NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings: Ranked teams dominating IHSA Playoffs

NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings: Ranked teams dominating IHSA Playoffs

The NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings didn't feature too many changes this week.

An astounding 23 out of 25 teams from last week's rankings claimed a regional (or sectional) title with wins during the week. Only Bolingbrook and Waubonsie Valley were eliminated from the IHSA State Playoffs, and subsequently, dropped from the Power Rankings.

We should see quite a bit of movement next week when many of these top-25 teams will play for sectional titles. 

1. Bloom (28-5, 15-1) (1) -- Easy win for Bloom as the Blazing Trojans went on the road and ran past Thornwood in the regional finals. The next game gets difficult for Bloom when they host No. 17 Marian Catholic on Tuesday night in the sectional semifinals. The Blazing Trojans beat the Spartans twice during the regular season with both wins coming by 17 points. 
2. Thornton (31-1, 15-1) (2) -- Impressive road win for Thornton as they had a blowout win over Lincoln-Way East. The Bloom Sectional comes next for the Wildcats as they'll play No. 13 Homewood-Flossmoor in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday. 
3. Simeon (24-8, 8-2) (3) -- Running past Lane for a road win, the Wolverines continue to peak at the right time. Sectional semifinal play will be difficult for Simeon and Robert Smith's team will have to get past No. 7 Whitney Young on Wednesday night to advance. 
4. Curie (28-2, 8-0) (4) -- Another balanced outing helped Curie beat Lyons by double-digits as Ramean Hinton led with 16 points. The Condors will face an underdog in the next round when they play Morton in the Lyons Sectional. 
5. Morgan Park (21-9, 6-2) (5) (3A) -- The Mustangs claimed a regional title with ease in rolling past Tinley Park with an impressive win. The No. 1 seed in the Thornridge Sectional will get a major test against No. 19 Hillcrest in the sectional semifinals on Tuesday. 
6. Bogan (27-3, 8-1) (6) (3A) -- Antione Bloxton continues to put up big numbers as the senior's 23 points lifted the Bengals by St. Laurence for a regional title road win. The No. 1 seed in the Hinsdale South Sectional will play Riverside-Brookfield on Tuesday.
7. Whitney Young (20-9, 8-1) (7) -- Rallying for a regional final win over St. Rita at Proviso West, the Dolphins earned regional title hardware. The Lyons Sectional comes next for Whitney Young and they'll play city rival No. 3 Simeon on Wednesday night.
8. Notre Dame (28-5, 8-1) (8) (3A) -- A balanced effort led by 16 points from Anthony Sayles placed Notre Dame into the sectional semifinals as they ran past Vernon Hills. Untested so far in the playoffs, the Dons have an enticing battle with Deerfield in the Grayslake North Sectional on Tuesday. 
9. Evanston (28-4, 9-1) (9) -- It was a battle, but Evanston eventually outlasted rival New Trier to win a regional title. Another rival awaits the Wildkits in the next round as they face Glenbrook South in Tuesday's sectional semifinals. Evanston split the season series and won the latest matchup at home with a close overtime win.
10. Stevenson (27-4, 13-1) (10) -- It wasn't pretty but Stevenson outlasted Highland Park to win a regional title in its own gym. The top seed in the Prospect Sectional gets a strong test against an athletic and talented Zion-Benton team on Tuesday night. 
11. Loyola (29-4, 14-1) (11) -- Smothering Maine South for a regional title home win, Loyola continued its strong season on the defensive end. The Ramblers advance in the Elk Grove Sectional and they'll play Niles North in a sectional semifinal on Tuesday.
