High School: St. Charles North

Previewing the boys hoops brackets

February, 25, 2012
2/25/12
6:45
PM CT

The Class 3A and 4A boys basketball playoffs begin on Monday. Here’s a glance at the top games and players to see this week.

Five regional semifinals to see

1. St. Charles East vs. St. Charles North at St. Charles North on Wednesday

2. Marist vs. Brother Rice at Marist on Tuesday

3. Stevenson vs. Prospect at Stevenson on Wednesday

4. Benet vs. Bolingbrook at Metea Valley on Wednesday

5. Neuqua Valley vs. Naperville Central at Neuqua Valley on Wednesday

Five potential regional championships to see on Friday
1. St. Rita vs. Whitney Young at Whitney Young

2. Bogan vs. De La Salle at Mount Carmel

3. Farragut vs. St. Joseph at Nazareth

4. Crane vs. Riverside-Brookfield at Riverside-Brookfield

5. Minooka vs. Bloom at Joliet Central

6. Crete-Monee vs. Joliet West at Thornton

7. West Aurora vs. Naperville North at Oswego

8. Harlan vs. Morgan Park at Rich Central

9. Evanston vs. Notre Dame at Notre Dame

10. Schaumburg vs. Glenbard West at Glenbard West

Ten to players to see in regional play (alphabetical order)

There will likely be plenty of time to see Simeon’s Jabari Parker and some of the other stars in the area, but these players and teams may or may not be around come next week.

1. David Cohn, junior, York: It hasn’t been a great year for high-scoring numbers, but Cohn has been one of the exceptions. He can drop 30-plus points on any night. He had 47 points just recently. York is a No. 4 seed in the Lake Park regional.

[+] EnlargeConner
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comWillie Conner and Crane could be a tough out in the Riverside-Brookfield regional.

2. Willie Conner, senior, Crane: Conner improved his game this season and made himself a mid-major college prospect. Crane has been up and down this season, but Conner has been consistent. Crane is a No. 5 seed in the Riverside-Brookfield regional.

3. Tony Hicks, senior, St. Rita: Hicks, a Penn recruit, has been as good as any senior in the state. He’s been averaging 25 points a game. St. Rita is a No. 4 seed in the Whitney Young regional.

4. Mike LaTulip, senior, Prospect: LaTulip is headed to Illinois next year as a preferred walk-on. He’s been one of the area’s top shooters and scorers this year. Prospect is a No. 9 seed in the Stevenson regional.

5. Jahlil Okafor, sophomore, Young: Okafor is the state’s top sophomore and among the nation’s top players in the Class of 2014. The state hasn’t seen a big man as skilled as Okafor since possibly Eddy Curry. Whitney Young is a No. 5 seed in the Whitney Young regional.

6. Sean O’Mara, sophomore, Benet: O’Mara, a 6-9 center, has emerged as one of the state’s top young prospects. He’s a skilled big man and is following in the footsteps of former Benet center Frank Kaminsky. Benet is a No. 6 seed in the Metea Valley regional.

7. Michael Orris, senior, Crete-Monee: Orris, a 6-3 point guard, is headed to Illinois next season. He’s expected to help backup Tracy Abrams there. Crete-Monee is a No. 4 seed in the Thornton regional.

8. Juwan Starks, senior, West Aurora: Starks is on the verge of West Aurora’s career-scoring record of 1,613 points, which is owned by Billy Taylor (1987-1991). Starks is 60 points shy of matching Taylor. West Aurora is a No. 4 seed in the Oswego regional.

9. Tyler Ulis, sophomore, Marian Catholic: Ulis, a 5-8 point guard, is a scoring machine. He put up 38 points in a loss to St. Viator last month. Marian Catholic is a No. 7 seed and could face Andrew in the Andrew regional championship.

10. Milik Yarbrough, sophomore, Zion-Benton: Yarbrough could eventually be one of the nation’s top players in the Class of 2014. He’s a multi-skilled 6-6 guard/forward. Zion-Benton is a No. 16 seed in the Zion-Benton regional.


