High School: Benet

Week 5 prep preview capsules

September, 22, 2011
Here's a look at the fifth week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

No. 1 Maine South (4-0) at New Trier (3-1)

New Trier Maine South
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Maine South hasn’t lost in the Central Suburban South since 2000. New Trier has proven it’s a good team this season with three consecutive wins since losing its season opener to Schaumburg, but the question is if it’s a good enough team to dethrone Maine South. The Hawks haven’t allowed more than 12 points in a game this season and have scored 40 or more points in three of their wins. It’ll take a special game for the Trevians to defeat Maine South.
Maine South player to watch: Pat Barrett, a two-year starter, is one of the team’s quiet leaders and hardest workers.
New Trier player to watch: Quarterback Jack Nykaza has the Trevians’ offense running smoothly. Maine South’s defense will be another challenge for him.
Quote: Maine South coach David Inserra – “I like how we are progressing, but we still need more consistency from the receiving core. The O-line, with five juniors getting significant time, is doing very well. Paul Preston is as explosive as advertised, and Matt Alviti can only get better with the wide receivers improving. Defense is solid and will have a good match this week with New Trier. Specials are improving after a poor showing early.”
Prediction: Maine South 31, New Trier 14

No. 2 Glenbard West (4-0) at Oak Park (2-2)

Oak Park Glenbard West
When: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West has to be considered right with Maine South as the area’s best team. The Hilltoppers have dominated on both sides of the ball and their defense has been remarkable. They’ve allowed an average of six points a game this season. That isn’t likely to change this week. Oak Park has been an up-and-down team under first-year coach John Hoerster. After two consecutive wins, the Huskies lost 35-7 to York last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Kicker/punter Dan Cavazos has been the Hilltoppers’ unsung hero. All of his kickoffs this season have been touchbacks. His punt hang time hasn’t allowed a return yard. He has not missed an extra point or field goal.
Oak Park player to watch: Jakari Cammon rushed for 178 yards on 25 carries in last week’s game against York.
Quote: Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet - “We’re shaping up to be a solid team, great group of young men to coach.”
Prediction: Glenbard West 35, Oak Park 7

Sandburg (4-0) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (4-0)

Lincoln-Way EastSandburg
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East took care of its first conference obstacle last week with a 38-21 win over Homewood-Flossmoor. Now comes the Griffins’ second test with undefeated Sandburg. The Eagles have gotten by all of their opponents, but just barely. They’ve won three of their games by seven points or less. Their defense will have to step up to contain Lincoln-Way East.
Sandburg player to watch: Anthony Adams completed 10-of-14 passes, including the game-winner with 1:52 left, to defeat Lincoln-Way Central last week.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Griffins fullback Nick Colangelo rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown on nine carries in the second half last week.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 45, Sandburg 20

Brother Rice (3-1) at No. 4 Mount Carmel (4-0)

Mount CarmelBrother Rice
When:Friday at 7 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: A week after Brother Rice and St. Rita hooked up on the South Side, it’s now time for Brother Rice and Mount Carmel to do the same. The Caravan have been running away with their wins for most of the season. This should be a good test for them. Brother Rice stuck right with St. Rita before losing last week. Brother Rice has proven it’s a quality team, but it still needs to knock off one of the conference’s powers to be move up the ladder. Both these teams will want to keep the ball on ground.
Brother Rice player to watch: Running back Martez Walker was limited last week. He’ll look to make up for it against Mount Carmel.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Defensive lineman Vontrell Williams committed to Illinois last week.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 38, Brother Rice 27

No. 5 Joliet Catholic (4-0) at Benet (0-4)

BenetJoliet Catholic
When:Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic is one of seven teams in the state to score 200 or more points this season. The Hilltoppers are averaging 50 points a game. Benet hasn’t won a game, but its defense has been sharp. It hasn’t allowed more than 27 points. The problem is the offense hasn’t scored more than 14 points.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Running back Ty Isaac was one of five players to make ESPNU’s Class of 2013 watch list.
Benet player to watch: Jack Euritt had four receptions and a touchdown against Marist last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Benet 7

Gordon Tech (3-1) at No. 6 Loyola (4-0)