12. Glenbrook South (29-4, 9-1) (12) -- The dream season for the Titans continued with a double-digit win over Maine West. Glenbrook South gets a third battle with CSL South rival Evanston on Tuesday night in the sectional semifinals. The two teams split the regular-season series. 
13. Homewood-Flossmoor (25-4, 7-1) (14) -- The Vikings cruised past Oak Lawn to win another regional title. The next round sees Homewood-Flossmoor get a crack at No. 2 Thornton -- a team that beat them back in January. That rematch goes down at Bloom on Wednesday night.
14. Joliet West (28-4, 16-0) (15) -- Getting past Romeoville on the road, Joliet West advanced to sectionals. The No. 1 seed in the Lockport Sectional will face Neuqua Valley on Tuesday.
15. Mundelein (29-4, 12-2) (16) -- Not much of a test for Mundelein when the Mustangs blew out Fremd by 21 points for a regional crown. Upset-minded Prospect hosts the sectional semifinals in the next round as the Mustangs play on Tuesday night. 
16. DePaul Prep (26-5, 12-3) (17) (3A) -- Easy win for DePaul Prep as the Rams cruised past Farragut at home. Wednesday will be tough for DePaul Prep when they face St. Ignatius on the road in the sectional semifinals.
17. Marian Catholic (24-8, 8-1) (18) -- Strong games from Ahron Ulis (24 points) and Elijah Jones (19 points) lifted the Spartans past Brother Rice for a regional title home win. Marian Catholic has a major test on Tuesday when they play No. 1 Bloom in the sectional semifinals in a tough road game.
18. Fenwick (26-7, 12-3) (19) (3A) -- Making quick work of Payton, the Friars captured a regional title at home behind a big game from junior Bryce Hopkins. Advancing to the St. Ignatius Sectional, Fenwick will take on Westinghouse on Tuesday.
19. Hillcrest (23-8, 12-1) (20) (3A) -- Hillcrest won a regional on its home floor with a win over Rich Central as Mar'Keise Irving and Julius Rollins both had solid games. The intensity picks up for Hillcrest in the next matchup when they face Thornridge Sectional No. 1 seed Morgan Park on Tuesday.
20. Orr (21-7, 7-2) (21) (2A) -- The Spartans claimed another Class 2A sectional title with a notable win over Clark. Orr will try to advance to Peoria once again as they face another Public League team in Corliss on Tuesday at Joliet Central.
21. Hinsdale South (30-3, 11-1) (22) (3A) -- Aaron Tims dropped 28 points to lift the Hornets to 30 wins and a regional title win over Kenwood. Now on its home floor for sectionals, Hinsdale South hosts No. 23 Benet on Wednesday.
22. Cary-Grove (30-3, 17-1) (23) -- It wasn't easy, but Cary-Grove finally put away a familiar Fox Valley foe in Jacobs to win win the second boys basketball regional title in school history. The second 30-win team in Fox Valley history, the Trojans play Huntley in the sectional semifinals at McHenry. The two teams split the regular-season series.
23. Benet (24-9, 7-2) (25) (3A) -- A double-digit home win over De La Salle gave Benet a regional title. The Redwings have to go on the road in the next round when they play No. 21 Hinsdale South on Wednesday night in the sectional semifinals.
24. Niles North (27-5, 10-0) (NR) -- Impressive win for the Vikings on the road as they eliminated Schaumburg with a double-digit win. Difficult game in the next round for Aquan Smart and company as they face No. 11 Loyola Academy on Tuesday at the Elk Grove Sectional.  
25. Oak Forest (28-3, 12-1) (NR) (3A) -- The Bengals find themselves back in the Power Rankings with a victory over T.F. North. Sophomore Robbie Avila had a triple-double with 25 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks in the win. Major test for Oak Forest in the Thornridge Sectional when they play a talented Kankakee squad on Wednesday. 

