High School Lites preview: Holiday tournament warmup

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High School Lites preview: Holiday tournament warmup

Call it the proverbial calm before the storm. Prep basketball tournaments, from Proviso West to Rich South, Pontiac to Normal and Springfield to Centralia will be in full swing next week. This weekend's games represent an appetizer to the main dish after Christmas.

But players and coaches alike will tell you that the so-called appetizer contests cannot be taken lightly, especially if they are conference battles. Or if they happen to feature bitter rivals.

Both classifications come into play for New Trier and Evanston Thursday night. The girls and boys teams will grace Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena. Who will take the early-season bragging rights?

Also, Mundelein and Zion-Benton meet Friday in a key early-season North Suburban Lake showdown. Plus, Maine South is off to a quick start, but how will they fare at Waukegan's Dog Pound?

Here is a snapshot of every boys 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

Girls: New Trier vs. Evanston at Welsh-Ryan Arena, 6:00 p.m.

CICS-Ellison at Providence-St. Mel, 6:00 p.m.

Amundsen at Foreman, 6:15 p.m.

Boys: New Trier vs. Evanston (at Welsh-Ryan Arena), 8:00 p.m.

Friday games

Brooks at No. 2 Simeon, 4:30 p.m.

Montini at Reavis, 6:00 p.m.

Lyons at Oak Park-River Forest. 6:00 p.m.

Hales Franciscan at No. 17 St. Ignatius, 7:00 p.m.

Seton Academy at Leo, 7:30 p.m.

Mundelein at No. 17 Zion-Benton, 7:30 p.m.

Maine South at Waukegan, 7:30 p.m.

Our Muscle Milk team of the Week is Benet Academy's boys basketball team. It's already been an impressive year for this west-suburban school. The girls volleyball team won state for the second consecutive year and the football team produced one of the best seasons in school history (11-2 record; semifinal playoff berth). What can head coach Gene Heidkamp and company do to continue the momentum? The Redwings have a few marquee wins this year and feature the likes of 6-foot-9 center Sean O'Mara and 6-foot-5 forward Pat McInerney. Benet won the prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament in 2010. Can they do it again in 2012?

We'll also have a complete recap of Simeon's week-that-was in our Drive segment, which will include highlights of Jabari Parker's college selection press conference. We will also stay on the south side for our Allstate Athlete of the Week: Lemont's Juozas Balciunas. And 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

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00pm. The show also live streams at csnchicago.com. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30am and 8:30am the following Saturday. This week, for the first time ever in our “Viewers’ Choice” poll, we will have girls basketball as our focus:

Warren at Lake Forest, 7:00pm

Glenbrook South at Maine South, 7:00pm

Vernon Hills at Maine West, 7:30pm

Poll opens Monday at 12:00pm and closes Thursday at 4:00pm. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

**Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.

**Note the “pinned Tweet” atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.

**Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4pm Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other basketball news, scores and highlights this season.

Prairie Ridge OL Jeff Jenkins commits to Iowa

Prairie Ridge OL Jeff Jenkins commits to Iowa

Prairie Ridge junior offensive linemen recruit Jeff Jenkins (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) made an unofficial Sunday Junior Day visit to the University of Iowa and came away verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.

"I didn't want to wait," Jenkins said. "I knew I wanted to be a Hawkeye when I met the coaches at Iowa and got on campus."

Jenkins, an All-State linemen for the 2016 Class 6A state champion Wolves, received a scholarship offer from Iowa back on Jan. 13. He pointed towards the Hawkeyes history of developing NFL caliber offensive linemen as one of several keys in his early decision.

"Iowa has a great tradition of offensive linemen," Jenkins said. "I was also just really impressed with the coaches at Iowa along with the facilities and everything that they have to offer. I just knew that I couldn't pass up the opportunity at Iowa. I knew it was home."