Conner helps Crane start season with win

December, 3, 2011
12/03/11
8:23
PM CT

CHICAGO -- Crane senior Willie Conner thought he was committed to basketball and then he met his new coach Chris Head.

In less a month, Head has altered what Conner once thought dedication was.

“We’re practicing a lot of and practicing a lot harder this year,” Conner said.

[+] EnlargeCrane-St. Charles
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comCrane opened it's season with an impressive win over St. Charles North on Saturday.

That’s putting it mildly.

Crane has been practicing nearly six hours a day since Head took over. The Cougars’ first practice each day begins at 5:30 a.m. and lasts around two hours. They practice again for about 30 minutes at lunch. Finally, they end their day with a three-plus hour practice that goes until 6 p.m.

“You got to be committed,” Conner said. “Everyone has to be committed. You have to buy in. Once you buy in, the sky’s the limit for us. We’ve got the potential to win.”

No. 12 Crane began showing that potential in its season opener Saturday with a 52-45 win over St. Charles North in the CPS-Suburban Basketball Showdown at UIC.

“Our goal today was to play hard,” Head said. “Win or lose, if the effort is there, we can build from that with this being the first game. They gave me a little more than I expected.”

Head knows he’s been asking a lot, too. His reasons for having his new team practice so much have been multifold.

“It’s hard for me to try and change the culture over night,” Head said. “It’s about responsibility. Now you’re asking them to go home and be in bed at 8 o’clock and all these things. It’s different for them.

“The actual purpose of the morning practices is not for basketball. The actual purpose it to get them at school on time. Also if their time is occupied in positive activities, they can’t get in trouble out there.”

Conner admitted it hasn’t been easy, especially waking up so early, but he and his teammates have accepted their new coach and his philosophies because they believe he can lead them to a state championship.

Conner followed Head’s direction Saturday. Conner scored a game-high 28 points. During Crane’s 12-4 run in the final 3:27, Conner scored eight points.

“You got to be aggressive and stay aggressive,” Conner said. “Never let up. I had to do that. He pulled me to the side and said, ‘You got to close the game out. You got to finish.’ Best players make the best plays.”

St. Charles North’s two best players, Quinten Payne and Kyle Nelson were on the bench in the final minutes after fouling out. Nelson, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds, fouled out with 1:02 remaining. Payne, who had 12 points and six rebounds, picked up his fifth foul with 3:13 left.

Crane was also without three starters – Markee Williams (eligibility), Kaylen Shane (injury) and Kendel Sidney (injury).

“Now people can see what we’ll be like when we have everyone back,” Conner said. “We’ll be a real dangerous team.”


Week 8 prep football preview capsules

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
2:40
AM CT
Here's a look at the eighth week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

No. 1 Maine South (7-0) at Waukegan (3-4)

Waukegan Maine South
When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Maine South is on the verge of another unbeaten regular season. The Hawks should be fine this week, but could be tested against Glenbrook South next week. Waukegan has lost its last two games, including a 56-14 loss to Glenbrook South last week.
Maine South player to watch: Danny Allegretti had an interception against Evanston last week.
Waukegan player to watch: Maurice Childs provides the running threat for the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Maine South 49, Waukegan 14

York (5-2) at No. 2 Glenbard West (7-0)

Glenbard West York
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West faces its second quality team in as many weeks. The Hilltoppers defeated Addison Trail 14-0 last week. York has lost it two games this season by a combined three points. Its 27-point total in last week’s loss was its lowest of the season. Glenbard West hasn’t allowed more than 14 points in a game this season.
York player to watch: Quarterback Joe Lucca threw 225 yards and ran for 75 yards against Lyons last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Joe Zito is one of the Hilltoppers’ many reliable running backs.
Prediction: Glenbard West 28, York 14

Joliet Central (0-7) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (7-0)

Lincoln-Way East Joliet Central
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East will likely roll in its last two regular-season games. The Griffins’ next two opponents have combined for two wins this year. Joliet Central has been out-scored 291-20 through seven weeks.
Joliet Central player to watch: Quarterback Carlos Curry will look to get his offense going this week.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Quarterback Blake Winkler is hearing from Ivy League and FCS schools.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 49, Joliet Central 7

