Recognize Greater Chicago

Updated: November 20, 2008, 3:00 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Girls' Basketball - Bolingbrook



Bolingbrook lost in the Class 4A state finals last season, and a quick look at the box score reveals why. After being held to 45 points or fewer just twice in the regular season, the Raiders failed to surpass that mark four times in six playoff contests, including their 54-45 loss at the hands of Whitney Young in the title game. "We went through droughts last year," says coach Anthony Smith, "and that hurt us in the finals. Getting that big bucket when you need it is crucial." Ariel Massengale was spectacular last season as a freshman, running Smith's five-guard attack to perfection and leading the team in scoring (13.2 points per game). She put up 22 points in the championship game, but the Raiders'next-highest scorer checked in with seven points. Smith is counting on a more effective offense this season, as Bolingbrook returns four starters. In addition to Massengale, who's now a sophomore, senior guard Satavia Taylor (11.1 ppg last year, 36 percent on threes) is in line for a big season. Smith also expects improvement from junior Nicosia Henry and senior Candace Nevels, and the coach has an ace up his sleeve in 6-foot-3 freshman center Morgan Tuck. "She can be one of the best players in the state right away," Smith says. If he's right about his freshman phenom, it might be enough to help Bolingbrook run away with the state championship.



Wrestling - Glenbard North


You want a team that's strong at the top? Look no further than Glenbard North, which features two of the country's top wrestlers in seniors Tony Ramos and Jimmy Chase. Ramos is a two-time state champion, while Chase won his first state title last year, then followed that up by placing at the Greco-Roman wrestling World Trials. With those two dominating at the top of the lineup, the rest of the Panthers' roster should follow suit.



Girls' Golf - Marion


Every member of Marion's girls'golf team turned in a clutch performance to help the team win the Class 2A state title on Oct. 18, with junior Cassie Rushing's effort standing out as especially courageous. Rushing's two-round total of 151 was good for seventh overall, and her eagle on the par-4 17th hole on the second day was critical, as the Giants held off second-place Homewood- Flossmoor by two strokes, 625-627. Sister Ashleigh Rushing, also a junior, shot a 154, while senior Lauren Bond came in at 156.



Boys' Basketball - Zion-Benton


The Zee-Bees remember how last season ended  with a painful loss in the Class 3A finals. Four returning starters will ensure that Zion-Benton is contending for the championship again this season, led by junior swingman Lenzelle Smith Jr. The Ohio State commit led the team with 13.6 points per game last year, and his 7.2 rebounds were second. Smith is joined by seniors Ronald Steward, Quintrell Love and Markus Yarbrough, all of whom averaged double-digit points per game last year.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



BOYS' BASKETBALL  WASHINGTON
Senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards is now the No. 1 option on offense.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL  ST. CHARLES NORTH
Senior Kesley Smith wants to advance past the Super-Sectionals.

WRESTLING  LOCKPORT
Senior Mark Stenberg and sophomore Jameson Oster are title contenders.

GIRLS'GYMNASTICS  STEVENSON
Chelsie Seplowin and Stephanie Wojton are seniors who could surprise at states.