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

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.

Recruiting news and notes: Solorio's Patterson adds Northwestern offer

Recruiting news and notes: Solorio's Patterson adds Northwestern offer

Solorio junior quarterback Quincy Patterson (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) added his fifth scholarship offer on Monday from Northwestern. Patterson, a three-star recruit, also took in the Wildcats' game last Saturday against Nebraska.

"Northwestern is a beautiful school and has anything that a student-athlete can really ask for," Patterson said. "Northwestern has a great coaching staff and an extremely high graduation rate. Both of those factors are very important to me and my family. It means a lot to me that Northwestern is so strong academically plus having great coaches. Northwestern offered me as a super-back recruit."

Patterson now has offers from Northwestern along with Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico and Penn State.

Brother Rice senior running back Xazavian Valladay (6-feet, 190 pounds) has set up his first official visit.

"I'm planning to go out to make an official visit to Wyoming on October 8," Valladay said. "I'm still in touch with Wyoming along with Western Illinois, Ball State, Central Michigan plus Eastern Illinois and Youngstown State. I want to get out and see some schools in person before I make a college decision."

Valladay currently has scholarship offers from Wyoming and Western Illinois.

Palatine senior quarterback Zach Oles (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) is off to another great this season for the Pirates, and Oles has been drawing steady recruiting interest this fall.

"I've been in touch with schools like Butler, Dayton plus North Dakota State, NIU, Princeton along with several (other) Ivy League schools," Oles said. "I'm going to visit Dayton on October 8 and then I'm planning to go visit a game at Butler on October 22."

Does Oles have a time frame for making a college decision? "I'm not in any hurry to make a college choice. My focus right now is on my team and my season. I also want to take a few official visits after the season."

Peoria senior defensive tackle Kendrick Green (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) made his first official visit this past weekend to Minnesota.

"It (Minnesota) was awesome," Green, a three-star recruit, said. "They (Minnesota) are definitely on top now."

Green, who named the Gophers along with Syracuse and Central Florida as his top schools, is also planning to visit both Syracuse and UCF before making his college choice.