High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

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High School Lites: Weekend Hoops Preview

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
8:14 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

The best Chicagoland prep basketball action can be seen right here on Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com. This week's edition of High School Lites features many ranked teams in YourSeason.com's Super 25, including a tilt between 3 Benet and 14 Notre Dame. We head out to Woodstock for our Team of the Week: Marian Central Catholic. You might see a familiar face on their bench-- former DePaul player Curtis Price, who is now their head coach. We'll also bring you the story of a standout girls basketball player who is living a 'fantasy' life for the Wheaton North Falcons. Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover Friday night:

York @ (13) Proviso West, 6:00pm

It could be a key early-season West Suburban Silver contest Friday in Hillside. The Dukes are off to another good start at 4-1. Senior guard Will Sullivan scored 23 points in their latest victory-- a 64-54 decision over Hinsdale Central. As for the Panthers, it'll be the first of a back-to-back with mighty East Aurora and Ryan Boatright lurking on Saturday. P-W, behind senior Ryan Woods, dominated Glenbard West last Friday 69-54.

(11) Thornton @ Andrew, 6:30pm

Four starters are back for the Thornton Wildcats this season, including guard Brian Greene. He teamed up with Bernard Brame and Dimitrius Hardwick in a convincing 68-47 win over Von Steuben at Sunday's Public League Shootout. Andrew is the proverbial team that nobody wants to play-- especially in Tinley Park. This vastly-improved team includes the Adekoya brothers: Jabbar, Jawad and Jubril, who can cause fits for the opposition.

Romeoville @ (20) Plainfield North, 7:00pm

The Southwest Prairie conference is there for the taking this season-- and both the Spartans and the 20th ranked Tigers figure to do some damage. Romeoville's defense was tough on the road last Friday, holding Minooka to 30 points. P-N's Jack Krieger is one of the top guards in the conference. Last season, he made 67 or 125 shots from 3-point range (53.6). He scored 39 points against Plainfield South earlier this season.

Ridgewood @ Fenton, 7:00

It's a family affair at west-suburban Ridgewood High School. New head coach Chris Mroz, the oldest of four boys, looks for his kid brother (Petey) to be a big contributor on the team. Guard John Caravia is another player to keep an eye on for the Rebels. The host Bison are paced by senior forward Dan Montano. Both teams figure to chase Riverside-Brookfield in the Metro Suburban this year...winners of nine straight conference titles.

(9) Proviso East @ Addison Trail, 7:30pm

The 9th-ranked Pirates have had plenty of time to think about the 85-63 dismantling by Hales in the St. Charles East Thanksgiving tournament. Now it's time to refocus, as the West Suburban Gold conference schedule awaits. The Pirates figure to be a force in conference, with guard Keith Carter setting the pace. Addison Trail is looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 64-61 overtime loss against Stagg.

Metea Valley @ (15) East Aurora, 7:30pm

This is the first year of varsity-level competition for the Metea Valley Mustangs. Last year, the JV squad was an impressive 23-2. Will it translate to wins on the varsity level? Their competition won't get much tougher than East Aurora. The Tomcats, led by Connecticut-bound superstar guard Ryan Boatright, look to set the tone in the Upstate Valley Eight conference.
Mt. Carmel @ Seton, 7:30pm

Illinois recruit Tracy Abrams took care of business in the Caravan's 88-56 victory over St. Francis de Sales last week-- the opener for their Catholic League East schedule. Abrams and fellow senior guard Malcolm Hill-Bey will face a challenge this Friday at Seton. The Sting feature a stellar player in Rodney Marshall. Both teams figure to challenge Leo for conference supremacy.

St. Francis de Sales @ (21) Leo, 7:30pm

The other side of the Catholic League East conference features the aforementioned Leo Lions, who just got by Seton earlier this season, 65-62. Leo returns nearly all of the players from last year's 25-9 team, and it includes Paul Beene Jr. and Maurice Joyner. A huge showdown with Mt. Carmel lies ahead on December 17th, but Leo cannot afford to overlook the Pioneers.

