High School Lites Preview: Basketball is back

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High School Lites Preview: Basketball is back

The road to Peoria starts here.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago is your home for high school basketball coverage. Every Friday night at 10:30, High School Lites will bring you scores and highlights from the Chicagoland hardwoods. We'll also have in-depth feature stories and take a look back down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment.

This week, we catch up with former college basketball standout Tom Kleinschmidt. The former DePaul and Gordon Tech star is now the head Duke on the sidelines at York. How has he adjusted to high school coaching? Our Gail Fischer has the story.

Here is a snapshot of each Friday night game Comcast SportsNet will be covering this week on High School Lites:

Andrew at Thornton, 6:30 p.m.

Is this the year that Andrew finally busts through? The Thunderbolts (3-0) have a pair of brothers that could make waves come playoff time: Jawad Adekoya (6-3 Sr. F) and his younger brother Jubril (6-5, Jr. F). Thornton (0-3) will contend in the Southwest Suburban Red, but they face learning curves after losing eight seniors from last years team.

Reavis at Hillcrest, 6:30 p.m.

The visiting Rams (2-2) might have their hands full in Country Club Hills Friday night. But will Hillcrest be looking ahead to Saturdays clash with top-ranked Simeon? The Hawks (3-1) are loaded in the frontcourt, with Jayone Troutman (F) and Jalen Loving (F) leading the way for coach Don Houstons crew.

Joliet West at Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m.

The 3-1 Tigers could end up pushing H-F for tops in the Southwest Suburban Blue conference. Center Marlon Johnson is the go to guy for West. Can they hang with a Vikings team considered to be one of the best in Chicagoland? H-F (3-1) is loaded, with football-turned-basketball star Tim Williams (F) leading the way.

St. Rita at De La Salle, 7:30 p.m.

Circle this game as the best matchup of the night. De La Salle (4-0) lost guard Jaylon Tate to Simeon, but the Meteors have more than enough gas in the tank with 6-9 Gavin Schilling, a transfer from Germany, being a true difference-maker. Same applies for Tony Hicks (G) and A.J. Avery (F) for the Mustangs (1-0), who opened their season with a win over Lake Forest Academy.
Huntley at Carmel, 7:30 p.m.

The Red Raiders (3-0) went 25-5 last season and could do some damage in March. Forward Amanze Egekeze and Guard Troy Miller are the go-to guys on offense. Huntley has already beaten Harper, St. Francis de Sales and Dundee Crown. Carmel (2-2) might face an uphill battle, but they can counter with Brandon Motzel at forward.

Lake Forest at Mundelein, 7:30 p.m.

Warren and Zion-Benton are the front-runners for a hotly-contested North Suburban Lake conference crown, but dont overlook the Scouts and Mustangs. Forward Thomas Durrett has provided a spark for Lake Forest (3-1) while Mundelein (5-0) has shot out of the gate with wins over, among others, Brooks. Keep an eye on junior guard Robert Knar.

We will also catch up with CSN's Muscle Milk Team of the Week, the Broncos of Montini High School. Quarterback John Rhode, wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp and company reflect on their third consecutive state championship. Will a four-peat be in the cards? Well also show you celebrations from other football state champions, including Bolingbrook and Prairie Ridge.

High School Lites streams live every Friday at 10:30pm on CSNChicago.com.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well by leaving comments below.

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

The Blackhawks have talked the past several games now about how they need to play better, how they need to get back to their 60-minute game. But even when you tell yourself you have to improve the message doesn't always translate into immediate action. That's especially true if, despite so-so play, you're still managing victories or still eking out a point.

Sometimes, you need a jolt to realize you have to get better. Well, that thud the Blackhawks made in South Florida ought to get their attention. 

The Blackhawks' 7-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, that "ugly, ugly game," as coach Joel Quenneville, is the latest in what's been a mediocre stretch for the team. They've been leaning on their goaltending again (please see Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa and Dallas games). Or they've been leaning on their ability to wake up in the third period after sleepwalking through the first two. Sixty-minute games and four-line rotations, such a big part of the Blackhawks' success through February and early March, have been absent.

Call it the Blackhawks' mid-March malaise.

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It hasn't been more painful because the Blackhawks have still found ways to get points. Or at least they did until Saturday night, when two "yapping" penalties – Quenneville's (accurate) description of Ryan Hartman and Marcus Kruger's unsportsmanlike calls – started the Blackhawks' demise against the Panthers. Players told the traveling media following the game that this was a wake-up call. It ought to be.

Granted, the Blackhawks' late-season issues aren't as bad as some of their fellow Western Conference teams. The Minnesota Wild are 3-10-1 in March. The San Jose Sharks have lost six in a row. This also isn't the first time the Blackhawks have gone through this late-season mediocrity.

Entering the 2015 postseason they struggled to score goals and lost four in a row (five goals in those four games). It turned out alright. Still, best to avoid bad habits.

Perhaps the Blackhawks are in a bit of a swoon because, really, there's not much for which to play in these final few games. They don't care if they win the Presidents' Trophy (and they probably won't). They're currently in first place by seven points following the Wild's 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit on Sunday. Whether the Blackhawks finish first or second, they'll start this postseason at home. 

So is this panic-inducing? No. Is it a concern? Certainly. The Blackhawks can't start thinking they'll automatically flip the switch as soon as the postseason begins.

The Blackhawks want to get their four-line rotation going again. Artem Anisimov returning in the next week or two will certainly help that. They want to get their overall game going again. The Blackhawks have been telling themselves what needs to be done for a few games now. Maybe they needed a wake-up call. On Saturday, they got it. 

Lake Park's Gino Romano goes 1-on-1 with Edgy Tim

Lake Park's Gino Romano goes 1-on-1 with Edgy Tim

Everyone who took part in the recently-held fifth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Madness charity tournament played for various charitable reasons. The Lake Park Lancers football team chose to honor a person who embodied the true meaning of service and sacrifice.

Lake Park junior linebacker Gino Romano took a few minutes to explain why they decided to play in honor of fallen Bloomingdale police officer Raymond Murrel, the first ever officer who died in the line of duty for the village.

Romano also discussed the Lancers’ offseason and the team’s overall preparation for the upcoming 2017 football slate.

I caught up with Romano at the tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds benefited the school, the DuPage Hundred Club, Team Red, White and Blue and The Pat Tillman Foundation.

Watch the following video above.