High School Lites: Sprint to the Finish

High School Lites: Sprint to the Finish
February 21, 2013, 11:00 am
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Joe Collins

Track season is underway at high schools across Illinois. Every day, coaches preach about finishing strong in every race. It's not just about seconds, but milliseconds. In track, sprinting to the finish is quite literal.
It's a little more figurative in high school basketball. But if you followed the scoreboards on Wednesday night, stagger to the finish might be a little more appropriate.
No. 14 Maine South outlasted 12th-ranked Niles North 64-61 in double-overtime to claim the Central Suburban League championship. Two extra periods were also necessary to decide the DuPage Valley title. Glenbard East, who tripped up West Aurora 58-56 back in January, took down the Blackhawks again Wednesday 76-75. Tahron Harvey scored a game-high 22 points for the Rams.

And let's not forget about ninth-ranked Benet, as Sean O'Mara's free throw with no time remaining lifted the Redwings to a 48-47 triumph against Nazareth. Benet, like Glenbard East, now boasts league titles in three of the last four seasons.
And the basketball madness -- February madness, if you will -- is just beginning.
Comcast SportsNet will feature several more conference, regional, sectional and state semifinal duels on Friday night's edition of High School Lites. One of the most intriguing matchups of the night will take place in Country Club Hills, where Hillcrest hosts Lemont with the South Suburban conference title at stake. And just like last year, Jovan Mooring and the Hawks bring a one-game lead into action. Last year, the Indians erased a 14-point halftime deficit to win 58-57. It gave Lemont a share of the league title. Can lightning strike twice for Juozas Balciunas and company?
The last time Lincoln-Way North and Stagg met on the basketball court, Denton Wallace had the jaw-dropping game-winner. The rematch takes place Friday night in Palos Hills as the Chargers host the Phoenix. Both underrated teams are encroaching on the 20-win mark and figure to be tough outs as the playoffs begin next week.
[MORE: Lincoln-Way North seeks to build tradition]
As for the girls, Walther Lutheran is back in the state semifinals for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Head coach Todd Fisher leads the Lady Broncos into Redbird Arena to take on Nashville in class 2A. Montini will look to take one more step closer to Bloomington-Normal themselves as they battle Glenbard South in Friday's 3A Nazareth sectional championship.
Here is a snapshot of every game that CSN will profile in Friday's High School Lites. The rankings reflect the latest CSN Top 20:
(5) Oswego at Romeoville, 6:30pm
Montini vs. Glenbard South, 7:30pm
(15) Lemont @ Hillcrest, 6:30pm

Lincoln-Way North @ Stagg, 7:00pm

Argo @ Richards, 7:00pm

2A Seton Academy Regional Championship: Seton Academy vs. Illiana Christian, 7:30pm

1A Luther North Regional Championship: Hope Academy vs. Luther North, 7:30pm

1A Raby Regional Championship: Providence-St. Mel vs. Raby, 7:30pm

1A State Semifinal: Annawan vs. Freeport (Aquin), 12:00pm

1A State Semifinal: Mt. Pulaski vs. Cowden-Herrick, 2:00pm

2A State Semifinal: Nashville vs. Walther Lutheran, 6:30pm

2A State Semifinal: El Paso-Gridley vs. Champaign (St. Thomas More), 8:15pm
Also on the show:
--We'll have a preview of Saturday's City-Suburban showdown, featuring six prime Chicagoland basketball powers. The lineup features De La Salle taking on Proviso East, Whitney Young squaring off against Benet and Simeon battling Marist.

--Our cameras head north to Wilmette to feature Loyola Academy, the Muscle Milk Team of the Week. The Ramblers are a bit of a surprise this season, eclipsing the 20-win mark. We'll take a look at their recent success and how they're preparing for postseason action.
--Another surprise team is Lakes High School from the North Suburban Prairie conference. The Eagles are 22-6 and feature Allstate Athlete of the Week Jake Kohler. This Lake Villa high school is a relative newcomer on the block (eight seasons of varsity play), but they've already put together back-to-back 20-win seasons.
--As always, we'll check out the top plays from last week and take a spin down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment.

You can catch High School Lites, presented by Discount Tire, on CSN and csnchicago.com this Friday night just after our Blackhawks-Sharks coverage and SportsNet Central.  The show will re-air Saturday morning at 7:30 and 8:30.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well. Check us out at: highschoollites@comcastsportsnet.com