End-of-regular-season NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

thumb_thornton_bloom_mixtape.jpg
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

End-of-regular-season NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings

The Preps Power Rankings saw some changes this week as the regular season for boys basketball is finally over.

With the IHSA boys basketball state playoffs in full swing this week, it will be fascinating to see which of these teams live up to lofty expectations and which teams fall victim to the upsets of March Madness.

1. Bloom (26-5, 15-1) (1) -- The Blazing Trojans closed the regular season with an easy win over Rich South. Considered by some to be the favorites in Class 4A, the No. 1 seed in the Eisenhower Sectional begins their postseason on Tuesday at Thornwood. 

2. Thornton (29-1, 15-1) (2) -- Racing past Thornwood, Thornton is a major threat in Class 4A. The Wildcats are the No. 2 seed in the Eisenhower Sectional as they start the postseason with Stagg in a regional semifinal on Tuesday at Lincoln-Way East. 

3. Simeon (22-8, 7-2) (3) -- Off during the week, the Public League Playoff champs are the No. 2 seed in the Lyons Sectional. Robert Smith and company will try to make it back to Peoria once again when they face Juarez on Tuesday at Lane. 

4. Curie (26-2, 8-0) (4) -- Curie pulled off another impressive win by going on the road and knocking off a top-10 team in Notre Dame. The Condors are trying to get back to Peoria for the second straight season as the No. 1 seed in the Lyons Sectional. Curie faces host Argo on Tuesday in regional semifinal action. 

5. Morgan Park (19-9, 6-2) (5) (3A) -- Morgan Park had the week off in preparation of another potential run to Peoria. The No. 1 seed in the Thornridge Sectional, the Mustangs begin their playoff journey on Tuesday at Ag. Science against either Morris or Thornridge.

6. Bogan (25-3, 8-1) (6) (3A) -- Bogan was off this week before the 3A playoffs begin. The Bengals are hoping to make another trip to Peoria this season as they're the No. 1 seed in the Hinsdale South Sectional. Bogan starts with the winner of a regional quarterfinal on Wednesday at St. Laurence. 

7. Whitney Young (18-9, 8-1) (9) -- The Dolphins were off this week before the IHSA State Playoffs. The No. 3 seed in the Lyons Sectional, Whitney Young heads to Proviso West where they face the hosts in the regional semifinals on Tuesday.

8. Notre Dame (26-5, 8-1) (10) (3A) -- The Dons lost in their regular-season finale to Curie. One of the favorites in 3A, Notre Dame is the top seed in the Grayslake North Sectional. Heavily favored in regional play, the Dons tip on Tuesday in North Chicago. 

9. Evanston (26-4, 9-1) (7) -- Ending the regular season on a high note against Maine East, the defending Class 4A runner-up is strong again entering the Playoffs. The Wildkits are the No. 3 seed in the Elk Grove Sectional where they open in regional semifinal play on Tuesday at Maine East. 

10. Stevenson (25-4, 13-1) (12) -- Earning revenge on Lake Forest to close the regular season, the Patriots claimed the North Suburban title. Stevenson is the No. 1 seed at Prospect as they host their own regional during the week. The Patriots play Tuesday against Lake Zurich or Waukegan. 

11. Loyola (27-4, 14-1) (13) -- The Ramblers earned a blowout win over Bulls in the final regular season game. Loyola is the top seed in the Elk Grove Sectional as they host their own regional this week. Tuesday is when Loyola begins postseason play as they play the winner of Von Steuben and Elk Grove. 

12. Glenbrook South (27-4, 9-1) (14) -- A dream season for the Titans continued with a convincing Central Suburban Championship win over Niles North. The No. 2 seed at Elk Grove, Glenbrook South heads to Maine West this week. The Titans will open against Conant on Tuesday, but a potential matchup looms against Max Christie and Rolling Meadows in the regional finals on Friday. 

13. Bolingbrook (26-5, 7-1) (15) -- The Raiders had one of the most notable wins of the week with a home win over conference rival H-F. Bolingbrook is the No. 2 seed in the Lockport Sectional as they head to Oswego East to play Plainfield East on Tuesday.

14. Homewood-Flossmoor (23-4, 7-1) (8) -- The Vikings lost a conference showdown with Bolingbrook to end the regular season. Still a very dangerous team in Class 4A, Homewood-Flossmoor is the No. 3 seed in the Eisenhower Sectional. The Vikings start on Tuesday against Shepard. 

15. Joliet West (26-4, 16-0) (16) -- Closing the season unbeaten in the Southwest Prairie, Joliet West is the No. 1 seed in the Lockport Sectional. The Tigers will face Plainfield East on Tuesday as they travel to Romeoville. 

16. Mundelein (27-4, 12-2) (17) -- Mundelein won against Warren to finish the regular season. The Mustangs are the No. 2 seed in the Prospect Sectional as they will play at Fremd during regional play. Regional semifinal action begins against Wheeling on Tuesday. 

17. DePaul Prep (24-5, 12-3) (18) (3A) -- DePaul Prep closed the regular season with wins over Mather and Peoria Manual on back-to-back nights. The No. 2 seed in the St. Ignatius Sectional, the Rams host their own regional and play on Tuesday.

18. Marian Catholic (22-8, 8-1) (11) -- Suffering a loss to Richards to close the regular season, the Spartans drop a few spots before the playoffs. Marian Catholic is the No. 4 seed in a talented Bloom Sectional as they host T.F. South on Tuesday night. 