No. 4 Loyola (7-0) at Brother Rice (5-2)

Brother Rice Loyola Academy
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola finishes out its regular season with two tough games with Brother Rice and St. Rita. The Ramblers will certainly earn their Catholic League Blue title if they win out. Brother Rice has been on the wrong end of two tights games against Mount Carmel and St. Rita. The Crusaders are still one of the area’s top teams and should give Loyola a game.
Loyola player to watch: Michael Paloian had two sacks and recovered a fumble against Fenwick last week.
Brother Rice player to watch: Richard Mayer has been a nice complimentary back to Brother Rice’s two star running backs.
Prediction: Loyola 24, Brother Rice 17

No. 6 Mount Carmel (6-1) at No. 5 St. Rita (6-1)

St. Rita Mount Carmel
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: The Mount Carmel-St. Rita rivalry has one way in recent years. St. Rita has won the last three meetings, including 54-18 win in 2009 and last year’s 35-14 victory. The Mustangs’ offense doesn’t look as potent this season. They scored a total of 40 points in their two other Catholic League Blue games. Mount Carmel’s offense has put up numbers, but was held to seven points against Loyola. If St. Rita wins, Mount Carmel will fall out of the conference title race.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Quarterback Don Butkus threw for three touchdowns and ran for one in last week’s win over St. Laurence.
St. Rita player to watch: Wide receiver Kenny Golladay scored the game-winning touchdown against Bishop McNamara last week.
Prediction: St. Rita 21, Mount Carmel 20

Hinsdale South (4-3) at No. 7 Downers Grove South (7-0)

Downers Grove SouthHinsdale South When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: For Downers Grove South to win another West Suburban Gold title, it will have to go through two quality opponents in the following weeks. Hinsdale South has one conference loss. It has been up and down for the Hornets all season. They haven’t won or lost two games in a row. They did win last week.
Hinsdale South player to watch: Safety Bryan Taheri forced one of five turnovers last week.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Sophomore defensive back DeAndre Washington had an interception last week.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 35, Hinsdale South 20

McHenry (3-4) at No. 8 Prairie Ridge (7-0

Prairie Ridge Prairie Ridge
When:Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Prairie Ridge was tested early against Jacobs last week and overcame a 14-0 deficit to win 35-14. It was the Wolves’ smallest margin of victory this season. Cary-Grove could still present a challenge for them during the last week of the season, but Prairie Ridge should have no trouble this week. McHenry has allowed 40-plus points against all of the conference’s top-tier teams.
McHenry player to watch: Quarterback Robert Tonyan can be a difference-maker.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Linebacker Collin Corcoran had two sacks last week.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 49, McHenry 7

No. 9 Bolingbrook (6-1) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-6)

Lincoln-Way Central Bolingbrook
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Bolingbrook will likely have to settle for second place in the Southwest Suburban Blue. The Raiders bounced back from their loss to Lincoln-Way East with a 27-3 win over Sandburg last week. Their defense is among the area’s best. Lincoln-Way Central has lost its last five games.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Linebacker Anthony Morrison will be in the running for ESPNChicago.com Defensive Player of the Year. He had 14 tackles last week.
Lincoln-Way Central player to watch: Brett Ditchman scored his team’s lone touchdown against Lincoln-Way East last week.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 42, Lincoln-Way Central 7

Rich South (3-4) at No. 11 Crete-Monee (7-0)

Crete-MoneeRich SouthWhen:Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee had its closest game of the season last week, beating Rich Central 34-20. The Warriors will hope to put away Rich South earlier this week. Rich South has four losses, but only one in conference and is in second place in the Southland.
Rich South player to watch: Running back DeAndre Washington ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Rich East last week.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Michigan recruit Anthony Standifer is one of the area’s premier defensive backs.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 42, Rich South 17

Marist (5-2) at No. 11 Carmel (5-2)

