CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins & Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (13-0)

Results: Defeated Miller Grove (GA) 59-56

This Week: Wednesday at Brooks, Friday vs. Morgan Park

Hoops Talk: The Wolverines dealt with business out of state. Now the scene shifts back to the Red-South where long-time rival Morgan Park awaits.
2 Proviso East (13-0)

Results: Defeated Morton 87-51 and Batavia 90-44

This Week: Friday vs. Willowbrook

Hoops Talk: The Pirates have a multitude of offensive weapons but take note of their defense. They forced 33 turnovers against Batavia Saturday night.

3 Curie (12-1)

Results: Defeated Muskegon Heights (MI) 70-58

This Week: Tuesday at King, Wednesday at Kenwood

Hoops Talk: Another dominant performance for Cliff Alexander (20 points, 16 rebounds). Devin Foster added 17 in Saturdays victory.

4 Warren (10-2)

Results: No games played this week (Fridays game vs. Zion-Benton was postponed)

This Week: Friday vs. Libertyville, Saturday vs. Lakes

Hoops Talk: Solid season thus far for the North Suburban Lake conferenceWarren, Mundelein, Stevenson, Libertyville and Lake Zurich all have at least 10 wins.

5 Andrew (10-0)

Results: Defeated Lincoln-Way North 42-35

This Week: Tuesday at Lincoln-Way East, Friday vs. Thornridge

Hoops Talk: Jubril Adekoya was huge down the stretch against the Phoenix, ending with a game-high 17. A 12-3 run in the second half proved to be the difference.

6 Plainfield East (12-0)

Results: Defeated Plainfield North 60-55

This Week: Friday vs. Romeoville

Hoops Talk: Dee Brown had 25 points for the Bengals, but they needed Brian Bennetts free throws in the final seconds to ice the game against North.
7 Elgin (13-1)
Results: Defeated Batavia 49-43

This Week: Wednesday vs. Larkin, Friday vs. Streamwood

Hoops Talk: Kory Brown needs two more points to reach a career total of 1,000.
8 Bogan (12-1)

Results: Defeated Bloom 76-64

This Week: Wednesday at Corliss, Friday vs. Brooks

Hoops Talk: Huge win for the Bogan program Saturday night against a ranked Bloom team, with Kendall Wesley scoring 18 of his 22 points in the fourth.
9 De La Salle (11-2)

Results: Defeated Fenwick 57-35

This Week: Tuesday at Brooks, Friday at Gordon Tech

Hoops Talk: The Meteors bounce back from the loss to St. Ignatius, as Alvin Ellis (19 points) and Gavin Schilling (14 points, 9 rebounds) lead the way.
10 Metea Valley (14-0)

Results: Defeated Lake Park 61-45

This Week: Wednesday at Waubonsie Valley, Saturday vs. St. Charles North

Hoops Talk: Sean Davis provided the spark in the third quarter against L-P, scoring six points with three steals. Statement game upcoming at Waubonsie?
11 Downers Grove South (10-2)

Results: No games played last week.

This Week: Monday vs. Fremd, Friday at Leyden, Saturday at Glenbard North

Hoops Talk: Busy week for the Mustangs, who need to keep pace with Proviso East in the West Suburban Gold.

12 New Trier (13-2)

Results: Defeated Evanston 58-48

This Week: Thursday vs. Maine South

Hoops Talk: Dartmouth-bound forward Connor Boehm was huge in a huge rivalry game. The 6-7 senior finished with 26 points and kept the Wildkits at bay.

13 Huntley (12-1)

Results: Defeated Crystal Lake Central 56-35 and McHenry 55-36.

This Week: Tuesday at Crystal Lake South, Friday vs. Prairie Ridge

Hoops Talk: The Red Raiders were impressive on the boards against C-L Central. They had a 32-14 advantage. Center Amanze Egekeze had a double-double.
14 Bloom (13-2)

Results: Lost to Rich South 47-46 and Bogan 76-64

This Week: Friday vs. Crete-Monee

Hoops Talk: Rough week for the Blazing Trojans, but Donald Moore continues to shine. He scored 19 points against Bogan.

15 Hillcrest (12-3)

Results: Defeated Evergreen Park 58-40 and Thornton 68-53

This Week: Wednesday vs. Eisenhower

Hoops Talk: Jovan Mooring ignited a 12-0 run in the second quarter against Thornton to hold off the Wildcats in Harvey. He finished with 25 points.

16 Whitney Young (6-5)

Results: Lost to Wheeling Jesuit University 55-44

This Week: Wednesday vs. Raby, Friday @ Farragut

Hoops Talk: Sophomore center Jahlil Okafor and company return to ChicagolandRed-West competition. Fridays battle against the Admirals will be intriguing.

17 St. Rita (7-5)

Results: Defeated St. Ignatius 50-42

This Week: Tournament of Champions, Springfield MO

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Tony Hicks put the Mustangs on his back in the second half against Ignatius, where he scored 15 of his 22 points.

18 St. Ignatius (11-2)

Results: Lost to St. Rita 50-42

This Week: Friday vs. St. Joseph, Sunday vs. Farragut (MLK Shootout)

Hoops Talk: Brian Howard scored 12 points Friday night against St. Rita, but could not contain Tony Hicks down the stretch.

