High School Lites preview: Suburban schools square off

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High School Lites preview: Suburban schools square off

With the bulk of Chicago teams on hiatus until the start of the Public League playoffs start next week, its time to showcase some key suburban battles on High School Lites. Our CSN cameras will be all over Chicagoland Friday night. The hottest team in the area might be York high school. Can they win their 12th straight game? Can Minooka get revenge on Plainfield East? And how loud will the fans be at the Illiana Christian-Timothy Christian battle royale? Here is a snapshot of each game that we will cover on this Fridays edition of High School Lites. All rankings reflect the CSN Top 20, sponsored by The Marines:

THURSDAY GAME

Benet (15-4) @ St. Viator (17-3), 7:30pm

The host Lions are holding onto first place in the East Suburban Catholic conference. Nipping at their heels: Benet. The Redwings no longer have Dave Sobolewski and Frank Kaminsky, but they do have another D-1 prospect in 6-8 sophomore Sean OMara. St. Viator has a talented point guard in D.J. Morris, along with fellow senior supporting cast members of Kevin Walsh and Chris Myjak. Look for a very competitive division battle in Arlington Heights.

FRIDAY GAMES

Rich East (9-11) @ 17 Bloom (18-3), 6:30pm

Lejavious Johnson and Donald Moore are the keys to success for Bloom this season, but players like Johnny Griffin have stepped up to support the Blazing Trojans cause this year. Griffin had 10 points and six rebounds as Bloom drilled Kankakee 77-27 on Tuesday. Rich East played well against Bloom earlier in the year, falling only by nine (59-50). The Rockets, a well-balanced team, have already upset fellow Southland conference mate Rich South.

Minooka (17-6) @ 6 Plainfield East (18-1), 7:00pm

It's been a dream season so far for sixth-ranked Plainfield East, a school that has only been in existence for four years. The Bengals, who are coming off a 64-37 win over Plainfield Central Tuesday night, figure to be tested against Southwest Prairie rival Minooka. The Indians, led by guard Ben Heide, will be looking to avenge a 54-53 loss to East in December. They will match up against a talented group of Bengals, including center Brian Bennett and guard Dee Brown.

Lake Park (15-5) @ Waubonsie Valley (14-7), 7:30pm

The Lancers of Lake Park have been -- very quietly -- creeping into the fabric of upper-tier basketball program conversation in Chicagoland. It makes Fridays game at Waubonsie all the more important. LP, winners of five of six, feature a strong forward in Dominique Spencer. Waubonsie had won eight of nine but currently carry a two-game losing streak. Seniors Jared Brownridge and Demetrius Gray look to carry the load for the Warriors.

Glenbard North (13-4) @ West Aurora (16-3), 7:30pm

Friday is Senior Night at West Aurora, so it figures to be an electric atmosphere. One of those seniors, Jawan Starks, is having an exceptional season. He scored 21 points in Tuesdays 75-40 win over Naperville Central, but twisted his ankle in the second half of that game. He hopes to return Friday against a Glenbard North team featuring high-flying senior forward Josh Fleming. The Blackhawks, who defeated the Panthers 66-52 on December 16th, will look to keep pace with Naperville North in the DuPage Valley.

10 De La Salle (14-3) @ St. Rita (11-8), 7:30pm

If there was a ranking of the top 10 most thrilling games of the 2011-12 season in Chicagland, the St. Rita-De La Salle game on December 2nd have prime real estate on the list. Rita's Tony Hicks scored 31 points as the Mustangs took down the Meteors 66-64 in double overtime in the season opener for both teams. Gavin Schilling and Alex Foster power De La Salle's attack. St. Rita currently has a one game lead over DLS in the Catholic North.

Timothy Christian (11-11) @ Illiana Christian (10-10), 7:30pm

It has been said that classic rivalries are so much better when the two teams are evenly matched. Given the records, what's not to like about Timothy Christian vs. Illiana Christian? The gym in Lansing should be rocking Friday night, as usual. Illiana is coming off a 67-60 win over Fenton. Jon Zandstra is deadly from behind the arc. He had six threes against Fenton. Timothy will respond with junior guard Danny Leach. Timothy beat Illiana in Elmhurst on December 9th.

Buffalo Grove (9-12) @ Rolling Meadows (12-7)

The staff at Rolling Meadows picked a good time to have 'Pack The Place' night. The host Mustangs, first place in the Mid-Suburban East, are balanced top to bottom. Senior guard Brian Nelms is one player that will carry the offense. Buffalo Grove is on a tear. The Bison have won four straight, including Saturday's 49-39 win against Niles West. Guards Luke Potnick and Andrew Apel have contributed nicely this season.

Schaumburg (16-5) @ Fremd (13-8)

A three-way tie atop the Mid-Suburban West could be in the books Friday night if Fremd beats Schaumburg and Barrington beats Palatine. The visiting Saxons, 6-1 in the league, have won seven of their last eight. Forward Christian Spandiary and guard Kyle Bolger. Fremd is coming off a 61-30 walloping of Carmel. Adam Gorecki and Garrett Peters are two of the leaders on the Vikings, who are 5-2 in the MSW.

York (16-7) @ Lyons (8-10)

Kudos to York head coach Tom Kleinschmidt. After his team was pretty much forgotten in December, the former DePaul standout has guided his young Dukes to 11 straight wins. Junior David Cohn, one of the top point guard prospects in the state, has fueled the resurgence. Lyons is also hot, winning six of their last seven. Senior guard Kenneth Smith will lead the Lions into this West Suburban Silver showdown.

