IHSA Championship Hoops Preview: 3A & 4A

413348.jpg

IHSA Championship Hoops Preview: 3A & 4A

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Posted 11:13 p.m.
By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Comcast SportsNet is your number one source for high school athletics in Chicagoland. Its basketball championship weekend in Peoria and well have highlights of the 4A and 3A title and third place games.

Well also pay a visit to Hales Franciscan High School, where the Spartans celebrate their 2A title. Plus Chuck Garfien profiles a World War II veteran who will get the chance to go on a very special trip thanks to some free throw shooters at Elgins Westminster Christian High School.

And well tell you about an athlete at Lincoln-Way West who balances three sports and contributes at the highest level in the classroom. All this plus a special montage of the best highlights of the basketball season.

Here is a capsule of each team that will compete for a title in Peoria this weekend:

3A:

Brooks (28-3): Can the Chicago Public League champs also tame the field at state? The Eagles have already turned some heads in the playoffs, as they outlasted Morgan Park for the sectional title and then used a 20-0 surge to outlast Lindblom in the supersectional. Their offense revolves around their Wisconsin-bound senior guard, George Marshall. He led all scorers with 18 points in Tuesday nights victory. Mike Powell and brothers Keith and Kevin Gray are also key contributors.

Rock Island (28-3): The Rocks will take on the aforementioned Eagles in the semifinals Friday afternoon at 12:15. And if youre looking for star power on Rock Islands roster, look no further than future Stanford Cardinal Chasson Randle. Chicagoans got a look at Randle in the City-Suburban Showdown last month. Randle had a double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds) in Tuesdays supersectional victory over Aurora Central Catholic. The Rocks have a fine basketball tradition, as they have advanced to state three times since 1988.
Centralia (29-4): Legendary coach Arthur Trout guided the Centralia High School to three state titles in the first half of the 20th century. Current head coach Lee Bennett and his talented team hope to leave a similar legacy. The Orphans claimed the Springfield Supersectional title on Tuesday with a 48-44 victory over Morton. Guard Bryan Betts, R.J. Kwiatkowski and Tyler Obermeier make up part of a well-balanced attack. This will be Centralias first trip to state since 2002, when they took home a third place trophy.

North Chicago (17-13): Raise your hand if you had the Warhawks advancing to state this season. Anyone? Bueller? The Cinderellas of the north shore will enter the grand ballroom at 2pm on Friday, as they dance with Centralia. NC had a losing record when the playoffs began. And they arent just surprising their opponentstheyre dismantling them. North Chicago used a 26-2 run to overwhelm a tough Crane team Tuesday night in Hoffman Estates. Maurice Gordon, Jaylen Linson and Marzhon Bryant are among the ones to contain on the Warhawk roster.

4A:
Glenbard East (27-3): Its all coming together for Illinois State recruit Johnny Hill and the Glenbard East Rams. Hill was unstoppable in the NIU Supersectional game against Rockfords Auburn high school, scoring 32 points in a 63-51 victory. Point guard Zach Miller also got a good feel of the arena hell be playing in next season. The future Huskie tallied nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win. Head coach Scott Miller has completely turned the program around. His teams finished 5-20 in 02 and 03 and have been solid ever since.

Simeon (28-2): A state title in 2006. Another one in 2007. And an unexpected state championship last season. Whats left on the to-do list Wolverines head coach Robert Smith? Preserving the dynasty by winning a fourth championship in six years. Simeon endured two back-to-back losses last month but has been nothing short of dominant ever since. The team is unselfish and features one of the best talents in the nationsophomore Jabari Parker. Their quest for another state title begins Friday night at 6:30 against Glenbard East.

Normal Community (27-6): Dave Witzigs first year as head coach of the Ironmen didnt do much to appease the masses in central Illinois: 4-22. But the program has grown significantly since that 1998-99 season, and Witzig has the likes of Paul Musselman, Anthony Beane and Chase Robbins to thank for it. The three all chipped in nicely in Tuesdays 59-48 win over DePaul-bound Jamee Crockett and Crete-Monee. Normal will take on Warren in the late game on Friday night (8:15pm).