19 Crane (8-3)

Results: No games played this week.

This Week: Wednesday vs. Westinghouse, Friday at Marshall

Hoops Talk: Marshall, Farragut, Young and the Willie Conner-led Cougars figure to all be in the running for the Red-West title chase.
20 Rich South (14-4)

Results: Defeated Bloom 47-46

This Week: Friday vs. Rich East

Hoops Talk: A dramatic victory over Bloom gives the Stars their first taste of the Top 20. Marquell Smalls buzzer-beating layup was the difference.

Looming & Lurking: Seton, Marshall, Dunbar, Harlan, Notre Dame, Waubonsie Valley, Naperville North, West Aurora, Glenbrook North, Farragut, Foreman, Herscher, St. Viator, Homewood-Flossmoor, Mundelein.

33 Days to Kickoff: Westmont

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33 Days to Kickoff: Westmont

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Westmont

Head coach: Dan Woulfe

Assistant Coaches:  Dan McCulloch, Mitch Balek, Joe Helton, Scott Helton, Ryan Cahill

How they fared in 2016: 1-8 (0-5 Interstate 8 Small Conference), missed the 2016 IHSA state playoff field

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

August 25th @ Lake View

September 1st vs Chicago Tech Academy Charter

September 8th @ Wilmington

September 15th vs Seneca

September 22nd @ Reed-Custer

September 29th vs Peotone

October 6th @ Lisle

October 13th @ Streator

October 20th vs Plano

Biggest storyline: Can the Sentinels improve upon it's 1-8 season a year ago?

Names to watch this season:  Senior OL/DL Dustin Samoulis Senior QB Brenton Baldwin

Biggest holes to fill: The Sentinels will look to reload upfront on both the offensive and defensive lines this summer. 

EDGY's Early Take: Westmont first year head coach Dan Woulfe, who takes over for Hall of Fame head coach Otto Zeman this fall will look to get the Sentinels back on the winning track. Westmont welcomes back 9 starters (4 offense 5 defense) and the biggest key will be finding new linemen to step up this fall.

Confident Blackhawks youth ready to take the next step

Confident Blackhawks youth ready to take the next step

Ryan Hartman likes how he feels approaching this season, his sophomore stint with the Blackhawks. Scoring 19 goals, earning the trust of the coaches and gaining a good deal of responsibility in your rookie season will do that for you.

“It’s feeling like I should be there,” he said on Friday. “Maybe sometimes when you first get called up, you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m here,’ and you’re still thinking about that. Now it’s just feeling like hockey for me and how it’s always supposed to be.”

More confidence is there for Hartman, as well as a few other young Blackhawks players who cut their teeth last year. That’s good, because those guys, having shown what they can do, will likely get more responsibility this season.

That includes Nick Schmaltz, who will either get first crack at the second-line left wing vacancy or help the Blackhawks at center, which he says is his preference “but I’m fine with wing, too.” Schmaltz struggled to start last season but following a few games in Rockford, he returned a more confident player. He played well with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik on the top line and filled in for Artem Anisimov later in the season.

“I was nervous coming in. I didn’t know if it was going to work and I gained confidence game by game and felt more comfortable,” he said. “I was making the plays I’m used to making.”

When Tanner Kero was recalled right before Christmas, it was because of Anisimov’s injury. But outside of a bye-week return to Rockford Kero turned that call-up into a full-time gig, giving the Blackhawks another bottom-six center option and earning himself a two-year contract. With Marcus Kruger and Dennis Rasmussen no longer here, Kero is expected to have that third- or fourth-line center role; thanks to experience gained last season, Kero’s more comfortable now.

“It was great,” he said. “Going in, you’re not sure. It’s day-to-day to start and you just want to prove yourself and get those opportunities, get trust and more ice time. As the season went on I got more confident, trusted my game more. Going into the season I’m going in with a lot more confidence.”

John Hayden felt fairly comfortable when he joined the Blackhawks last spring thanks to his senior season at Yale – “I needed that fourth year as a player and a person,” he said. Still, getting in some NHL games, getting a feel for the pro level and gaining familiarity with the Blackhawks will benefit him in September.

“It’s important considering it’s my first training camp and I’ll know a lot of the guys, which helps a ton. From an on-ice standpoint, I have that experience,” he said. “I’ve spent a ton of time addressing areas in need of improvement all in all I’m excited for training camp.”

But Hartman and others don’t see it as weight on their shoulders.

“I don’t think there’s pressure,” Hartman said. “When you look back you want to see improvements every year, you want to see yourself becoming a better hockey player. That’s something I want to do, I want to be able to look back and say I had a good career my first year but each year I got progressively better. That’s where my mindset is at.”

There’s more opportunity for the young players but Hayden says that’s true of everyone.

“I don’t really analyze opportunity. Regardless of the team, it’s going to be competitive,” he said. “Every summer you have to have a hard-working mindset and do what you can to show up in the fall in the best shape of your life.”

The Blackhawks’ young players have all set the bar at a certain level and will be expected to improve. It takes confidence to take that next step. Thanks to experience gained last season, they’re feeling good about taking it.