a really fun player to watch."