Warren (30-3): The key to the Blue Devil attack revolves around their talented front line, which features Darius Paul (Brandon Pauls brother), Jeremiah Jackson and Nathan Boothe. Coach Chuck Ramseys squad took down star Abdel Nader and Niles North in the Waukegan Supersectional Tuesday. Warren opened some eyes in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament as they pushed Simeon to the brink of defeat, coming up short 58-50. They cannot afford to look ahead to a possible rematch in Saturdays final, though.

Each game of the 3A and 4A championships can be found on WMAQ-DT 5.2. Check us out this Saturday night at 11:00. High School Lites streams live at csnchicago.com.

Sore Adam Eaton out of White Sox lineup for several days

Sore Adam Eaton out of White Sox lineup for several days

CLEVELAND — Adam Eaton feels sore everywhere and chances are slim he’d play again before he is re-evaluated on Monday when the team returns home.

But the White Sox outfielder said Saturday afternoon that he felt better than he did Friday when he was cleared for a concussion after crashing into the outfield wall making a fantastic catch.

Eaton, who left in the sixth inning of Friday’s game, said he stayed down on the ground for several minutes after he knocked the wind out of himself. Manager Robin Ventura mostly ruled Eaton out for Saturday and Sunday after his hip, shoulder and back were all involved.

“If anybody has ever been in a car accident, it’s kind of the same thing,” Eaton said. “It’s taking inventory of the body parts and making sure everything is back to where we’re supposed to be, and as soon as that is accounted for, we’ll get back out there and play again.

“It seemed like I passed (the concussion test) pretty well.”

Whereas early in his career the White Sox asked Eaton, who played as if his hair were on fire, to dial it back, Ventura appreciated the outfielder’s effort. Not only was there a possibility Eaton could get to the ball, he made a fantastic grab before slamming into the wall. Ventura applauded how much progress Eaton has made in knowing when and when not to go all out in the name of his own safety.

“He’s been a lot better,” Ventura said. “He would run after balls that were probably 10 rows deep. …

“Before he was just out there running crazy and right now he has a better understanding of what he can get to. Last night was just a great play, he runs into the wall and gets himself banged up.”

Staying on the field has made Eaton an extremely valuable asset for the White Sox. Not only is he a strong candidate to win a Rawlings Gold Glove, Eaton has a .791 OPS in 683 plate appearances. He headed into Saturday seventh among the American League position players with 6 Wins Above Replacement. And he has proven versatile with the ability to play right and center field and hit in several spots in the lineup.

“When you look what he does … he’s been pretty dang valuable,” Ventura said.

Eaton feels like part of the value he brings is his willingness to go all out for his teammates. He doesn’t intend to slow down any more than he already has. Eaton said Saturday he was a little ticked by some of the responses he received on social media after the play, feeling like he would have heard criticism if he had backed off.

“You play hard and then all of a sudden you get hurt playing hard and then people have a problem with it and then they say you should play hard,” Eaton said.

“Instead of choosing my body, I chose my team. People can curse me for it, but the day that I backpedal and let the ball hit off the wall is the day I’m going to quit baseball.”

Complete Bears-Cowboys coverage on CSN

Complete Bears-Cowboys coverage on CSN

The Bears and Dallas Cowboys square off Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC and CSN Chicago has you covered along the way.

Check out a schedule of Sunday's events:

— Meijer Bears Pregame Live with Chris Boden, Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Jim Miller and Dan Jiggetts airs at 6:30 p.m. on CSN.

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Bears Halftime Live streaming live on CSNChicago.com and ChicagoBears.com.

— State Farm Bears Postgame Live airing immediately after the game on CSN.

Important Twitter follows:

— John "Moon" Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin), CSNChicago

— Bears Talk (@CSNBears), CSNChicago

— Kip Lewis (@CSNKipLewis), CSNChicago

— Chris Boden (@CSNBoden), CSNChicago