By Joe Collins
Chicago's South Side and south suburbs get a lot of love when it comes to high school basketball. And why shouldn't they? Simeon, Whitney Young and Morgan Park --the top three teams in the CSN Top 20-- have owned the local scene this season and all three have raised eyebrows on the national stage. Bloom and Marian Catholic, two Chicago Heights powers, have had amazing runs so far as well.
But it's time to show some love to the schools up north.
Comcast SportsNet's High School Lites, presented by Discount Tire, will profile several marquee games Friday night, including an intriguing Fox Valley 'Fox' matchup of Crystal Lake Central and Hampshire. The Tigers and host Whip-Purs are deadlocked at the top of the division with identical 6-1 records. Central, guided by 6-7 center Kyle Fleck, destroyed Hampshire 65-33 at CLC back on January 5th. Senior guard Tyler Crater will lead Hampshire in a revenge-minded effort. The game will undoubtedly give the winner momentum in the conference race.
The Fox Valley 'Valley' features Huntley in the driver's seat. Can McHenry give them a run? Also, the St. Viator Lions of Arlington Heights made some noise last week in taking down Marian Catholic. Can they do the same against Benet? Wilmette should be rocking as Loyola entertains St. Ignatius, with first place in the Catholic North at stake. Likewise in Rolling Meadows and Glenview, with two prime matchups in girls basketball. Plus, if you're near Rogers Park Friday, you may want to check out Latin vs. Parker at Loyola University's Gentile Arena. It's a classic rivalry game between two of Chicago's Independent School League.
Here is a rundown of each game CSN will profile on this week's episode of High School Lites. The rankings reflect the latest CSN Top 20 ranking:
No. 9 Orr at No. 2 Whitney Young, 6:30 p.m.
No. 10 Bloom at Rich East, 6:30 p.m.
Stagg at Andrew, 7:00 p.m.
St. Ignatius at Loyola, 7:00 p.m.
Crystal Lake Central at Hampshire, 7:00 p.m.
McHenry at Huntley, 7:00 p.m.
Parker vs. Latin, 7:30 p.m. at Loyola University/Gentile Center
St. Viator at No. 7 Benet, 7:30 p.m.
Hersey at Rolling Meadows, 6:00 p.m.
Maine South at Glenbrook South, 7:30 p.m.
Our highlights will also include a Thursday tilt between Chicago Public-Green South foes Kennedy and Solorio. The host Sun Warriors of Solorio Academy have very quietly encroached on the 20-win mark this season. Will they be able to tame one of their biggest rivals on the south side?
A team with IHSA state final credentials will wear our Muscle Milk Team of the Week badge this week. The Blazing Trojans of Bloom finished fourth in the state last year. They have an experienced core of talent that could propel them to Peoria once again. Dejahown Freeman, Johnny Griffin and Zerrell Jackson will be tough to contain down the stretch.
Our Allstate High School Athlete of the Week was quite the hero last Friday. Lincoln-Way North's Denton Wallace launched a 3/4-court bomb at the buzzer, banking it in, giving Lincoln-Way North a miraculous win over Stagg. We'll hear how Wallace became the hero of the night and became an internet sensation in the process:
You can catch High School Lites, presented by Discount Tire, on CSN and CSNChicago.com following Blackhawks-Canucks hockey on Friday night. The show will re-air Saturday morning at 7:30 and 8:30.
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