Carmel Marist
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: There’s a four-way tie for the East Suburban Catholic lead. Either Carmel or Marist won’t be involved in that race any longer after Friday. Carmel won 20-16 at Marist last season. Carmel’s offense is tough to stop, but Marist has proven it can score points this season, too. This could be another close one. Marist closes out its regular season with Joliet Catholic.
Marist player to watch: Tom O’Neil kicked a game-winning 38-yard field goal against St. Patrick last week.
Carmel player to watch: Running back Jordan Kos is coming off a five-touchdown performance.
Prediction: Carmel 38, Marist 28

No. 12 Lemont (7-0) at T.F. North (5-2)

TF NorthLemont

When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont will be favored the next two weeks, but it could be tested against T.F. North and Oak Lawn. Both opponents are 5-2 right now. The challenge against Lemont is trying to score on its defense. The Indiana have allowed 32 points in total this year, and 20 of those came in one game. T.F. North has scored 50-plus points twice this season.
Lemont player to watch: Christos Giatras rushed for 106 yards on five carries in last week’s win over Hillcrest.
T.F. North player to watch: Anyone on T.F. North’s kickoff team. The Meteors recovered three onside kicks last week.
Prediction: Lemont 42, T.F. North 10

No. 13 Batavia (7-0) at St. Charles North (2-5)

St. Charles North Batavia
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia wasn’t ranked in the preseason, but has been one of the area’s most dominant teams. The Bulldogs have gotten it done on offense and defense. They’ve only allowed two opponents more than 13 points this season, and they’ve scored 35 or more points in every game. That trend should continue against St. Charles North. The North Stars dropped their first five games and have won their last two.
Batavia player to watch: Tight end Evan Zeddies had a team-high three catches and a touchdown in last week’s win.
St. Charles North player to watch: George Edlund ran for 172 yards in last week’s win over Larkin.
Prediction: Batavia 49, St. Charles North 13

No. 14 Nazareth (6-1) at Riverside-Brookfield (2-5)

Riverside-BrookfieldNazareth

When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Nazareth takes a step out of the East Suburban Catholic race for a week and plays Riverside-Brookfield in a non-conference game. Nazareth is on a five-game winning streak, and its offense has especially been rolling. Riverside-Brookfield defeated Elmwood Park 28-0 last week for its second win. The Bulldogs lost to No. 12 Lemont 48-0 earlier in the season.
Nazareth player to watch: Kalium Ewing returned two interceptions for touchdowns in last week’s win.
Riverside-Brookfield player to watch: Quarterback Dylan Beketic threw for three touchdowns and ran for one against Elmwood Park last week.
Prediction: Nazareth 45, Riverside-Brookfield 10

No. 15 Joliet Catholic (6-1) at St. Patrick (3-4)

St. Patrick Joliet Catholic
When:Friday at 8 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic bounced back from its loss to Nazareth with a 64-13 win over Marian Catholic last week. The Hilltoppers’ offense could have another field day against St. Patrick. The Shamrocks have allowed 30-plus points in their last four games. St. Patrick is also on a four-game losing streak after starting out 3-0.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Defensive end Josh Falk recovered a fumble and blocked a punt against Marian Catholic.
St. Patrick player to watch: Quarterback Ryan Tentler is a threat to pass or run the ball.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 49, St. Patrick 20

No. 16 Geneva (6-1) at South Elgin (3-4)

South ElginGeneva

When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Geneva responded after its loss to Batavia with a 42-0 win over Streamwood last week. The Vikings’ offense could have another productive day against South Elgin. The Storm have had a rocky season after finishing 7-4 in 2010. South Elgin’s defense recently struggled against Bartlett and Neuqua Valley in losses.
Geneva player to watch: Running back Bobby Hess scored twice in last week’s win over Streamwood.
South Elgin player to watch: Adolfo Pacheco rushed for 39- and 85-yard touchdowns and caught a 40-yard touchdown pass against East Aurora last week.
Prediction: Geneva 45, South Elgin 20

No. 17 Antioch (6-0) at Grant (5-2)

