High School Lites preview: First things first

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High School Lites preview: First things first

Battles for first place? In early January?

Yes, it might be a little early to start hyping the first place jostling in prep basketball conferences across Chicagoland. But its hard to deny the drama that will unfold on some courts Friday night.

In the Metro Conference, both Ridgewood and Riverside-Brookfield will meet up with undefeated records in league play. And it should be a quite an atmosphere in Norridge, as loads of Bulldogs fans are expected to make the trip north.

RELATED Simeon still the team to beat in Chicago

Over in the Fox Valley Fox, Crystal Lake Central has raced out to a 15-1 record, but theyll have their work cut out for them as Woodstock comes to town. The Blue Streaks, fresh off a 75-57 win over Grayslake Central, will contend with CLCs 1-2 punch of Corban Murphy and Kyle Flack.

And In the Southwest Prairie, Oswego has turned heads all season long, with guards Miles Simelton and Elliot McGaughy dominating the opposition. But Minooka will come in with a 5-0 record in conference play. Keep an eye on Jake Hogen for the Indians.

Here is a snapshot of every basketball game we will profile on Friday's High School Lites at 10:30 p.m. The rankings reflect the latest CSN Top 20:

THURSDAY GAMES:

St. Charles East @ No. 15 Larkin, 7:15 p.m.

Mother McAuley @ Trinity, 7:30 p.m. (GIRLS)

FRIDAY GAMES:

Oswego @ Minooka, 6:30 p.m.

Riverside-Brookfield @ Ridgewood, 7:00 p.m.

Woodstock @ Crystal Lake Central, 7:00 p.m.

Montini @ Marian Central Catholic, 7:00 p.m.

Neuqua Valley @ Metea Valley, 7:15 p.m. (GIRLS)

Naperville North @ Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.

No. 20 St. Patrick @ Marist, 7:30 p.m.

New Trier @ Maine South, 7:30 p.m.

Our Muscle Milk Team of the Week is Curie High School boys basketball team. Pay no attention to the Condors record, which contains five losses. Or maybe pay attention to the five teams that beat Curie. Every one of them was highly ranked, including local teams like Simeon and Benet, to national powers in Oak Hill Academy (VA) and Arsenal Tech (IN). Their cornerstone is 6-9 Cliff Alexander. Can this highly-touted junior take Curie deep into postseason play?

We'll also head out to Carol Stream to profile Jered Cortez, our Allstate High School Athlete of the Week. Cortez is a two-time Illinois state champion and a Cadet National Champion. What is the key to success for this 126-pound phenom?

As always, well take a drive down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment and bring you up-to-the-minute scores and highlights from across Chicagoland.

High School Lites streams live this Friday night on CSNChicago.com.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well. Check us out at: highschoollites@comcastsportsnet.com

High School Lites Week 6 capsules and picks

High School Lites Week 6 capsules and picks

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 6 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Oswego East finally beat crosstown rival Oswego? Can Naperville North's magical season continue as they host division power Neuqua Valley? Can Stevenson avoid Libertyville's upset bid and win on the road? And can Mount Carmel bounce back this week and beat Brother Rice?

Oswego at No. 24 Oswego East, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Oswego (5-0/5-0) has beaten Oswego East (5-0/5-0) 11 straight times. But is this the night that the Wolves break that winning streak? Oswego East has put up points in bunches this season behind Iowa-bound RB Ivory Kelly-Martin, senior QB Jaylon Banks and a host of talented players in the skills department. Oswego, coached by Brian Cooney, has started to get its offense in gear. As for the defense, they’ve allowed just 48 points all season. Keep an eye on junior DT Noah Shannon along with senior WR Ray Chmielinski. Last possession wins?

EDGY's Pick: Oswego East 27, Oswego 26 

Highland Park at Deerfield, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Highland Park (3-2/0-1) is looking to bounce back this week after losing to Glenbrook North 42-28 last Friday. The Giants have one of the top running backs in the conference in senior DJ Penick. Deerfield (3-2/0-1) and head coach Steve Winiecki are also looking to rebound. They lost 10-7 last Friday to Vernon Hills. The Warriors also have a do-it-all standout in senior WR/DB Charlie Jones and three star-ranked senior ILB/DE Joshua Maize. Can the Giants get the running game going against the Warriors defense?

EDGY's Pick: Highland Park 31, Deerfield 24

Woodstock North at Johnsburg, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Johnsburg (5-0/2-0) and head coach Dan DeBoeuf will make sure to get the football into the hands of standout senior RB Alex Peete early and often. But the Skyhawks can (and will) throw the ball with QB Riley Buchanan. Woodstock North and head coach Jeff Schroeder will also run the ball with the likes of RBs Casey Dycus and Collin Mergi. Which defense will rise to the occasion?

EDGY's Pick: Johnsburg 36, Woodstock North 30

Wilmington at Lisle, 7:00 p.m. at Benedictine Univ.