(14) Notre Dame @ (3) Benet, 7:30pm

The top matchup in Chicagoland Friday night. The visiting Dons are cruising. They have a 7-0 record which is head coach Tom Les best start ever. Rodney Prior has been on autopilot so far this season. He is coming off a 22 point performance against Loyola and has a 34 point game to his credit this year as well. Their defense has been tough, but will it be enough to stop Benet's Big 10 tandem of Dave Sobolewski (Northwestern) and 6-10 center Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)? It'll be quite a battle in the western suburbs Friday night.

GBB: North Lawndale @ (2) Whitney Young, 5:30pm

The Dolphins of Whitney Young try to continue their dominance of the girls basketball landscape in Chicagoland. And for once, they'll actually have a game in Chicago. Young has already played schools in the Memphis area, and they will travel to Detroit over the holidays and then take on competition from Wisconsin and St. Louis once the new year starts. They boast four college prospects: Chanise Trix Jenkins (DePaul), Kiana Johnson (Michigan State), Dija Disu (Texas Southern) and Bryesha Blair (Central Florida).

Check us out this Friday night just after our coverage of the Bulls-Lakers game. High School Lites streams live at CSNChicago.com.

E'Twaun Moore signs four-year deal with Pelicans

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USA Today Sports Images

E'Twaun Moore signs four-year deal with Pelicans

E'Twaun Moore has agreed to a four-year deal worth $34 million with the New Orleans Pelicans, agent Mark Bartlestein told Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill.

Moore spent the last two seasons with the Bulls, putting together a career year last season in a reserve role. The 27-year-old shooting guard averaged 7.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 59 games, including 22 starts.

General manager Gar Forman said during the offseason the Bulls had interest in bringing back Moore, who's capable of playing both guard positions. But when free agency began Thursday night at 11:01 p.m., Moore's suitors came calling. It was reported that six teams, including New Orleans, were interested in the two-way guard.

In New Orleans he'll join a backcourt that is losing Eric Gordon to free agency and could lose both Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans the following year. The Pelicans drafted shooting guard Buddy Hield with the No. 6 pick in last month's NBA Draft.

With lineup trending in wrong direction, Cubs seeing issues Mets exposed in NLCS

With lineup trending in wrong direction, Cubs seeing issues Mets exposed in NLCS

NEW YORK — For all of Joe Maddon’s present-tense happy talk, the Cubs manager had a flashback in Citi Field’s visiting dugout, thinking about how the New York Mets dominated his team during that National League Championship Series sweep.

“The primary pitfall last year was just the lack of contact when it mattered,” Maddon said. “I was standing in that corner last year when it was freezing. To see (Matt) Harvey command his changeup in the first inning with 30-degree weather and the wind howling — I took that as a bad sign.”

Even Maddon didn’t put a completely positive spin on a lineup that’s trending in the wrong direction on July 1 (though the Cubs still have a double-digit lead in the division and probably wouldn’t trade their overall group of hitters with any other franchise in the game).

Since dropping a series against the Washington Nationals in the middle of June, the Cubs have swept the Pittsburgh Pirates, got swept by the St. Louis Cardinals and lost another series to the Miami Marlins. Those swing-and-miss issues resurfaced in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Mets, giving the Cubs seven defeats in their last eight games against playoff contenders (excluding this week’s sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, who are playing for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft).

[MORE CUBS TALK: Willson Contreras showing why he belongs as big part of Cubs' plans]

The Cubs clearly miss leadoff guy Dexter Fowler — who might not return from a hamstring injury until after the All-Star break — and giving at-bats to rookies Willson Contreras and Albert Almora Jr. against New York’s power pitching could pay dividends in October.

“That was the one thing last year that bummed me out — their pitching was so on point at that time of the year,” Maddon said. “That’s really why they beat us. And they had one hitter (Daniel Murphy) that was unworldly. That’s what happened.

“Our primary problem last year was the inability to make contact against a group of pitchers that really were on top of their game.

