CSN Top 20 IHSA basketball rankings

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CSN Top 20 IHSA basketball rankings

1. Whitney Young (10-1)
PrepsTalk: The Dolphins make a huge national statement, winning the Beach Ball Classic tournament in South Carolina. They defeated Myrtle Beach, Bishop Gorman (NV), Scott County (KY) and Bishop OConnell (VA) along the way.

2. Simeon (9-1)
PrepsTalk: Just like old times? The Wolverines win another title in Pontiac (third straight). Tournament MVP Jabari Parker scored 14 points and 13 rebounds in the title game against West Aurora.

3. Morgan Park (13-1)
PrepsTalk: The Mustangs simply dominated the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. They beat Proviso East 82-57 in the championship behind 24 points and 16 rebounds from Josh Cunningham.

4. Marian Catholic (13-1)
PrepsTalk: Tyler Ulis, donning pink shoes in the title game, scored 29 points as the Spartans beat Bloom 61-58 in front of a packed house at Rich South. Its the first Dipper title for M-C in 37 tries.

5. Notre Dame (13-1)
PrepsTalk: More East Suburban Catholic power, as the Dons took down Niles North 54-52 for the Wheeling Hardwood Classic trophy. Matt Mooney secured tournament MVP honors.

6. North Chicago (14-1)
PrepsTalk: The Warhawks make a statement in Bloomington, winning the State Farm Holiday Classic. JaVairius Amos-Mays, Kurt Hall, and JayQuan McCloud each had a great tournament.

7. Neuqua Valley (14-0)
PrepsTalk: The Wildcats secured the East Aurora tournament championship, defeating Pleasure Ridge Park (KY) in the title game. They held Ridge, a team averaging 82 points per game, to only 55.

8. Proviso East (10-3)
PrepsTalk: No, the Pirates were not impressive against Morgan Park (an 82-57 loss). But East did have a few marquee wins at the Proviso West Tourney, including Benet and Oswego.

9. Oswego (11-2)
PrepsTalk: The Panthers placed third at Proviso West last week. Miles Simelton scored 28 points against Stevenson; Elliott McGaughy, Darion Reddick and Zach West each had solid contributions.

10. Benet (14-3)
PrepsTalk: The Redwings could not get past Proviso East, but came back to beat a talented Bogan team for fifth place at Proviso West. Sean OMara turned in another fine performance: 26 points, seven boards against Bogan.

11. West Aurora (10-2)
PrepsTalk: Another strong showing at Pontiac (2nd place). The Blackhawks defeated Lockport, St. Charles North and Warren. West Aurora now faces Naperville North on Saturday.

12. Orr (9-2)
PrepsTalk: A fine performance by the Spartans at the Motor City Roundball Classic in Detroit. Orr defeated Detroit Community 46-34 on Sunday and now come home for Red-West play (vs. Marshall 19).

13. Homewood-Flossmoor (10-2)
PrepsTalk: The Vikings won the early round games at Proviso West, but could not figure out Oswego and Benet. H-F travels to Bolingbrook to play the Raiders Friday night.

14. Bloom (10-3)
PrepsTalk: Johnny Griffin tallied 22 points and 11 rebounds, but Bloom could not stop Tyler Ulis and Marian Catholic at the McDipper. The Blazing Trojans second place showing was punctuated by wins over Phillips, Hales and Crete-Monee.

15. Lemont (13-1)
PrepsTalk: The Indians were the kings of the Romeoville Tournament over the holidays. MVP Juozas Balciunas paced Lemont with 24 points in the championship game against Plainfield Central.

16. Niles North (10-3)
PrepsTalk: North was impressive in wins over Vernon Hills, Loyola and St. Viator at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic. BJ Beckford, Malachi Nix and Lorenzo Dillard were huge contributors for the Vikings.

17. Larkin (14-2)
PrepsTalk: A huge win on many fronts for Larkin over the holidays. They won the Elgin Tournament championship over the host schooland bitter rival-Maroons with Quentin Ruff leading the way with 21 points in the finale.

18. Providence-St. Mel (11-3)
PrepsTalk: The Knights fell to Rockford Lutheran at the State Farm Holiday Classic, but bounced back to defeat Minonk Fieldcrest to secure third place honors.

19. Stevenson (10-4)
PrepsTalk: The Patriots finished in fourth place at Proviso West. They defeated Hinsdale Central, St. Charles East and Maine South, but fell to Proviso East and Oswego

20. Brother Rice (11-2)
PrepsTalk: The Crusaders bring home first place in the Hinsdale South Tournament, thanks to stellar play of Alex Majewski (tournament MVP) and Cal Kennedy.