Loyola Gordon Tech
When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola crosses over into the Catholic League Red to host Gordon Tech this week. The Rams are coming off a 45-44 win over Hales. Loyola’s offense will be even more of a challenge for them. The Ramblers have been averaging a little over 40 points a game.
Gordon Tech player to watch: Quarterback Julian Russell threw for four touchdowns and rushed for two in last week’s win.
Loyola player to watch: Loyola’s unsung hero has been long snapper Dan Rafferty. He’s been accurate all season.
Prediction: Loyola 49, Gordon Tech 14

Providence (3-1) at No. 7 St. Rita (3-1)

St. Rita Brother Rice When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: St. Rita pulled out a narrow win over Brother Rice last week and will have another challenging game this week. The Mustangs’ defense has been their strength all season. Providence struggled in last week’s 32-6 loss against Loyola. The Celtics have a chance to redeem themselves against another top-10 team this week, but their offensive will have to be more consistent.
Providence player to watch: Running back Andy Hoffmeister scored Providence’s lone touchdown in last week’s loss to Loyola.
St. Rita player to watch: Charles Elmore was last week’s MVP on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: St. Rita 28, Providence 14

No. 8 Carmel(3-1) at Wayzata, MN (3-0)

Wayzata Carmel
When: Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Dubuque
The story: Carmel’s lone non-conference game this season is against Wayzata, a Minnesota team. Carmel has won three straight since losing to Joliet Catholic. Its running game has been among the best in the area, but its defense has been good, too. The Corsairs’ last three opponents scored a total of 30 points. Wayzata is undefeated on the season and has been in control of every game. No opponent has scored more than 21 points against them.
Carmel player to watch: Running back Mike Panico has been picking up big yards every time he touches the ball.
Wayzata player to watch: Eric Roti has rushed for a team-best five touchdowns this season.
Prediction: Carmel 35, Wayzata 31

Downers Grove North (1-3) at No. 9 Downers Grove South (4-0)

Downers Grove South Downers Grove North
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South’s offense and its star running back Josh Williams have been getting a lot of the headlines, but the Mustangs’ defense has been stellar, too. They’ve allowed seven points all season and have out-scored their opponents 161-7. Despite their records, this still has a chance to be a good one. Downers Grove South squeaked out a 17-14 win over North last year. Despite having three losses, the Trojans have been in every game this season.
Downers Grove North player to watch: Quarterback Riley McGinnis has been airing it out for the Trojans.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Senior linebacker Korey Higgins is one of the players making a difference on defense.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 41, Downers Grove North 27

West Aurora (2-2) at No. 11 Glenbard North (4-0)

Glenbard North West Aurora
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard North has plenty of tough games coming up, but it’s the team to beat in the DuPage Valley for now. The Rams have outscored their opponents 179-20 through four games. West Aurora has lost its last two contests. The Blackhawks scored a total of 20 points in their losses.
West Aurora player to watch: Sophomore quarterback Quintez Jones looks better each week.
Glenbard North player to watch: Justin Jackson has given Glenbard North a quality backup running back.
Prediction: Glenbard North 31, West Aurora 7

Crystal Lake Central (3-1) at No. 11 Prairie Ridge (4-0)

Prairie Ridge Crystal Lake Central
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge has been as impressive as anyone in the state. It’s out-scored its opponents 195-14. This week begins the tougher part of the Wolves’ schedule. Crystal Lake Central marks the first winning team they’ve faced this season. Their previous opponents have a combined record of 1-15. Crystal Lake Central has a chance to prove itself in this game. The Tigers haven’t allowed more than nine points to an opponent, and their only loss was a 9-0 one to Crystal Lake South.
Crystal Lake Central player to watch: Running back Gage Harrah is a threat whenever he touches the ball.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Running back Jordan Getzelman can run with the ball or catch it out of the backfield.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 24, Crystal Lake Central 14

No. 12 Lake Zurich (3-1) at Mundelein (0-4)

Mundelein Lake Zurich
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lake Zurich should be able to cruise for one more week before the Bears’ schedule becomes difficult. They’ve won their last two games by a combined score of 61-14 after losing to Cary-Grove. Mundelein has scored just seven points over the last three weeks.
Lake Zurich player to watch: John Orlando had a 54-yard touchdown reception in last week’s win.
Mundelein player to watch: Drew Malcolm caught a touchdown pass against Libertyville last week.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 35, Mundelein 7

No. 13 Bolingbrook (4-0) at No. 14 Homewood-Flossmoor (3-1)

