Four-peat. Four-gone conclusion. Four-tifying their position.
Some analysts and prognosticators were penciling in Simeon’s fourth consecutive state championship –- and ensuing day-after headline -- before the season began. And for the most part, the Wolverines have lived up to the lofty predictions.
[RELATED: Smith, Simeon have history in their sights]
Sure, Jabari Parker and company got tripped up by Morgan Park in the Public League semifinals back in February. And yes, Simeon (28-3) looked rusty in a few nationally-televised games against out-of-state opponents. But you have to be impressed with a team that has won their IHSA playoff games by an average margin of 27 points. It appears they are, once again, peaking at the right time.
Just don’t tell that to the folks in Maywood.
Proviso East (29-3) is once again the powerhouse of the western suburbs as it was in the late '60s, mid '70s and early '90s. Paris Lee, Sterling Brown and Jevon Carter have guided the Pirates to Peoria for the second consecutive year. The two prep basketball juggernauts will meet in Friday’s 4A semifinal at Peoria’s Carver Arena — the same place that produced the epic 2012 title game between the two teams, won by Simeon 50-48. Can Proviso East get revenge and advance to the title game? And will Stevenson or Edwardsville steal the spotlight in the championship bout?
Simeon’s average margin of victory in the playoffs is one thing, but you simply have to stand back in awe on what 3A’s Morgan Park Mustangs have done. They have defeated their opponents by the following amounts: 70, 33, 63, 36 and 33 — an average of a whopping 47 points per game. Can Bartonville’s Limestone High School slow down Billy Garrett, Jr. and Morgan Park? The winner faces the winner of Orr and Cahokia.
[MORE: Garrett, Davis lead Morgan Park bid]
Here is a lineup of the 3A and 4A semifinal games at Peoria’s Carver Arena on Friday:
Bartonville (Limestone) vs. Morgan Park, 12:15 p.m.
Orr vs. Cahokia, 2:00 p.m.
Proviso East vs. Simeon, 6:30 p.m.
Edwardsville vs. Stevenson, 8:15 p.m.
The winners of the 3A games will meet for the title at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, while the 4A victors duel for the championship later that night (8:15 p.m.). Comcast SportsNet will have the latest from championship weekend in Peoria on a special 10:30 p.m. Saturday episode of High School Lites — the final show of the season.
We will also feature:
-- Illini Central and Harrisburg made all the headlines last week in Peoria, winning the IHSA 1A and 2A titles, respectively. But there was another team that hoisted a trophy on Saturday. The Windy City Warriors, an elite wheelchair basketball program, won their eighth high school title in nine years. In our Muscle Milk Team of the Week segment, we’ll profile a courageous group of student-athletes who have not let physical limitations get in the way of championship dreams.
--Speaking of elite programs, New Trier Green is synonymous with dominance on the prep hockey landscape. Their top player is versatile senior captain Brian Enriquez, who plays forward and is a solid defender. Enriquez, the leading goal scorer for the Green, earns our Allstate High School Athlete of the Week award.
--We’ll also bring you up to speed with former Simeon star Steve Taylor. Our cameras spent a day with the current Marquette Golden Eagle and find out how he’s adjusted to life on the college basketball floor. We’ll present his story in Saturday’s show, and look for an extended written and video piece on CSNChicago.com this Sunday.
--Plus, how has former Chicago Blackhawk Brian Noonan adjusted to hockey…on the prep level? He’s now the head coach of the Naperville North Huskies. What are his players learning the most from Noonan? We’ll profile Noonan, and also preview the upcoming Blackhawk Cup game slate next weekend on CSN.
--As always, we'll take a drive down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment and roll out our basketball plays of the year.
You can catch High School Lites, presented by Discount Tire, on CSN and CSNChicago.com this week at a special day and time: Saturday at 10:30 p.m. The show will re-air Sunday morning at 7:30 and 8:30.
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