“For the most part, we were really good this April at making contact and not striking out as much. May was not as kind. June — we’re falling backwards.

“We got to get back to where we were in April. That’s my biggest concern, if I had one. That and just keeping the bullpen right.”

The bullpen is a different story and probably a bigger issue, because the Cubs have already built their lineup and aren’t waiting on Triple-A Iowa guys and hoping for Tommy John recoveries. Beyond Fowler’s absence and the youth movement, the Cubs look like a different team when Ben Zobrist cools off in June (.707 OPS) after a red-hot May (1.136 OPS).

A new-and-improved lineup led the majors in walks (121) in April, ranking second in on-base percentage (.364) and 26th in strikeouts (167). The Cubs crept up to seventh in strikeouts (214) in May, while remaining second in on-base percentage (.349) and ranking third in walks (113). In June, the Cubs dropped to 10th in on-base percentage (.336) while rising to second in strikeouts (267) and staying at third in walks (107).

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

The Cubs responded to that playoff disappointment by spending almost $290 million on free agents, swooping in to sign Zobrist (who handled New York’s power pitching and helped the Kansas City Royals win the World Series), stealing Jason Heyward away from the Cardinals and bringing back Fowler in spring training, reinforcing their lineup with veterans who had career on-base percentages between .353 and .363.

“NLCS alone (had) very little (to do with it),” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “But some of the priorities we laid out this winter were a reaction to some areas of concern on the team last year. Some of those were exploited in the playoffs and to a certain extent in the NLCS.

“We wanted to add a couple more professional hitters, guys with high-contact rate (against) good pitching. We did that and wanted to improve our outfield defense, because we saw it becoming a concern throughout the year, not just during the NLCS.

“I don’t think it’s possible to make good decisions if you’re reacting to a four-game sample. But (it’s) to the extent that four games can underscore larger trends that reveal themselves (over time).”

The Cubs will leave New York on Sunday night at the halfway point of their schedule, 81 games to go before we find out if this team is as good as advertised, or if the Mets already exposed some of the issues covered up by such a fast start and all this star power.

John Goossens scores his first MLS goal in Fire win

John Goossens scores his first MLS goal in Fire win

John Goossens and Rodrigo Ramos were in the middle of most of the Fire's chances throughout the match so it only seemed fair that the pair would both factor into the game-winning goal on Friday.

In the 59th minute, Ramos crossed a ball into the box from the right side which was directed for Kennedy Igboananike. Igboananike didn't win the initial header, but it was headed out into the path of Goossens. Goossens drilled the ball with his first touch on his left foot and scored his first Major League Soccer goal.

That goal stood as the only one of the match in a 1-0 Fire win against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes.

The Fire (3-7-5, 14 points) picked up a second win in three home matches and snapped a three-game winless streak in MLS play. A crowd of 16,487 watched the game and the fireworks that came after the match.

[MORE FIRE: John Goossens' return could be key for the Fire]

The first half featured a slow start, especially from the Fire. San Jose (5-5-7, 22 points) forwards Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa were largely kept in check other than an Amarikwa header that forced a diving save from Sean Johnson.

The Fire finished the half much better with a Joao Meira shot from outside the box that David Bingham could only push over the bar and another effort from Kennedy Igboananike that forced a rebound in front.

John Goossens nutmegged two Earthquakes in the first half and Rodrigo Ramos was very aggressive going forward at right back. Most of the Fire's attacking buildup came from those two on the right side. Both were subbed out in the 80th minute.

The Fire outshot San Jose 16-6 and had a 6-2 edge in shots on goal.

[SHOP: Pick up your own Fire jersey]

Late in the game Fire forward David Accam and San Jose defender Fatai Alashe collided and went down immediately. After a stoppage, Accam got to his feet and returned. Alashe did not and San Jose, which was already out of subs finished the match with 10 men.

The Fire return to action next Saturday, July 9, in Toronto. Dutch forward Michael de Leeuw will be eligible to make his debut.