Homewood-Flossmoor Bolingbrook
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This has the makings of the game of the week. Bolingbrook is undefeated, but it still needs to prove itself in the conference. Homewood-Flossmoor wants to rebound from last week’s tough loss to Lincoln-Way East, and there would be no better way of doing that than beating Bolingbrook. Both teams’ numbers are similar. Bolingbrook has outscored its opponents 188-47. Homewood-Flossmoor has outscored its opponents 186-51.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Aaron Bailey has been as good as any quarterback in the area. This will be another chance to prove himself.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Sheldon Jones does a little bit of everything for the Vikings’ offense. He had two touchdowns last week.
Prediction: Homewood-Flossmoor 35, Bolingbrook 28

No. 15 Geneva (4-0) at St. Charles North (0-4)

St. Charles North Geneva
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Geneva can’t overlook St. Charles North, but it can start peaking at next week’s game against Batavia. Both teams face winless teams this week and should be undefeated going into next week. St. Charles North was defeated soundly by Neuqua Valley and Streamwood, two quality teams, the past two weeks.
Geneva player to watch: Offensive lineman Bobby Byker has worked his way up the depth chart the last few seasons.
St. Charles North player to watch: Kicker Michael Schroeder has accounted for all of the team’s 12 points on field goals the last two games.
Quote: Geneva coach Rob Wicinski – “There are always parts of the game to improve on ... but, we have few complaints here at Geneva and the team seems to be making normal progress as past Viking teams have done.”
Prediction: Geneva 35, St. Charles North 10

No. 16 Crete-Monee (4-0) at Kankakee (0-4)

Kankakee Crete-Monee
When: Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee has put itself in the driver’s seat in the Southland Conference. The Warriors have been playing at a different level than everybody else. They defeated Glenbard South 63-14 last week. Kankakee has had a rough season so far, losing all four games by 16 or more points.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Wide receiver Lance Lenior has been the Warriors’ unsung hero. He has a team-high 25 receptions and is the team’s punt returner.
Kankakee player to watch: Chris Jackson can make an impact on the offensive and defensive line.
Quote: Crete-Monee coach Jerry Verde – “We are pleased with where we are after four weeks, but we still need to improve each week leading up to week 10.”
Prediction: Crete-Monee 49, Kankakee 7

No. 17 Crystal Lake South (4-0) at McHenry (2-2)

McHenry Crystal Lake South
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Crystal Lake South’s defense has continued to lead the way. The Gators allowed a season-high 12 points in a win over Huntley last week. They should be able to contain McHenry before next week’s test against Prairie Ridge. McHenry already has more wins than it did last season. The Warriors haven’t been blowout this season and will look to continue to play solid football against Crystal Lake South.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Defensive end Josh Beveridge leads the Gators in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss.
McHenry player to watch: Quarterback Robert Tonyan has put up some impressive numbers this season.
Quote: Crystal Lake South coach Chuck Ahsmann – “We are very happy with where we are at. We had a tough schedule to start our season. We feel our toughest games are yet to come, so we will need to continue to prepare well.”
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 34, Huntley 14

No. 18 Cary-Grove (3-1) at Jacobs (4-0)

Jacobs Cary-Grove
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: This is another game that will help decide the Fox Valley. Jacobs is undefeated at home, but it will still be the underdog against Cary-Grove. Jacobs has won all its games this season by 15 points or more. Cary-Grove bounced back from its narrow loss to Crystal Lake South with a win last week over Hampshire. The Trojans’ defense should be tested in this one.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Quinn Baker rushed for four touchdowns, including a 90-yarder, in last week’s win.
Jacobs player to watch: Quarterback Jason Judson threw two touchdowns and ran for one in last week’s win.
Prediction: Cary-Grove 21, Jacobs 17

Tinley Park (4-0) at No. 19 Lemont (4-0)

Lemont Tinley Park
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont’s defense is tied for first in the state in points allowed. The Indians have given up just six points this year. They have shut out three opponents and allowed six points against Richards. Tinley Park’s game is its offense. The Titans have scored 40 points in all their games and gone over 50 twice. One of these trends will have to change this week.
Tinley Park player to watch: Running back Preston Thompson has been helping the Titans put up a lot of points this season.
Lemont player to watch: Defensive lineman John Tomala has been one of the bright spots on the defensive line.
Quote: Lemont coach Erich Michaelsen – “We are a work in progress. We have many areas to improve on.”

