It was a busy weekend in Chicago high school basketball action as many conferences saw its top two team’s battle while the Public League and Catholic League each had tournaments on Sunday.
Here's a rundown of some things that happened over the weekend and what they mean for the future:
On Friday, I was out with our CSNChicago.com cameras for the St. Joseph at Loyola game for High School Lites. It was a tremendous game with a good crowd and ultimately the Chargers prevailed with a 44-37 road victory over Loyola. The loss was Loyola's first loss against an Illinois opponent this season as the Chargers tied for the Catholic North crown.
Now that St. Joseph is full strength, they're a major threat in Class 3A with their scoring capabilities on the perimeter. Glynn Watson is a talented floor general that can get in the lane at will, Jordan Ash is a good slasher, Joffrey Brown is a standout defender and solid mid-range shooter and sophomore center Nick Rakocevic can step out and knock down three-pointers or play on the interior. Rakocevic already has high-major interest and at 6-foot-9 with his combination of size, skill and production, he's currently the top sophomore in the state.
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Beating Loyola was a big statement win for the Chargers and on Wednesday they'll have a chance against No. 14 Mount Carmel, a team that beat the Chargers without Ash a few weeks ago. Can this full-strength St. Joseph team get revenge?
They can really defend and as long as they defend senior guard David Nichols, they have a chance to win.
In the first round of the Catholic League Tournament on Sunday, St. Joseph knocked off Providence while Mount Carmel cruised past Hales.
Upsets dictate other side of the Catholic League bracket
Some major upsets occurred on the other side of the Catholic League bracket on Sunday besides No. 14 Mount Carmel and No. 15 St. Joseph advancing.
De La Salle, a talented team that has struggled to win with consistency, knocked off Loyola to advance to the second round and they'll face No. 22 Fenwick.
Fenwick knocked off Catholic South champion St. Rita with an impressive opening-game win and Dan Dwyer poured in 23 points. Fenwick has a lot of different scoring options and have faced a very tough schedule this season. They'll be prepared for anything come March.
St. Rita is talented, but they haven't beaten a high-profile team in the area this season. They have solid wins at Hales, against Marist and Gordon Tech but they've lost to Curie, Loyola and Fenwick along with some out-of-state losses.
Gary DeCesare's ballclub is still very talented but can they string together consecutive wins against really good teams in Class 4A? It remains to be seen.
Public League Quarters keep superpowers moving
For No. 1 Curie and No. 4 Whitney Young to get by on Sunday in the Public League Quarterfinals at Chicago State, they needed balanced efforts besides the play of its superstars to get past top ten teams.
While Cliff Alexander was held to 16 points against Simeon -- just like he was at Pontiac -- the Condors defeated the Wolverines, just like in December to advance to the semifinals on Wednesday against Hyde Park.
Hyde Park knocked off Farragut in the quarterfinals and has lost to Curie twice during the regular season in Red-Central play -- although the last game a few weeks ago was only a two-point Curie win.
The Stamps brothers (14 points each for Joseph and Joshua) and Devin Gage (13 points) came through for Curie as the four starters got the Condors past Simeon; another impressive win for Curie this season.
Whitney Young had to knock off a talented and deep Morgan Park team to get to its semifinal matchup with No. 5 Orr, the Dolphins' main Red-West rival.
Orr knocked off Red-North champion Uplift as senior Tyquone Greer had 33 points and 12 rebounds in a huge game.
Whitney Young, meanwhile, had 26 points from Miles Reynolds, who played through a cut on his head, and 19 points from Jahlil Okafor as the Dolphins continue their quest to repeat as City Champions and move on to the state playoffs.
Miles Reynolds continues to have an All-Area season and has played well in a lot of big games. Paul White is also getting back into the lineup after dealing with injury in the last week.
Curie and Whitney Young could be on a collision course for the city championship, but they have to get by familiar conference opponents first. For Curie, it’s never easy to beat the same team three times in one season as they have to do with Hyde Park and Whitney Young has to play a deep and experienced top-5 team that will be looking for revenge after the last loss.
The semifinals on Wednesday at Chicago State should be good.