Every Friday night, High School Lites will bring you scores and highlights from around Chicagoland. Well also take an in-depth look at Plainfield East High School, our Muscle Milk Team of the Week. Amazingly, East has only been in existence for four years and yet they boast a top-10 program. What has been the key to their success? Plus, well feature a former 6-8 Morton Mustang star in our Flashback segment, and youll get caught up on the top-ranked Simeon Wolverines, who will be featured in our Drive segment, sponsored by Greater Than. This weeks episode will appear at 11:30pm, just after our Chicago Blackhawks hockey coverage.

High School Lites streams live every Friday on CSNChicago.com.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well. Check us out at: csnchicagowebsite@comcastsportsnet.com

Nikola Mirotic and why the Bulls traded their second-round pick

Nikola Mirotic and why the Bulls traded their second-round pick

The Bulls entered rebuild mode on Thursday night after they dealt Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. They acquired a pair of guards in Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick which they used to select Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen.

But the Bulls opted not to continue adding youth to their roster when they sold their second-round pick, No. 38 overall, to the Golden State Warriors. That pick was Oregon power forward Jordan Bell, who many considered a late first-round prospect.

The move was perplexing for a team that hours earlier had traded away its franchise player to start a youth movement. But VP John Paxson said after the draft that the decision to move the pick was based on team depth, hinting at a significant move the Bulls will make in free agency.

"We had some wings on our board that we had targeted that were the only way we were going to keep that (No. 38) pick, and they went before us. And drafting Lauri (Markkanen), and the fact that we have, Niko’s a restricted free agent we intend to bring back, Bobby Portis, we didn’t want to add another big and that’s really all that was left on our board."

Both Paxson and general manager Gar Forman have said since the season ended that Mirotic, who will become a restricted free agent on July 1, is part of their future plans. The Bulls will be able to match any contract that another team offers Mirotic, and they intend to keep the 26-year-old in Chicago. After Butler's departure, Mirotic is now the longest tenured member of the Bulls. He's been with the team for three seasons.

The wings Paxson may have been referring to include Miami's Devon Reed (32nd overall to Phoenix), Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu (33rd overall to Orlando) or SMU's Semi Ojeleye (Boston, 37th overall). Point guards Juwan Evans (Oklahoma State) and Sterling Brown (SMU) were still on the board and potential options, but the Bulls were set on looking for wing help after receiving point guard Kris Dunn and shooting guard Zach LaVine in the Butler trade.

The Bulls frontcourt depth looks filled, as Cristiano Felicio is expected to return behind Brook Lopez. Mirotic, Portis, Markkanen and Joffrey Lauvergne should make up the power forward depth chart. Opting against using the 38th pick, which Golden State bought for a whopping $3.5 million, also leaves the Bulls with room to add a 13th player in the fall.

"It keeps us at 12 roster spots and gives us real flexibility for our roster," Paxson said. "So we didn’t just want to use up a roster spot on a player that we probably wouldn’t have kept."

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some guys played cards. The soccer ball got kicked around in spite of the close quarters in the visiting clubhouse. There was dancing. A magic trick or two was attempted. A few players even tried to get in a nap.

White Sox players found myriad ways to keep themselves occupied during Thursday’s draining 4-hour, 50-minute rain delay -- the longest in Minnesota Twins history.

Yet despite not knowing what time the game may start, White Sox players found a way to overcome the uncertainty and stay engaged. Similar to May 26 when the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers was cancelled, the White Sox figured out how to go from zero to 60 in mere seconds. Though there’s no exact formula for success, the White Sox seem to have figured out a way to endure the elements and get out quickly. On early Thursday evening, the White Sox overcame the rain and misery to jump ahead of the Minnesota Twins en route to a 9-0 victory at Target Field.

“We keep it real loose whether,” veteran third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have a good time. We enjoy each other’s company. Win lose or draw, tomorrow’s a new day. Today we kept working hard and we knew we had a game to play and eventually we were going to play it. We turned it on at the right moment.”

Jose Quintana saw so much of his iPad that eventually he had to turn it off out of sheer boredom. Thursday’s starting pitcher was almost able to complete two feature-length movies during the rain delay. Quintana, who excelled with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, watched ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and ‘Get Out’ on his iPad during the delay.

While he liked the action movie, Quintana wasn’t as fond of the latter, though he admits he’s not a big fan of horror movies.

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“I think it was bad because too much time in front of the iPad,” Quintana said. “It made me bored.

“I just tried to stay relaxed, focused on the game. … Tried to come back and work a little bit. It’s a little hard, but we don’t have control so stay focused on the game.”

Whereas the White Sox determined when they played last month at home -- they cancelled Game 1 of a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and pushed the second game back to 8 p.m. because of rain -- this time was in the Twins’ hands. The forecast called for rain all afternoon before things cleared up around 5 p.m.

While the White Sox were in limbo as to when they would play, they had a pretty good idea that eventually they would.

“It’s miserable,” Frazier said. “You try and find some things to do, play cards, hang out with the guys. If you had a set time it would help. But we came out banging in that first inning. It’s huge.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria is impressed with how his team has handled both long days. The White Sox also defeated the Tigers 8-2 on May 26th. While Renteria and his coaching staff spent a lot of his time preparing for their upcoming home series against the Oakland A’s, he’s pleased with how his players managed themselves through the uncertainty.  

“They’re the ones who are dealing with the chaos,” Renteria said. “They’re the ones who play the game and who have to have their minds to be ready to go out and perform. They’ve been able to respond well. It’s part of who they are, their character, and hopefully it’s something they continue to be able to do and build on.”