High School Lites: Round 4 playoff preview

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High School Lites: Round 4 playoff preview

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
9:57 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

What teams will make the trip to Champaign ... and what teams go home? Comcast SportsNet is your home for the IHSA football playoffs. Check out CSN and CSNChicago.com on both Friday and Saturday nights for up-to-the-minute prep sports news. High School Lites will air on Friday night just after the Blackhawks game. Our high school coverage continues on Saturday night on SportsNet Central -- also after Hawks hockey. We will have highlights of the following games this weekend:

FRIDAY
CATHOLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Fenwick (6-5) vs. Brother Rice (6-5), 7 p.m. at Toyota Park

The Friars and Crusaders battle for the right to take on the Public League Champion (Morgan Park or Curie) in the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field next Friday. Fenwick has gone toe-to-toe with some of the toughest teams in the state ... which is second nature as a member as a member of Chicagos Catholic Blue conference. They lost close games to St. Rita and Prairie Ridge -- both still alive in the IHSA playoffs. Brother Rice advanced to the Catholic League Championship after beating St. Ignatius 34-7.

Note: Fenwick beat Brother Rice 23-7 in the last week of the regular season.

SATURDAY
8A: No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor (10-2) at No. 3 Mt. Carmel (10-2), noon at Gately Stadium

Maybe its time to start thinking about H-F, not as a nice Cinderella story, but as a serious threat to win state. The Vikings, 1-8 last season, beat Naperville North last week -- a team that upset No. 1-seed York by the way -- 35-28 on the Huskies home turf. Running back Malik Norman was unstoppable again, racking up four touchdowns and 163 yards on the ground. Mt. Carmels defense will be up to the task. After giving up 47 points to Simeon and another 35 to St. Rita in the regular season, the Caravan has shown steady progress. They hit Lyons in the quarterfinals with four sacks and three interceptions, winning 41-10.

8A: No. 4 Maine South (10-2) @ No. 2 Loyola (11-1), 1 p.m.

The last time Loyola gave up more than seven points in a game was about a month ago -- a 24-21 win over St. Rita. The Ramblers have given up a grand total of seven points in the playoffs and theyre coming off an impressive shutout win over Palatine, 14-0. Running back Spencer Perry is equally impressive, rushing for 121 yards and two TDs in that quarterfinal win. Maine South continues to be, well, Maine South. The Hawks have won 10 straight after two losses (Maine South, Schaumburg) and are getting key plays from both sides of the ball, including from sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti. A Hawks win will give them their sixth trip to Champaign since 2003.

7A: No. 2 St. Rita (11-1) @ No. 5 Lake Zurich (11-1), 7 p.m.

If youre a fan of old-school, smash-mouth football, then you might want to head up Route 12 Saturday night to see two of the best defenses in the state. St. Rita dismantled one of the premier option offenses around last week -- shutting out Carmel 21-0. Linebacker Will McNamara had 12 tackles. Their offensive threat, as always, is in the backfield: Jahwon Akui. He scored two TDs in last weeks win. Lake Zurich is riding high after holding one of the highest scoring teams in the state, Simeon, to 14 points. Running back Jacob Brinlee anchors the Bears offense.

5A: No. 6 Montini (10-2) @ No. 1 Kaneland (12-0), 5 p.m.

Two teams with rich playoff histories collide in Maple Park on Saturday evening. Montini comes in as the reigning state champs in 5A. They defeated Marian Central Catholic last week, 24-10, behind Matt Westerkamps two touchdown passes. Kaneland won back-to-back state titles in 1997 and 98 -- two teams that also went undefeated. This years undefeated bunch went to Vernon Hills last week and stormed out with a 37-22 victory. Quarterback Joe Camilere was a force in the victory: four touchdowns and 357 yards. The winner of this game will battle either Richwoods or Glenwood in Champaign next week.

PUBLIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Curie (8-5) vs. Morgan Park (10-2), 4 p.m. at Gately Stadium

Hows this for a random fact: If Curie wins Saturday, they will qualify to play a 15th game (Chicago Prep Bowl). It would be only the second time in state history that a team would have played 15 games in a season. Of course, the Condors would have to get past a speedy Morgan Park team in the Public League Championship first. Curie has won three straight: Hubbard, Orr and Robeson. Morgan Park is playing their first game since losing to 6A semifinalist Prairie Ridge in the second round.

Our coverage on Friday night includes in-depth analysis of the Montini-Kaneland and St.Rita-Lake Zurich matchups. In our team of the week segment, we visit the south suburbs as the Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings continue their amazing turnaround under the tutelage of new head coach Craig Buzea. And in our Flashback profile, we take a look at the high school career of Northwestern quarterback Evan Watkins.

On Saturdays late edition of SportsNet Central after Blackhawks hockey, we will provide highlights from all of the above games and bring you updates on all 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A games, including the 7A semifinal tilt between Wheaton Warrenville South and Belleville East.

We are your source for playoff highlights, scores and more. High School Lites streams live at CSNChicago.com.

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

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AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Phillips DT Chris Elmore commits to Syracuse

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."