Chicago's biggest snow job in 40 years shut down Lake Shore Drive, schools, offices and transportation systems. The Blizzard of ‘11 produced more than 20 inches of snow and 60 mph winds in some locations
Not only were high school basketball games canceled, but teams weren't even able to practice for nearly an entire week. Chicago turned into Buffalo … or Anchorage.
"We were all calling each other trying to find a gym but couldn't get in anywhere because of the storm," Proviso East forward Tino Vazquez
told the Chicago Tribune.
No problem. Proviso East (Maywood)
returned Saturday and defeated rival Proviso West, 83-58. Simeon (Chicago)
(21-0), ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25
and the defending Illinois Class 4A champion, emerged from the snow to dunk Batavia at the Batavia Night of Hoops Tournament and Wells in the delayed first round of the Chicago Public League playoffs.
"We did a great job for not practicing for three days," Simeon coach Robert Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times.
When De La Salle (Chicago)
defeated St. Rita by 24 points in a Catholic League game, De La Salle coach Tom White opted to play his starters longer than usual.
"We haven't been in the gym for three days. I was trying to get the kids' conditioning back and gave them some extended time," White told Sun-Times Media.
The blizzard hit the night of Feb. 1 and carried into the next day, which happened to be national signing day for football and other college programs. But athletes and coaches were still able to get their way to a fax machine in the middle of the storm to sign National Letters of Intent and send them on their way.MORE BASKETBALL: SIMEON, BENET STILL UNDEFEATED
Simeon, which hasn't lost since Feb. 20, 2010, and Benet Academy (Lisle)
kept their unbeaten records this season rolling to 21 and 24 games, respectfully. The Wolverines played Morgan Park (Chicago)
and Louisville recruit Wayne Blackshear
in a big second-round city league playoff game Thursday night. "All we care about is winning the next game. I don't care who it's against. If (Morgan Park) wants to make it personal, they can go ahead," Smith told the Sun-Times.
Simeon and Benet will meet Feb. 19 in the City Suburban Showdown at the UIC Pavilion.
* The Bolingbrook
girls basketball team, the two-time defending state champion in Class 4A, pushed its record to 19-2 with a 71-22 Southwest Suburban win Monday over Joliet West. The Raiders are ranked No. 4 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25
. Bolingbrook begins postseason play next Tuesday, Feb. 15, when it meets Oswego or Plainfield East in the first round of the Plainfield East Regional.5 BIG PERFORMANCES
* University of Illinois 6-foot-10 recruit Nnanna Egwu
scored 24 points on consecutive nights last weekend, leading St. Ignatius to victories over Oak Park Fenwick and Evanston. In the 60-50 win over Evanston in the War on the Shore tournament played Saturday night at Loyola Academy, Egwu also had seven rebounds and four blocked shots as Illinois head coach Bruce Weber watched the game.
* Wisconsin recruit George Marshall
of Brooks missed six weeks of action because of a hand injury, then returned Tuesday and scored 19 points in a 58-48 win over North Lawndale in the first round of the Chicago Public League playoffs. Marshall's return will certainly boost Brooks, which has won 18 of 21 games.
* Benet Academy senior guard Matt Parisi
scored a game-high 19 points, leading the unbeaten and nationally No. 15-ranked Redwings to a 62-55 win over Chicago Marist. The victory clinched a second consecutive East Suburban Catholic title for Benet (24-0, 10-0).* Taricka Linzy
of Trinity (River Forest) had a layup basket, a steal and an assist in the final 1 minute, 24 seconds, leading the Blazers to a 39-36 win over Loyola Academy in the championship game of the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference (GCAC) Red Tournament. Trinity is 24-4.
* Alex Dumoulin
scored 20 points, leading the Hampshire girls to a 60-52 win over Richmond-Burton in its last Big Northern Conference game. The Whip-Purs, who move to the Fox Valley Conference next year, clinched the league title with the victory. They have won nine straight and are 24-2 overall.STORYLINES AROUND CHICAGOLAND
* Tyrone Slaughter, the head boys basketball coach at Chicago Whitney Young, is under an Illinois High School Association suspension until Feb. 14 for conducting an illegal practice. The Dolphins held a varsity practice Nov. 12 at Burr Ridge Middle School, a violation of IHSA recruiting by-laws. IHSA officials said no recruiting was uncovered at the practice, but still suspended Slaughter and placed Young's basketball program on probation for the remainder of 2011. It is Slaughter's second suspension for recruiting since 2008.
* Mt. Carmel
won its 10th consecutive regional championship in wrestling, defeating Chicago Catholic League rival St. Rita, 239-230.5 in a Class 3A match. The Caravan advanced all 14 wrestlers to individual competition in this Saturday‘s State Sectional and also advanced to the Feb. 22 Sectional semifinals at York. St. Rita‘s winners included defending state champion and unbeaten Jahwon Akui (23-0) at 171 pounds. Other team regional champions included 2010 3A finalist Sandburg (Orland Park)
, which won the 3A Lockport Regional for the seventh time in eight years.
* Beginning in fall 2011, the Illinois Boys Soccer state finals will move from North Central College in Naperville to The Corn Crib in Normal and Lincoln-Way North High School in Frankfort. The Corn Crib, which will be host to the Class 1A Finals, is home to the Normal Cornbelters, a minor-league baseball team which plays in the Frontier League. Lincoln-Way North will host the Class 2A/3A Finals. North Central College, which is also host to the state girls soccer finals, has hosted the boys tournament since 2001 and chose not to pursue a renewal due to conflicts with its football team.
* Chicago Orr High School and Chicago Henry Ford Power House Charter had their suspensions from state championship tournaments removed this week because officials from both schools attended a make-up session of the rules meeting, as required by the Illinois High School Association. Five other schools remain ineligible to participate in state championship series in all sports because of non-compliance. Paul Bowker, an online and newspaper sports journalist for 25 years and the author of two Major League Baseball books, covers the Chicago area for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.