Looming and Lurking: Curie, St. Rita, Naperville Central, De La Salle, Bogan, Maine South, Montini, North Lawndale, Crete-Monee, Zion-Benton, Lake Forest, Dundee-Crown, Geneva, Marist, Leyden, York, Oak Park, St. Patrick, New Trier, St. Joseph

You can catch High School Lites, sponsored by Discount Tire, every Friday night at 10:30. We stream the show live at csnchicago.com.

Be sure to follow @JoeCSN and @PrepsTalkCSN for prep basketball coverage.

In the Gym at EFT: Wide receiver skill development

In the Gym at EFT: Wide receiver skill development

In the first edition of EFT Football Academy, TF North graduate Landon Cox, who was a star wide receiver at Northern Illinois and later in the NFL, shares some tips on how to become a better receiver and be more efficient on the field.

Cox is a Performance Specialist and wide receiver coach at EFT. In this segment Cox works on a few different techniques with Warren Township junior wide receiver Micah Jones.

EFT has evolved into the premier elite performance training facility in the Midwest, where every EFT football coach has NFL experience and the dedication to helping each player reach their potential. The EFT Football Academy is designed to assist in the development of grade school, high school, and collegiate football players.

Some of their off-season training experience includes 70+ active NFL athletes, six Super Bowl Champions, six Olympics, and more.

[MORE: High School Lites Football Roundup: Week 1]

In addition, performance includes explosive power development, positional movement pattern development, proper spring and change of direction mechanics, and more. Every EFT workout focuses on improving each athlete's overall abilities like speed development, agility and mobility, acceleration and deceleration, and strength and condition — just to name a few.

Former Bears wide receiver Devin Hester called it "the best workout in the world."

Watch Cox's tips in the video above, and be sure to look out for next week's edition on CSNChicago.com.

High School Lites Football Roundup: Week 1

High School Lites Football Roundup: Week 1

High School Lites kicked off this week as IHSA football started all over Illinois. The season debut of High School Lites featured highlights from all over the Chicagoland area -- including the show's debut in Northwest Indiana for our Viewer's Choice Game of the Week.

Be sure to follow our Preps account on Twitter @CSNPreps for the latest scores, stats and highlights from the area's best high school teams. 

HIGHLIGHTS

High School Lites Football Montage: Week 1

Highlights: No. 22 Maine South 44, No. 11 Montini 13

Highlights: Fenwick 34, No. 9 Phillips 26

Highlights: No. 7 Palatine 28, No. 12 Stevenson 20

Highlights: No. 14 Prairie Ridge 26, No. 18 Cary-Grove 14

Highlights: No. 2 Glenbard West 17, No. 15 Bolingbrook 7

Highlights: No. 5 Lincoln-Way East 49, South Bend Adams 12

Highlights: No. 20 Oak Park-River Forest 21, Simeon 14

Highlights: No. 24 Barrington 41, Glenbrook South 15

Highlights: Kaneland 48, Brooks 20

Highlights: Von Steuben 41, Amundsen 18

Highlights: Viewer's Choice Game of the Week: Valparaiso 49, Gary West Side 0

CSN Drive: Lincoln-Way East Football -- Episode 2: Ron Tomczak's Legacy Lives On

In the Gym at EFT: WR Skill Development

TOP 25 SCORES

No. 1 Loyola Academy 36, Milwaukee Marquette 7

No. 2 Glenbard West 17, No. 15 Bolingbrook 7

No. 3 Homewood-Flossmoor 56, Downers Grove South 6

No. 4 Glenbard North 35, Naperville Central 6

No. 5 Lincoln-Way East 49, South Bend Adams 12

No. 7 Palatine 28, No. 12 Stevenson 20

Fenwick 34, No. 9 Phillips 26

No. 22 Maine South 44, No. 11 Montini 13

No. 13 Waubonsie Valley 16, Lake Park 8

No. 14 Prairie Ridge 26, No. 18 Cary-Grove 14

No. 16 Hinsdale Central 42, American Fork (UT) 12

No. 17 Neuqua Valley 35, Metea Valley 7

No. 19 Nazareth Academy 56, Dunbar 12

No. 20 Oak Park-River Forest 21, Simeon 14

No. 21 Batavia 34, Belleville West 24

No. 23 Libertyville 29, Elk Grove 0

No. 24 Barrington 41, Glenbrook South 15

No. 25 Crete-Monee 42, T.F. South 7

A decade later, Ron Tomczak's legacy lives on at Lincoln-Way East intrasquad game

A decade later, Ron Tomczak's legacy lives on at Lincoln-Way East intrasquad game

When Ron Tomczak passed away suddenly in 2007, Lincoln-Way East head coach Rob Zvonar lost much more than a valuable assistant.