Grant Antioch
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: This game will decide the North Suburban Prairie championship. Antioch is undefeated in conference, and Grant has one loss. Antioch pulled out some close wins early on, but has been dominant as of late. The Sequoits have won their last three games by 16 points or more. Grant’s lone conference loss came against Lakes. The Bulldogs have won their last three games and scored 40-plus points in three of them.
Antioch player to watch: Anthony Formella is 5-9 and 132 pounds, but he can make big plays at wide receiver.
Grant player to watch: Kyle Whitman rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns against North Chicago last week.
Prediction: Antioch 38, Grant 21

Glenbard North (5-2) at No. 18 Wheaton North (6-1)

Wheaton North Glenbard North
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton North holds a one-game lead in the DuPage Valley, but it faces back-to-back tough games with Glenbard North and Wheaton Warrenville South. Wheaton North’s offense was limited in last week’s 14-7 win over Naperville Central. Glenbard North has lost its last two games. The Panthers only scored a total of 13 points in those losses. Their defense is still among the area’s best.
Glenbard North player to watch: Running back Phil Jackson is Glenbard North’s premier offensive player.
Wheaton North player to watch: Wide receiver Johnny Daniels had a 46-yard touchdown catch last week. He’s among the area’s top receivers.
Prediction: Wheaton North 17, Glenbard North 14

No. 19 Montini (5-2) at Walther Lutheran (2-5)

Walther Lutheran Montini
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Montini is becoming the team it was expected to be in the preseason. With quarterback John Rhoden’s return from injury, the Broncos’ offense is clicking. Rhode threw eight touchdowns in last week’s win over St. Edward. Walther Lutheran allowed 63 points to Byron earlier this season and has given up 40-plus points three times.
Montini player to watch: Wide receiver Joseph Borsellini should become a larger threat with Rhode now throwing him passes.
Walther Lutheran player to watch: Najee Toomer ran for two touchdowns, including a 90-yarder, in last week’s win over Aurora Central.
Prediction: Montini 49, Walther Lutheran 10

Hoffman Estates (0-7) at No. 20 Palatine (6-1)

Palatine Hoffman Estates

When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Palatine is two wins away from winning the Mid-Suburban West title. The Pirates should be able to cruise this week against Hoffman Estates. The Hawks have been out-scored 333-79 this year. Palatine is riding a six-game winning streak after losing to Montini in the season opener. It’ll close out the regular season with Conant.
Hoffman Estates player to watch: Quarterback Jordan Hudak rushed for three touchdowns and threw for two against Schaumburg last week.
Palatine player to watch: Cam Kuska rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries against Fremd last week.
Prediction: Palatine 49, Hoffman Estates 7

Moline, Marengo win IHSA softball crowns

June, 12, 2011
6/12/11
1:31
AM CT

Moline scored all nine of its runs in the first two innings on Saturday, and it would be all the Maroons would need as they defeated St. Charles North 9-8 in the Class 4A state softball championship in East Peoria, Ill.

Moline’s Brittny Drish hit a home run, scored two runs and had four RBIs to lead the way. Jordan de los Reyes (two runs, two RBIs) and Jenna Winthurst (two RBIs) contributed for Moline (28-8-1).

St. Charles North (32-4) rallied to pull within one run in the fourth inning, but was held scoreless the last three innings. The North Stars were led by Taylor Russell (4 for 4, three runs, five RBIs) and Ashley Seering (4 for 4, one run, one RBI).

Moline pitcher Jordan Kasbohm (26-5) allowed 15 hits and seven earned runs in seven innings for the win.

In the Class 3A title game, Marengo’s Taylor Carlson drove in Larissa Pfeiffer with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Indians a 1-0 win over LaSalle-Peru.

Pfeiffer had two of Marengo’s five hits and led the seventh inning off with a single.

Marengo pitcher Chloe Montgomery held La-Salle Peru to four hits and no runs in seven innings for the win. She also walked none and struck out one.
La-Salle Peru pitcher Ally Smith gave up five hits and one run. Taylor Schmidt had two hits for La-Salle Peru.


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