19. Fenwick (24-7, 12-3) (19) (3A) -- The up-and-down nature of Fenwick's season continued with a tight win over Taft. A No. 1 seed in the St. Ignatius Sectional, the Friars host their own regional and open the state playoffs on Tuesday. 

20. Hillcrest (21-8, 12-1) (25) (3A) -- The Hawks appear to be peaking at the right time with a high-quality win over Oak Forest to capture another South Suburban Blue title. Hillcrest is the No. 4 seed in the Thornridge Sectional as they open with Rich South on Tuesday.  

21. Orr (19-7, 7-2) (21) (2A) -- The three-time defending Class 2A champions opened their quest for four with two easy wins over Rowe-Clark and Raby. The Spartans head to the Marshall Sectional where they will face Perspectives-MSA on Wednesday. 

22. Hinsdale South (28-3, 11-1) (NR) (3A) -- The Hornets are back in the Power Rankings after knocking off York in the West Suburban Championship. The No. 2 seed in their own sectional, Hinsdale South plays Tuesday at Kenwood against either Nazareth or Noble Comer. 

23. Cary-Grove (28-3, 17-1) (24) -- Closing Fox Valley play with a win over Prairie Ridge, the Trojans won the conference with an impressive season. Cary-Grove is a No. 1 seed in the McHenry Sectional as they host a regional this week. The Trojans start against Larkin on Tuesday. 

24. Waubonsie Valley (27-4, 7-3) (NR) -- The Warriors have won five straight games entering the 4A playoffs. And that's without standout junior Ben Schweiger. The No. 3 seed in the Lockport Sectional opens the postseason against host West Aurora on Tuesday. 

25. Benet (22-9, 7-2) (NR) (3A) -- A notable win to close the regular season against St. Charles North has the Redwings back in the Power Rankings. Benet hasn't lost to an unranked team since Dec. 6 and a recent win over Notre Dame remains impressive. The No. 3 seed in the Hinsdale South Sectional, the Redwings host their own regional semifinal matchup on Tuesday. 

High School Lites Preview: Plenty of girls playoff highlights while boys regular season finishes

High School Lites Preview: Plenty of girls playoff highlights while boys regular season finishes

High School Lites has tons of boys and girls basketball highlights this week. The regular season concludes for boys basketball in Class 3A and 4A. For the rest of the state, the playoffs are in full swing.

We'll check in on the Class 1A and Class 2A girls basketball state semifinals from Redbird Arena while the Class 1A and 2A boys basketball regional finals will also be a focus.

High School Lites airs at 11 p.m. on Friday on NBC Sports Chicago with replays coming Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

BOYS BASKETBALL

St. Francis de Sales 1A Regional Championship, Leo vs. Grant Park, 7:00 p.m. -- We check on a Class 1A favorite in this one. Leo (18-14, 10-5) has won three straight games after being one of the Catholic League White's better teams this season. The Lions are a major contender in Class 1A as one of the No. 1 seeds in the Marquette Sectional. Grant Park (13-18, 7-5) is a No. 4 seed as they held off St. Francis de Sales for a road quarterfinal win. 

2A Regional Championship, Timothy Christian at St. Joseph, 7:00 p.m. -- An interesting clash for a regional title in Class 2A. Timothy Christian (24-5, 12-0) raced past Montini in the regional quarterfinals as they've won five straight games. The Metro Suburban Red champions are a deep and balanced team as they're the No. 1 seed in the Genoa-Kingston Sectional. St. Joseph (14-17, 7-8), the No. 4 seed, ran past Westmont in the quarterfinals to secure the home game here. Sophomore Kyle Thomas is a lot to handle on the inside as he'll be one to watch for the Chargers.

Christ The King 2A Regional Championship, Clark vs. Crane, 7:00 p.m. -- Clark (20-6, 8-1) advanced with a blowout win over Phoenix in the regional semifinals. The No. 2 seed Eagles won at Crane on Jan. 17 during conference season as these two teams battled before. Crane (22-5, 7-2) had to hold off No. 5 seed Marshall in the quarterfinals. The No. 3 seed is the only Class 2A team to beat Orr during the season as they try to get past their conference rival. 

