Dawkins, St. Benedict eye No. 1 seed

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Dawkins, St. Benedict eye No. 1 seed

As St. Benedict coach Tom Horn saw it, last Sunday's 72-29 loss to Du Sable was a bad as it looks. "Horrendous. It was a wash. We agreed to play with a running clock in the second half," he said.
 
But there were extenuating circumstances. Lamon Dawkins, St. Benedict's best player, was sidelined with an injury. Only two starters and four reserves dressed. The other players were injured or sick.
 
But Dawkins, a 6-foot senior guard who scored 91 points in three games last week, was back in uniform on Tuesday. He scored 24 points and Marshawn Williams added 17 in a 66-32 romp over Christian Liberty to boost the Bengals' record to 17-4.
 
So all is well as St. Benedict braces for Friday night's all-important assignment against Hope Academy. The winner will claim the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A regional tournament. Last year, St. Benedict finished 21-8, losing to Hope in the regional final.
 
"We've never been farther than the regional," Horn said. "The best team our school has ever had was in 1974. We ranked No. 8 in the state. But we lost to Niles West in the Class AA regional."
 
How good is this team? "We're very young. We have a little point guard who has to learn how to pass the ball. But we have the potential to do something that the school has never done before," Horn said.
 
That's because Dawkins has emerged as one of the most dynamic players in the city. Last week, he had 29 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a victory over Chicago Latin, 31 points and 10 rebounds in a victory over Ellison and 31 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over Mather.
 
Horn describes Dawkins, who has a 40-inch vertical jump, as "a high Division II prospect with athletic ability." The youngster wants to play in Division I. He said he has interest from DePaul, Bradley, Loyola, Eastern Illinois, Butler and Florida A&M.
 
All are waiting to see his ACT score. He is a B/C student but scored only 14 on his first ACT. "I'm just not good at testing. I can study all I want but I don't test well. I do well in tests in school. I concentrate as hard as I can and try my hardest but I don't do well on the ACT."
 
He is reading ACT books and is working with a tutor to improve his ACT score. He'll retake the test in February. "I really want to go to a Division I school. I have the grades but I must get the ACT," he said.
 
On the basketball floor, he prefers to play shooting guard. But he understands that if he doesn't grow, he'll be a point guard. "I like to come off screens and shoot a jumper or drive to the basket," he said.
 
He is averaging 20 points per game. A year ago, he averaged 23. But he isn't even the leading scorer on his team this season. Sophomore point guard Marshawn Williams, a 5-foot-5 sophomore going on 5-foot-3, is averaging 24. Williams, who grew up a block from St. Ignatius, ended up at St. Benedict because no other school wanted to take a chance on such a short player.
 
"He takes a lot of attention off me," Dawkins said of Williams. "As long as we win, I don't care if he scores more points or doesn't pass me the ball."
 
Other starters are 6-foot-3 sophomore Johnathon Rasool (7 ppg, 11 rpg), 6-foot senior Israel Aragon (5 ppg) and 6-foot-3, 250-pound Earl Briggs (8 ppg, 8 rpg).
 
They get a boost from assistant coach Manny Weincord, who won more than 500 games while coaching at Roosevelt for more than 30 years.
 
"He's my favorite coach," Dawkins said. "He always talks to me. 'You can do it,' he says. In a game, when I'm upset, he makes me laugh and gives me confidence. He tells stories about all the games he won.

Class 1A-2A IHSA Girls Basketball State Championships on CSN

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Class 1A-2A IHSA Girls Basketball State Championships on CSN

CSN Chicago will be carrying live coverage of the IHSA Girls Basketball State Championships beginning on Friday and Saturday with Class 1A and 2A. Each telecast will be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and IHSA.tv, and will be made available via the NBC Sports app on tablets and smart phones.

CSN will also air highlights packages throughout the weekend, and live stream every postgame press conference.

Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com's Channel finder or IHSA.org for complete channel location details for all games throughout the state. 

[LIVE STREAM: Watch the IHSA Girls Basketball State Championships on CSN]

For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN's live streaming service, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  

Here's what the schedule looks like this weekend:

Friday, Feb. 24:

Class 1A Semifinal No. 1: Annawan 51, Harvest Christian Academy 42

Class 1A Semifinal No. 2: Mendon Unity 42, Calhoun 34

5:30 p.m. – Class 2A Semifinal No. 1: Byron vs. Central [Coop] (Camp Point)

7:15 p.m. – Class 2A Semifinal No. 2: St. Edward (Elgin) vs. Central Catholic (Bloomington) 

Saturday, Feb. 25:

11 a.m. – Class 1A: Consolation game (Teams TBD)

12:45 p.m. – Class 1A: Championship game (Teams TBD)

5:30 p.m. – Class 2A: Consolation game (Teams TBD)

7:15 p.m. – Class 2A: Championship game (Teams TBD)

High School Lites Week 13 basketball capsules

High School Lites Week 13 basketball capsules

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland for another basketball edition of High School Lites. Catch the show live at 11 p.m. Friday on CSN and streaming at CSNChicago.com. 