St. Charles East (0-4) at Batavia (4-0)

Batavia St. Charles East
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia has been one of the season’s bigger surprises. The Bulldogs have been overwhelming on both sides of the ball, including in quality wins over Bartlett and Marmion. They haven’t allowed a first-half touchdown this year. St. Charles East has faced some good teams, but just hasn’t been able to stop them offensively for a whole game.
St. Charles East player to watch: Carter Reading rushed for 178 yards last week.
Batavia players to watch: Defensive tackles Mackenzie Brown and Austin Lewis have been providing pressure all season.
Quote: Batavia coach Dennis Piron – “I’m very pleased with how the team has come together and the relationships developing between the classes and the players. We had a great offseason and feel that has spilled over into our year. The challenge now is to improve as much in season.”
Prediction: Batavia 31, St. Charles East 13

Breaking down the field for Mr. Basketball

March, 24, 2011

The ballots are in for Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, and it’s only a matter of time before the winner is announced.

Here’s a look at the top candidates for this year’s prize:

Max Bielfeldt, Peoria Notre Dame, Senior, Forward

Bielfeldt, a 6-8 power forward, averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Irish. Notre Dame went 28-0 and was nationally ranked before losing in the sectional semifinals. Bielfeldt was the Peoria area’s best player this season. He isn’t as highly touted as the other candidates, but he could steal a number of downstate votes. He is being recruited by Illinois and Michigan.

“Bielfeldt was such a huge mismatch for opponents at the high school level due to his combination of size, strength, craftiness and ability to step out and knock down a shot when he had to,” City/Suburban Hoops Report recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen said. “What sticks out is his consistent high level of production. He is such a presence and force, which enabled his teammates to thrive with so much attention paid to him every trip down the floor.”

Odds of winning: 15-1

Wayne Blackshear, Morgan Park, Senior, Guard

Blackshear, a 6-6 shooting guard, averaged 32 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks for the Mustangs this season. He had 56 points, 21 rebounds, eight blocks and seven steals in a win over Ellison. He played through a knee injury late in the year and kept up his production. Morgan Park did have a disappointing season as it was unable to defend it Public League title and didn’t advance to state. Blackshear was named the Chicago Sun-Times’ Player of the Year. He’s a two-time ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He’s ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game. He is a Louisville recruit.

“Wayne is the best player in the state of Illinois regardless of class,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “He’s a leader. He gets his team involved. It’s not about Wayne getting 40 points. It’s not about Wayne getting 20 rebounds. He’s about winning.”

Odds of winning: 3-1

Ryan Boatright, East Aurora, Senior, Guard

Boatright, a 5-11 point guard, averaged 32 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals this season for the Tomcats. His team had its ups and downs, but won 24 games, defeated rival West Aurora for the first time in four seasons, gave Benet its only loss and reached the sectional title game. Boatright scored 63 points against Proviso West and had 55 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals against St. Charles East. He was the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year and is a two-time all-area selection. He is ranked No. 76 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He’ll play at Connecticut next season.

“We’ve kind of compared him a little bit to Isiah Thomas,” East Aurora coach Wendell Jefferies said. “What he is really is a shorter Michael Jordan with his mentality and competitiveness. He can do it all on the court.”

Odds of winning: 5-1

Anthony Davis, Perspectives, Senior, forward

Davis, a 6-10 forward, averaged 32 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks. He had one game of 30 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks. His team had a tough season, winning six games. On a better team, he would have likely swept all the year’s awards. He’s was an ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He was chosen to be in the McDonald’s All-American game. He is ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He’s a Kentucky recruit.

“Davis came on the scene last spring and has never looked back,” ESPN recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said. “From an unknown to being considered for the top spot in the class and signing with Kentucky, Davis has off-the-charts’ upside and is the toughest match up in high school basketball because of his size, length and guard skills.”

Odds of winnings: 50-1

Jabari Parker, Simeon, Sophomore, Forward

No underclassman has ever won Mr. Basketball, but Parker isn’t your ordinary underclassman. Parker, a 6-7 forward, averaged 15 points, six rebounds and two assists while leading Simeon to its second consecutive state title. He was an ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He is ranked the No. 2 player in the Class of 2013 by ESPN Recruiting and is being recruited by nearly top college program.

