Okafor leads Whitney Young over Westinghouse

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Okafor leads Whitney Young over Westinghouse

By: Patrick Z. McGavin
SeasonPass.com

Westinghouse entered its showdown against No. 2 Young hyped, excited and hopeful. It only took a few moments for Jahlil Okafor to deflate the heightened expectations.

The star 6-11 Dolphins junior center blocked a shot, grabbed a loose ball and promptly ignited a fastbreak he finished with a rim-wrecking dunk.

It went spectacularly downhill from there for the Warriors.

With Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Illinois coach John Groce part of the packed house, Okafor made Westinghouse suffer a very unlucky 13, going a perfect 13-of-13 from the floor in scoring 27 points as the host Dolphins destroyed the previously unbeaten and No. 25 Warriors 98-49 Friday.

Okafor played just 16 minutes and added nine rebounds, six blocks, two assists and a steal for the Dolphins (3-0, 2-0 Red-West). This was our first home game, and we were ready to come out and make a statement, he said.

Westinghouse (7-1, 1-1) scored the games opening basket on a soft jumper by Marlik Williams. Okafor scored eight points during a 14-0 Young explosion. He added three blocks during the charge, indicative of the Dolphins defensive intensity. My coaches have been stressing with me a lot about improving my defense, and Ive been spending a lot of time working on that part of my game, he said.

Westinghouse stayed around for a quarter, trailing just 15-7. Six-nine junior forward Paul White scored six of his 12 points during the quarter as Young blitzed Westinghouse with a 26-9 run for a commanding 41-16 lead at the break. White added seven rebounds and three blocked shots. The interior defense forced Westinghouse players to repeatedly force or rush shots at the rim. Westinghouse managed only six field goals in the first half.

It did not help Westinghouse its biggest inside player, 6-5 center Darrell Gant, suffered a shoulder injury early in the second quarter and did not return. Okafor was unstoppable. In the third quarter, he scored 15 points during a 33-point explosion. He punctuated his dominant performance by hitting a soft elbow jumper and a three-pointer from the top of the key. I got frustrated over the summer about always being double-teamed, and I spent a lot of time working on my shot, he said.

Junior swingman L.J. Peak scored eight of his 12 points in the first half. Sophomore Joseph Toye contributed 12 points off the bench. Senior guard Miles Reynolds added eight points. Ten different Young players scored. Even with two transfers and several players in their first year of varsity competition, Young has demonstrated impressive chemistry. I can truthfully say on this team everybody really likes each other, Okafor said.

Senior forward Dewan White scored 13 points for the Warriors. Junior guard Dequantis Jackson added 11 points.

The Dolphins also showed no mercy. One difference between this years team is that it doesnt take any days off, Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. We saw that Westinghouse beat a good Marshall team the other day, and that certainly caught our attention.

Ive said it already, and I dont want to detract from any of the other great players, but I firmly believe Jahlil is the No. 1 player in the country. The other thing is, I dont think theres anybody that can stick him one-one-one, Slaughter said.

62 Days To Kickoff: North Chicago

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62 Days To Kickoff: North Chicago

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 @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: North Chicago

Head coach: Addonte Adams

Assistant Coaches: Jamal Patterson OC Wilton Hill Joshua Franklin Orlando Kilpatrick

How they fared in 2016: 3-6 (2-5 Northern Lake County conference), failed to qualify for the 2016 IHSA state playoffs.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – @ Waukegan

Sept. 1 – vs Robeson

Sept. 8 – @ Round Lake

Sept. 15 - vs Grayslake North

Sept. 22 - @ Grant

Sept. 29 – vs Wauconda

Oct. 6 - vs Grayslake Central

Oct. 13 - @ Antioch

Oct. 20 - vs Lakes

Biggest storyline: Can the Warhawks get back to winning and into the state playoff field in 2017?

Names to watch this season:  Senior LB Garrett Turner Senior WR/DB Ishaun Walker Senior QB/ATH Dyshaun Gates

Biggest holes to fill: The Warhawks return a ton of starters from a season ago, however just one starter is back on the offensive line in senior OC Joseph Gaiden.

EDGY's Early Take: It's been a while since the Warhawks have been a threat in either the conference or in the state playoffs, yet that could change in 2017. North Chicago went young last season and gained a ton of playing experience in 2016. If head coach Addonte Adams can get his Warhawks to buy into his program, this has the potential of becoming a team to watch this fall. 

It’s a business, but Blackhawks still feel sting of emotional deals

It’s a business, but Blackhawks still feel sting of emotional deals

Coach Joel Quenneville stood in the United Center hallway, summing up what had been a difficult Friday.

“Very emotional deals,” he said on Saturday morning, as Day 2 of the NHL Draft commenced. “A lot to process there.”

Indeed, the Blackhawks had a busy and difficult day on Friday, trading defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona and swapping Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad in a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Quenneville was seen by media leaving a coaches meeting in between the Hjalmarsson and Panarin/Saad trades on Friday morning and he wasn’t at the Blackhawks’ table on Friday, unusual for the opening night of the draft. But he said his absence wasn’t about the trades.

“Not at all,” he said.

Still, as Quenneville said, big moves are a lot to process, even for a team that’s done its share of shedding players since the 2010 offseason. General manager Stan Bowman said Friday was filled with, “high emotions… when you make some difficult decisions.” Jonathan Toews said on Friday night that, “everyone’s kind of shocked” by recent events, including Marian Hossa’s loss. Toews added he was wary of saying the team was better today, out of respect for departed players.

“It’s hard to sit there and say that without sounding like you’re being disrespectful to two teammates you care for and know were huge parts of the team,” he said.

We talk about the business side of hockey all the time. You make the tough decisions and then you move forward. But there’s a human element to all of this that’s easy to forget. Players, especially those who are with an organization for a long time as Hjalmarsson was, make their impact on and off the ice. Teammates and coaches are spending endless amounts of time together, and those bonds, coupled with what they all go through during regular seasons and Stanley-Cup runs, endure. Saying goodbye is difficult.

For Quenneville, seeing Hjalmarsson leave was very difficult.

“Well, certainly Hammer, he’s one of those heart-and-soul guys and was instrumental in winning some championships for us. You feel for him and what he meant to his team and his teammates and fans here and the city of Chicago. He’s one of those guys that you have an appreciation to watch and see how he competes and knowing what he fights through to stay on the ice in a lot of games. He’s a heart-and-souler. Those guys are hard to see go,” Quenneville said. “Bread Man wasn’t here long enough to really get that consistency over term. But Hammer really did give a lot to the organization. And we are very appreciative of the Bread Man, because he could wow us and entertain us and a great kid, as well.”

Still, there’s the positive side. Quenneville and Toews are thrilled to have Saad back in the fold. Toews and Saad had great chemistry, the first time around and Quenneville said he’ll put those two together to start the season – “I know that [Patrick Kane] finds a way to make it happen, no matter who’s playing at center or on his left. It really adds a one-two punch that hopefully we get consistency and predictability in that area,” Quenneville said.

Saad should also help fill at least some of the void left from Hossa.

It’s another offseason during which the Blackhawks are feeling the losses, professionally as well as personally. You process, you deal with the sting and then you proceed. That’s the business.

“As a coach, we’re in the short-term business, we’re thinking about now,” Quenneville said. “So we’re going to do everything we can to better ourselves right now and looking to win today. And that’s our challenge and that’s what we look at.”