This week's show has a postseason feel to it with a lot of Class 1A and Class 2A regional championships being decided on the boys side while the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals will also have highlights.

We'll have highlights from the Interstate Eight as well.

And this week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is St. Rita senior wrestler Austin O'Connor as he just became the 15th wrestler in IHSA history to win four state championships. O'Connor completed his second consecutive unbeaten season last weekend and finished his IHSA career 181-4 as he's planning on going to North Carolina.

FRIDAY

Plano at Sandwich, 7:00 p.m. -- The regular season is still finishing up and this one is important in the Interstate Eight. Plano (20-6, 9-1) is trying to hold on to a one-game conference lead. Sandwich (15-11, 8-2) is only a game behind in conference play going into Senior Night, so it should be a great atmosphere. 

Luther North vs. Waldorf, 7:00 p.m. 1A St. Benedict Regional Championship -- No. 1 seed Luther North is hoping for its second regional title in three years as they take on Waldorf. Luther North (19-8, 9-2) advanced by beating North Shore Country Day in the semifinals. Waldorf (19-8, 10-0) went through the Lake Shore Athletic unscathed as they are the No. 5 seed. Waldorf beat No. 4 seed Ida Crown to advance earlier this week.

No. 21 Uplift at No. 11 Orr, 7:00 p.m. 2A Orr Regional Championship -- The game of the night features two legitimate Class 2A state title contenders -- meeting for a regional title. It's unfortunate that these two fixtures in the CSN Preps Power Rankings have to play so soon but this should be interesting. Orr (17-5, 8-2) was one of the Red-West's toughest teams this season as junior Raekwon Drake leads a balanced team. Uplift (22-5, 10-0) was bounced early from the Public League Playoffs by Farragut so they'll be motivated in this one. The Red-North champions feature the dynamic duo of brothers Demarius Jacobs (senior; Southern Illinois) and Markese Jacobs (sophomore; Kansas).

Leo at U-High, 7:00 p.m., 2A Chicago U-High Regional Championship --  Another quality matchup of city teams in Class 2A as Leo travels to U-High. The Lions (19-8, 5-2) finished second in the Catholic South this season as they move up to Class 2A after a runner-up finish in Class 1A last season. U-High won a Class 2A regional in its own gym in dramatic fashion last season as they're hoping to earn more hardware on their home floor.

Latin at DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m. 2A DePaul Prep Regional Championship -- DePaul Prep will be favored in this one as they host Latin in another Class 2A regional final. The Rams (19-9, 7-2) were one of the top teams in the Catholic North this season as they're a state title contender in Class 2A. Latin (12-12, 6-6) has some young talent, including sophomore 

Timothy Christian at IC Catholic Prep, 7:00 p.m, 2A IC Catholic Prep Regional Championship -- This should be a good matchup in Class 2A as Timothy Christian heads to IC Catholic Prep. Timothy Christian (17-10, 8-4) finished second in the Metro Suburban Red this season while IC Catholic (20-7, 10-2) was second in the Metro Suburban Blue. These two teams played on Jan. 20 with IC Catholic winning 61-46. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL CLASS 1A & 2A SEMIFINALS

Harvest Christian Academy vs. Annawan, 11:00 a.m. -- Harvest Christian Academy (29-3) is favored in this one as they haven't lost since Dec. 9. The Lions are led by junior guard Alyssa Iverson as she averaged 19.5 points per game this season. Annawan (26-8) also hasn't lost in 2017 as they have a balanced lineup that doesn't feature one senior on the roster. 

Mendon (Unity) vs. Hardin (Calhoun), 12:45 p.m. -- The second Class 1A semifinal features Mendon against Calhoun. Mendon (23-10) got hot at the right time as they've won five straight tournament games since dropping its regular-season finale. Calhoun (27-5) is led by senior forward Grace Baalman as she's averaging 23.2 points per game.

Byron vs. Camp Point (Central ) - 5:30 p.m. -- A couple of 30-win teams matchup in the first game of the girls Class 2A semifinals. Byron (32-2) hasn't lost since Jan. 6 as they've won all but one of those games by double digits. Camp Point (Central) has bounced back nicely since losing the regular season finale as they're a balanced scoring team. 

St. Edward vs. Bloomington Central Catholic - 7:15 p.m. -- Another Elgin-area school headlines this one as St. Edward faces Bloomington Central Catholic. The Green Wave (27-5) are led by senior guard Maddie Spagnola as she's averaging 21.2 points per game.