[+] EnlargeChason Randle
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comChasson Randle is among the front-runners for Illinois' Mr. Basketball award.
“When all is said and done, he could be a dominant player like LeBron or Amare Stoudemire,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “He has the potential to be one of those dominant individual players.”

Odd of winning: 75-1.

Chasson Randle, Rock Island, Senior, Guard

Randle, a 6-2 point guard, averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists while leading the Rocks to the Class 3A state championship. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. He is ranked No. 60 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He will play at Stanford next season.

“Chasson Randle has done more for the state of Illinois high school basketball in the past year than any candidate,” Illinois Wolves club coach Mike Mullins said. “He has represented the USA, winning gold in the under-17 world championships. He recently was the only top candidate to lead his team to a state title in Peoria. All this while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA and No. 1 class ranking. Chasson represents the ideal of Illinois high school basketball and is Mr. Basketball.”

Odds of winning: 2-1

David Sobolewski, Benet, Senior, Guard

Sobolewski, a 6-1 point guard, averaged 15.2 points, 6.1 assists, 3.8 rebound and 2.7 steals while leading Benet to a memorable season. The Redwings won their first 29 games, defeated top-ranked Simeon and was ranked No. 1 in the area and top 10 in the country at one point. Benet was upset in the sectional semifinals by East Aurora. Sobolewski’s individual stock could have benefitted from making a trip downstate. He’s a two-time ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He’ll play at Northwestern next season.

“Dave was outstanding at handling pressure, scoring, and creating shots for his teammates,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “He consistently made others better. His leadership and decision making were important factors in our success.”

Odds of winning: 40-1

Boatright, East Aurora upset No. 1 Benet

March, 9, 2011

AURORA, Ill. – Every time East Aurora’s Ryan Boatright glanced up at the scoreboard during the first four-plus minutes of the fourth quarter Tuesday, Benet took a step closer.

[+] EnlargeRyan Boatright
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.com Connecticut-bound Ryan Boatright led East Aurora with 29 points, six rebounds and six assists.

What once was a 17-point second-half lead for East Aurora dwindled all the way down to one. East Aurora scored its 49th point with 59 seconds left in the third quarter and didn't add another point for the first four-plus minutes of the final quarter.

Boatright realized something needed to change quick or Benet was going to win on his home floor in the East Aurora sectional semifinals.

Boatright got the ball, dribbled hard to his right, bypassed his defender, burst into the lane, elevated and laid the ball into the basket with 3:23 left. The Tomcats were alive again and would stay that way.

No. 18 East Aurora handed Benet, the No. 1 team in the state and No. 7 team in the country, its first loss of the season, winning 60-52 before a standing-room-only crowd of 4,000-plus fans.

“I knew it was in my hands to make a play no matter if I needed to score or hit an open teammate for him to score,” Boatright said. “We were stuck on 49 for the longest, so I needed to do something. If they would have taken the lead, that would have broken us.

“We want to go downstate. We know our team is full of seniors. We don’t want our game or our season or our careers to end on our court in front of our fans.”

East Aurora coach Wendell Jefferies knew his star player would rise to the occasion. Nothing needed to be said.

“I’m smart enough to know when the game is on the line to call his number,” Jefferies said, whose birthday is on Wednesday. “I have a whole list of plays for him.”

Benet had no answer for Boatright, a Connecticut recruit. He finished with a game-high 29 points, six rebounds and six assists.

[+] EnlargeSobolewski
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comBenet's David Sobolewski scored 10 of his team-high 13 points in the first half.

“Boatright is an incredible player,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “My hat’s off to him. He’s a phenomenal player. He’s going to have a great career at UConn. No doubt about that.”

It was a memorable season for the Redwings. They won the Proviso West holiday tournament, knocked off previously-No. 1 Simeon, rose in the national rankings and gone undefeated through 29 games. Yet, their remarkable season was no consolation for Tuesday’s disappointment.

“Unfortunately, this is part of March,” Heidkamp said. “As you know, our sectional is as good as any sectional in the state. If you’re going to beat a team like East Aurora on their home floor, you better play well. Because if you don’t, you’re going to get beat. I think it speaks for itself.”

Benet senior guard David Sobolewski, a Northwestern recruit, was his team’s offensive force throughout the first half, but he wore down. He scored 10 of his team-high 13 points in the first half.

