Curie maintains top spot in CSN basketball power rankings

Curie maintains top spot in CSN basketball power rankings
January 1, 2014, 2:45 pm
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Scott Phillips

The latest edition of the CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings had some major shake-ups as we unveil the first Power Rankings of 2014. The previous top two teams, No. 1 Curie and No. 2 Stevenson, retain their spots after taking care of business at Pontiac and Proviso West respectively, while new No. 3 Marian Catholic continues its strong start after winning the McDipper.

1. Curie (10-0) (1)

The Condors finally took home the Pontiac Holiday Tournament title after 16 tries and they toppled Simeon without a dominating performance from Cliff Alexander. Things are looking good for Curie right now.

2. Stevenson (13-0) (2)

Jalen Brunson and Connor Cashaw are playing tremendous ball right now and they're a big reason why Stevenson won the loaded Proviso West Holiday Tournament over No. 4 Morgan Park.

3. Marian Catholic (10-1) (8)

The Spartans took home their second consecutive title at the McDipper as senior point guard Tyler Ulis once again won MVP honors.

4. Morgan Park (10-2) (6)

The Mustangs are back at full strength and although they lost to No. 2 Stevenson in the championship game at Proviso West, Morgan Park defeated three ranked teams — Maine South, Fenwick and Bogan — to get there.

5. North Chicago (11-1) (11)

The Warhawks have been impressive to open the year and they're a serious contender in Class 3A after winning the State Farm Holiday Classic on Monday. Their trio of talented seniors is among the state's best.

[MORE: Early observations from the holiday tournament season]

6. Orr (7-1) (3)

The Spartans played in Michigan and lost to one of the best teams from the Motor City in Detroit Pershing and VCU commit Justin Tillman, but rebounded with a win against Detroit Country Day.

7. Simeon (9-2) (7)

Robert Smith is still looking for his leader post-Jabari Parker, but he has to be pleased with the way his young team — and specifically his bench — rallied in multiple games at Pontiac.

8. Zion-Benton (12-1) (15)

Winners of the Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs, Zion-Benton knocked off Larkin in the semifinals before blowing past Carmel in the championship game. Senior Milik Yarbrough is consistently scoring for the Zee-Bees.

9. Bogan (13-2) (9)

Although Bogan lost in their rematch against Morgan Park in the semifinals at Proviso West, they had a solid week in beating No. 12 St. Joseph for third place after also knocking off Providence-St. Mel and Hillcrest.

10. Fremd (13-0) (21)

Was there a bigger statement win than the Vikings' Wheeling Hardwood Classic win over St. Viator in the championship game? Cornell commit Riley Glassman is playing great ball in the early season and this Fremd team is tough and physical.

11. Loyola (10-2) (5)

The Ramblers dropped a couple of games in Florida, but they're still unbeaten against teams from Illinois. How will Loyola fare in a loaded Catholic League North?

12. St. Joseph (11-2) (4)

Fell to top-10 teams Stevenson and Bogan after reaching the Final Four at Proviso West. Jordan Ash's jumper has really improved this season.

13. Lake Forest (12-2) (24)

Bested unbeaten York in their own event in the championship and Evan Boudreaux is getting help from a supporting cast that has played surprisingly well this season.

14. Proviso East (10-2) (14)

Lost to St. Joseph in the quarterfinals at Proviso West, but rallied with solid wins over Morton and Fenwick. Sophomore Antonio Williams can get in the paint whenever he wants.

15. Whitney Young (7-4) (10)

The Dolphins probably didn't envision a 7-4 start, but they still haven't been beaten by a team in Illinois as Player of the Year candidate Jahlil Okafor is playing great ball to start the season.

[RELATED: Holiday tournament thoughts from McDipper and more]

16. Larkin (13-2) (13)

Larkin lost in the semifinals at Jacobs to Zion-Benton but they went an impressive 8-1 during a 16-day stretch. Freshman Christian Negron is one to watch going forward.

17. St. Viator (11-2) (12)

Although the Lions fell to No. 10 Fremd in the championship at Wheeling, they're still a top-flight team with a lot of scoring punch at guard. Their big question going forward is who eases the scoring burden placed on Roosevelt Smart and Ore Arogundade?

18. York (12-1) (16)

The Dukes finally have a loss to their name following the championship game loss at their own tournament against Lake Forest, but Frank Toohey is still one of the premier post players in the area.

19. St. Rita (5-3) (19)

St. Rita hasn't played since the Iolani Prep Basketball Classic in Hawaii, but they should be healthier heading into the New Year. Fun fact: St. Rita's next two games come against De La Salle — one from Minnesota and the one from the Catholic League.

20. West Aurora (8-3) (18)

West Aurora took No. 1 Curie to the edge in the Pontiac semifinals — nearly beating the Condors in regulation and overtime — before dropping the third-place game to Oak Park-River Forest.

[HIGH SCHOOL LITES: Hoops Week 4]

21. Hinsdale Central (10-3) (NR)

The Red Devils return to the Power Rankings after a strong week at Proviso West. Hinsdale Central may have lost by a point to No. 12 St. Joseph, but won all of their other games at Proviso West for a respectable sixth-place finish among the 32-team field.

22. Oak Park-River Forest (10-3) (NR)

Also returning to the Power Rankings are the Huskies of OPRF. After a third-place finish at Pontiac and taking Simeon to the brink, the Huskies certainly have some momentum going into West Suburban Silver play.

23. Fenwick (11-4) (22)

The Friars lost to No. 4 Morgan Park and No. 14 Proviso East, but they beat previously unbeaten Rockford Auburn and a feisty Providence-St. Mel team. Sophomore point guard Mike Smith is really maturing and Northwestern commit and senior Scott Lindsey is now participating in warm-ups and should return soon.

24. Maine South (8-3) (23)

The Hawks didn't have the week they were hoping for at Proviso West, but Maine South can really play. Maine South put a scare into Morgan Park before falling to a good Rockford Auburn team.

25. Morton (7-3) (NR)

Morton knocked off previously unbeaten Uplift and lost to Stevenson and took Proviso East to overtime before falling. The duo of senior Greg Carter and junior Weisner Perez can really score.

Previously ranked: No. 17 Bolingbrook (9-2), No. 20 Uplift (12-2), No. 25 Benet (8-4)