2A Regional Championship, Longwood at Corliss, 7:00 p.m. -- Corliss (15-10, 5-4) made Peoria last season as they try to make another run as the No. 2 seed in the Carver Sectional. The Trojans were respectable in the Red South/Central this season and recently lost to Orr in the Public League Playoffs. Longwood (18-8, 8-1) won the Public League White-South with a strong season as they held off No. 5 seed Harlan in the regional semifinals. The No. 3 seed Panthers have been tested during the season with losses to Curie, Bogan and Oak Lawn. 

No. 25 Hillcrest at No. 20 Oak Forest, 6:30 p.m. -- The South Suburban Blue has one more regular season battle to monitor. Hillcrest (20-8, 11-1) is one of the most dangerous teams entering the Class 3A playoffs behind a loaded junior class that includes Jakobi Heady and Julius Rollins. Oak Forest (26-2, 12-0) is trying to win the conference with an unbeaten record behind seniors Jayson Kent and Juan Avila as well as super sophomore Robbie Avila. 

Benet at St. Charles North, 7:00 p.m. -- An interesting non-conference clash to close the regular season. Benet (21-9, 7-2) just fell out of the Preps Power Rankings but the Redwings have been impressive lately. Senior big man Colin Crothers is ton to handle on the interior. St. Charles North (21-7, 12-1) counters with senior big man Connor Linke (Bradley) and a talented backcourt that includes Luke Scheffers and Christian Czerniak. 

Sycamore at Plano, 7:00 p.m. -- The two best in the Interstate Eight meet for a final time here. Sycamore (21-8, 10-3) has won eight of their last nine games as they had a blowout win over Plano on Jan. 21. The Reapers have won four out of five with their only loss coming to Class 1A powerhouse Indian Creek. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Class 1A: Eastland vs. Shiloh Coop, 11:00 a.m. -- A rematch of last season's Class 1A state semifinals in this one. Eastland came out the winner last season in a 64-63 thriller. Eastland (32-3) ended up a second-place finisher in Class 1A after falling in the title game. Senior Erin Henze leads the Cougars at 20.1 points per game this season. Shiloh Coop (28-5) is riding an 18-game winning streak as they haven't lost in 2020. Junior Tayler Barry leads the Lady Titans in scoring at 18.6 points per game this season.

Class 1A: Aurora Christian vs. Lewistown, 1:00 p.m. -- Two 30-win teams clash in this one. Lewistown (32-1) has only lost to Class 2A semifinalist Pleasant Plains this season as they try to improve on last year's third-place finish. Senior Anna Heffren (20.0 ppg) and senior Sydney Schaeffer (16.1 ppg) form a high-scoring duro for the Lady Indians. Aurora Christian (30-4) is making its first state appearance. Junior Anna Griffin (17.6 ppg), sophomore Thaya Luse (13.4 ppg) and freshman Aspen Weeks (10.4 ppg) are all double-figure scorers for the Eagles.

Class 2A: Pleasant Plains vs. Riverdale, 5:30 p.m. -- Two teams making their first state appearance battle in this one. Pleasant Plains (26-3) started the season 2-2 but has only lost to O'Fallon since Nov. 23. A balanced team, the Lady Cardinals are led by junior guard Asya Smith (11.4 ppg). Riverdale (28-3) is led by senior Sidney Garrett (13.1 ppg) as she's the only double-figure scorer for the Rams. 

Class 2A: Marshall vs. Carterville, 7:15 p.m. -- One of the state's most storied girls programs faces another newcomer at state. Marshall (21-10) is making its fourth straight trip to state as the Commandos try for their 11th state title under legendary head coach Dorothy Gaters. Junior guard Jayonna Smith leads the Commandos at 15.0 points per game. Carterville (30-2) has four double-figure scorers in its lineup led by senior Jeniah Thompson (14.4 ppg). The Lady Lions are riding a 10-game winning streak entering this one. 

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Class 3A Hampshire Sectional Championship, Sycamore vs. Montini, 7:00 p.m. -- Two No. 1 seeds clash for a sectional title in Class 3A. Sycamore held off Burlington Central to advance earlier this week to advance. Spartans senior Kylie Feuerbach has been featured as a Wintrust Athlete of the Week earlier this season as the Iowa State commit is a major factor. Montini got past Boylan with a double-digit win in the sectional semifinals. The Broncos have been a consistent presence in the AP top 5 Class 3A poll this season. Montini hasn't lost to an Illinois opponent since Benet on Dec. 30.