Frank Kaminsky (12 points, eight rebounds), Pat Boyle (11 points) and Matt Parisi (11 points) contributed for Benet.

Along with Boatright, East Aurora senior John Williams was a key to the Tomcats building a 14-point halftime lead. Williams sank three 3-pointers in the second quarter and finished with 16 points. No other East Aurora player scored more than four points.

Hoops playoffs: 5 things to watch

March, 8, 2011
Here are five things to watch for in Tuesday’s boys basketball playoffs:

[+] EnlargeRyan Boatright
Scott Powers for ESPN.comEast Aurora's Ryan Boatright, a Connecticut recruit, will match up against another elite guard, Benet's David Sobolewski.
1. All-state guards square off: Two of the state’s best guards in Benet’s David Sobolewski, a Northwestern recruit, and East Aurora’ Ryan Boatright, a Connecticut recruit, will meet up in the East Aurora sectional semifinals. Benet is undefeated and the No. 1 team in the state. East Aurora has been up and down, but Boatright can go off for 40-plus points on any night. A year ago, Benet defeated East Aurora 72-60 in the same round. Sobolewski had 21 points in that game, and Boatright finished with 18.

2. Oh, the talent: The entire court will consist of nearly all Division I-caliber players at times during the De La Salle-Whitney Young sectional semifinal at York. De La Salle is led by seniors Mike Shaw, an Illinois recruit, and Dre Henley, who is one of the area’s top unsigned players, and sophomore stars Alex Foster and Jaylon Tate. Whitney Young has even more Division I talent. Sam Thompson is headed to Ohio State. Tommy Hamilton Jr. is one of the nation’s top sophomores. Jahlil Okafor and Paul White are two of the country’s premier freshmen. Gabriel Snider recently committed to UIC, and he comes off the bench.

3. South Side showdown: Tuesday’s schedule is packed with potentially great games, and Mount Carmel vs. Simeon in the Argo sectional semifinals is one of them. Illinois recruit Tracy Abrams leads the Caravan, and Jabari Parker, one of the nation’s top sophomores, heads up Simeon.

4. Unsigned stars: Niles North’s Abdel Nader and Notre Dame’s Quinton Chievous are two of the state’s top unsigned players, and they will face each other in the New Trier sectional semifinals. Notre Dame defeated Niles North 61-50 in the Wheeling holiday tournament earlier this season. Chievous had 17 points and 17 rebounds, and Nader finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

5. Downstate affair: If there’s a game to watch outside of the Chicago area on Tuesday, it’s Peoria Central vs. Peoria Notre Dame in a sectional semifinal. Peoria Notre Dame is undefeated and is among the favorites to win the Class 3A title. Peoria Central is playing some of its best basketball and has the talent to compete with Notre Dame. The winner will likely advance to the state tournament.

Simeon, Benet rank in RISE's top 20

March, 2, 2011

Simeon joined Benet as a top-20 nationally-ranked boys basketball team on Tuesday.

Simeon (23-2) moved up one stop to No. 20 in ESPN RISE’S POWERADE FAB 50 in its latest rankings. Benet (27-0) remained at No. 7. Both teams open the Class 4A state playoffs this week.

Peoria Notre Dame (26-0) also advanced one spot to No. 24 in the FAB 50. Illinois, California and Texas were the only states with three teams in the top 25.

Benet surges to No. 7 in FAB 50 ranking

February, 22, 2011
Benet shot up 17 spots to No. 7 in ESPN RISE’s POWERADE FAB 50 in this week’s national high school boys basketball rankings.

The Redwings’ jump came after defeating Simeon 58-54 before a packed house at UIC on Saturday. Benet improved to 26-0 with the win.

"It is a real credit to our players, and it’s very exciting for the school,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said of the ranking. “Our team remains very level-headed in its approach to the season. We understand that we have to play well each and every game. The maturity of our players has been the most important reason for our success. It's a nice honor to be ranked so highly, but the most important part of the season is just beginning."

Falling to Benet coupled with another loss to Whitney Young last week knocked Simeon down in the FAB 50. The Wolverines (23-2) dropped to No. 21 after being No. 4 last week.

Benet and Simeon could meet again in the state semifinals of the Class 4A playoffs in Peoria.

Peoria Notre continued to be the only other Illinois team in the rankings. The Irish (24-2) jumped five spots to No. 25.