The 69-year-old Tomczak, who spent two-thirds of his life coaching football, had been a mentor and a friend to Zvonar, who leaned on the Hall of Famer for guidance as the young Griffins program took shape in the early 2000s. Zvonar relished having an experienced voice in coaches meetings and the locker room. More than that, he appreciated that same voice calling him "out of the blue" on any given night with words of advice and support.

It's the reason Zvonar made what he called a "no-brainer" decision that fall to honor Tomczak's legacy as a father, coach, mentor and friend a mere six months after the legendary coach's death. So when the Griffins took the field for their annual intrasquad game a week before their regular season began, they did so during the Ron Tomczak Black and Blue scrimmage.

Ten years later the tradition has carried on, and then some.

Thousands from the Frankfort community gathered in the team's stadium last Friday night to watch the 2016 Griffins take the field for the first time, and also to honor the legacy of a man instrumental toward helping build the program into one of the premier teams in Illinois. 

Tomczak coached at T.F. North for 16 seasons, earning 89 victories in his tenure. He coached the Meteors to a pair of playoff berths, including a 10-2 season and berth in the state semifinals with his son, Mike, under center. Mike went on to Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to two Big Ten championships before a 15-year NFL career with stops in Chicago, Green Bay, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Ron continued his coaching career at Lincoln-Way East in 2001, serving as an assistant under Zvonar one year after the program’s inaugural season. Ron's son, Steve, was also an assistant at East during that time, and when Zvonar approached him and the Tomczak family about honoring their father at the annual scrimmage, they were thrilled.

"Coach Z was gracious enough when my father passed to say, 'This is what we're going to do, and we're going to do it every year really big and make it a big celebration,'" said Steve, who runs Body Tech Total Fitness in Frankfort, where Ron also worked in his later years. "That's the type of person (Zvonar) is, the type of man he is. He said as long as I'm here we're going to do this."

Added Ron Jr.: "Coach Z, I think my dad taught (Zvonar) a lot when he initially started, and he looked to my dad as a mentor."

Ron was a perfectionist, a trait that's easy to see has rubbed off in the way Zvonar leads a Griffins group with state-title aspirations in 2016.

Ron Jr. recalled his father putting together practice plans for the fall as soon as the Fourth of July rolled around. Months before the official start of the IHSA season he had the equipment room organized to a fault and his practice plan for two-a-days completed. Ron spent just as much time with the scout kickoff team as he did with the first-team offense, and he always made time to coach up anyone who asked for it.

"If anybody wanted to work he was there," Ron Jr. said, "if there was one kid or there were 40 kids out there."

When he returned to Lincoln-Way East as an assistant - he also taught driver's ed at the school - his passion, drive and work ethic rubbed off on the rest of the coaching staff.

"Most men his age would be retired on the golf course," Zvonar said, "and he was still coming out here in his late 60s coaching football. He meant so much to me as a mentor."

It's why simply honoring Ron, who was inducted into the IHSA Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1986, with a scrimmage in his name wasn't enough. Zvonar makes a point each season of instilling in his team the importance Tomczak had on both him and the program. Though the 118 players on this year's East team are too young to remember Tomczak, they understand what he meant to the program because of Zvonar.

The highlight of the night is a spaghetti dinner inside the stadium, with proceeds going directly to a scholarship in Ron's name. Candidates from the team submit letters, must be in good standing academically and have an eye toward playing football collegiately. The coaching staff then selects candidates to present to the family, which makes the final decision in May on one to two players to receive the scholarship.

"I don't want to just say, "Hey, it's the Ron Tomczak scrimmage,'" Zvonar said. "We've got to go back and talk about who he was and what he stood for. And if we can continue to pass his legacy down to other generations, we sure will."

Added wide receiver Nick Zelenika, whose brother John - now at Illinois Wesleyan - was awarded the scholarship in 2015: "Coach Z talks a lot about him. He got this program rolling. He set the example for this program. Coach Z looks up to him as a role model, and we have a ton of respect for him. He definitely set an example for our high school."

The Tomczak family has been an integral part of the Lincoln-Way East program, and the impact Ron had during his time will continue to help define its future successes. It will also come full-circle next season when his grandson, current sophomore starting defensive back Jake, joins the varsity team. Another one of his grandsons, Max, will start at Lincoln-Way East next fall. But even when the last Tomczak has played his final snap for the Griffins, Ron Tomczak's legacy will live on each year as a reminder of what it takes to build a winner, and how to do so the right way.

"He was near and dear to our hearts," Zvonar said. "And as long as I'm here we'll always remember him.”