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:
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.
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.
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