EDGY's Take: Wilmington (5-0/3-0) was able to get head coach Jeff Reents his 200th win last Friday with a 43-6 win over Seneca. Senior RB Owen Weaver has been a load to stop this season. Lisle (3-2/2-1) is led by former Addison Trail Hall of Fame coach Paul Parpet. Parpet will look to get senior do-it-all QB Mark McGrath involved as much as possible. Can the Lisle defense slow down the Wilmington running attack?

EDGY's Pick: Wilmington 37, Lisle 21

Lincoln-Way East at Andrew, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (4-1/2-1) will take the very short drive over to Andrew (0-5/0-3) in this Southwest Suburban conference game. Lincoln-Way East has gotten a big season from its two headed monster at quarterback, seniors Jake Arthur and Max Shafer. Andrew (0-5/0-3) and first year head coach Adam Lewandowski has been battling an overloaded schedule (22-8 opponents combined record) and a struggling offense so far this season.

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 41, Andrew 12

No. 6 Neuqua Valley at No. 14 Naperville North, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Neuqua Valley (5-0/4-0) was expected to be in the DuPage Valley conference title hunt. The Wildcats have a ton of skills and talent including Notre Dame commit WR/S Isaiah Robertson. Junior QB Jake Eskoff has also been vital for the Wildcats this season. Naperville North (5-0/4-0) and head coach Sean Drendel will rely on a deep senior class, a balanced offense and a defense that has improved each week. Can the Neuqua Valley defense get the football back quickly, giving their offense more touches? Can North’s defense limit the Wildcats’ big play ability?

EDGY's Pick: Neuqua Valley 28, Naperville North 21

No. 16 Stevenson at Libertyville, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Stevenson’s (4-1/3-0) only loss came back in Week 1 to Palatine, 28-20. The Patriots’ offense has averaged over 40 points per game since that game and senior QB Aidan O'Connell has been a key. A few of his top targets include senior twins WRs, Henry and Michael Marchese. Libertyville (3-2/2-1) and head coach Mike Jones is looking top bounce back after losing last Friday to Lake Forest. On offense, the Wildcats will rely on senior QB Jack Ruskell and a big, physical offensive line led by Iowa State commit OT Tyler Jost. Can Libertyville slow down the Stevenson passing game? 

EDGY's Pick: Stevenson 28, Libertyville 21

Mt. Carmel at No. 3 Brother Rice, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Mount Carmel (3-2/0-2) is trying to shake off a loss last Friday to St. Rita as the Caravan are in serious need of a headline win. Keep an eye on junior do-it-all RB/WR/QB Alek Thomas and NIU commit RB Michael Kennedy. Brother Rice (5-0/1-0) has been on a serious roll as senior QB Dino Borrelli is having a terrific senior season. Fellow senior Ricky Smalling (Illinois) is a threat at wide receiver at all times. Can the Caravan win on the road? Can the Brother Rice defense slow down the Mount Carmel option game?

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 34, Mount Carmel 27

No. 19 Bradley-Bourbonnais at Lincoln-Way Central, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Bradley (5-0/3-0) found itself down two touchdowns in the fourth quarter last Friday against Bolingbrook. But they staged a stunning comeback, winning 22-21. The Boilermakers will look towards Iowa commit WR/RB Cam Harrell. Lincoln-Way Central (4-1/2-1) has been solid all season. The Knights offense is led by QB Hunter Campbell and his top target is WR Matt Pollack. Can Bradley continue to make big plays when needed? Can Lincoln-Way Central limit the big play ability of Bradley?

EDGY's Pick: Bradley 27, Lincoln-Way Central 24

Viewers’ Choice Game

St. Edward at Fenton, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: St. Edward (4-1/0-1) took its first loss last Friday, 49-3, to 3A top-ranked Immaculate Conception. The Green Wave will look to get back in the win column this week behind junior QB Kyle Mlinarich plus junior WR Saveon Smith and the Green Wave's potent passing game. Fenton (2-3/0-1) and head coach Mark Kos have been up and down all season as both schools try to get in the win column in Metro Suburban Blue play. Can the Fenton defense slow down the Green Wave passing attack?

EDGY's Pick: St. Edward 41, Fenton 14

Larkin senior Christian Negron out for season with torn ACL

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Larkin senior Christian Negron out for season with torn ACL

Larkin forward Christian Negron, a major contender for the All-Area team this season, will miss his senior season with a torn ACL.

The bouncy 6-foot-6 forward has been a major force in the area since his varsity debut as a freshman for the Royals as he averaged 16.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, 3 assists and 2.2 steals per game last season.

Negron is coming off of a strong summer in which he played with the Puerto Rican national team during the U18 FIBA Americas. Leading in the team in scoring and rebounding, Negron averaged 13.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game including 23 points and 13 rebounds against the gold-medal winning United States.

While Negron's local high school career is likely over, he had a great three seasons at Larkin and he still has a bright basketball future if he is able to recover. Considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Negron recently cut his list to five schools as he is looking at Bradley, DePaul, Loyola, Oregon State and UAB.