Unbeaten and nationally ranked Simeon is certainly the center of hoops in Chicago, but Benet Academy (Lisle)
is quickly rising up, as well. Entering a game Friday at Nazareth Academy, the Redwings are 21-0. They are No. 17 this week in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings
And it is a quality 21-0. The Redwings impressively won the Proviso West holiday tournament for the first time in school history. Last weekend in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, the Redwings whacked Glenbard East in the High School Hoops Showdown. The Redwings' lineup includes Northwestern recruit David Sobolewski
and Wisconsin recruit Frank Kaminsky
. In other words, they're loaded.
"They're very good," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller told the Chicago Sun-Times.
How good? On Feb. 19, we'll find out. On that day, the Redwings face Simeon (Chicago)
in the 16th annual McDonald's City-Suburban Showdown at the UIC Pavilion.BLOOMINGTON CENTRAL CATHOLIC GIRLS EARN NO. 1 SEED
Defending Class 2A girls basketball champion and unbeaten Central Catholic (Bloomington)
(23-0) was among the No. 1 regional seeds named for this year's tournament. Central Catholic was placed in the Rantoul Regional, and would play in the Paxton Sectional and Decatur Super-Sectional, should the Saints keep winning. Grabbing a top seed in Class 1A was defending state champion Hinckley-Big Rock
. The Class 4A and 3A seedings will be announced Friday by the Illinois High School Association, and there is little question that one of the top seeds in 4A will go to two-time state champion and nationally ranked Bolingbrook
.5 BIG PERFORMANCES
* When it came time to deliver in last weekend‘s Chicago Public League battle between defending Class 4A boys basketball champion Simeon and title contender Morgan Park, 6-foot-1 sophomore Kendrick Nunn
stole the show. Nunn came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points with a couple of Chicago mayoral candidates and two former NBA players watching, leading Simeon (16-0), ranked No. 3 nationally by MaxPreps, to a 60-51 victory. Louisville recruit Wayne Blackshear
scored 16 for Morgan Park.
* University of Illinois-Chicago recruit Gregory Travis
scored a team-high 20 points in a Chicago Public League Red-Central showdown, leading Curie (Chicago)
to a 77-69 win over Hyde Park. The win enabled Curie (21-1) to clinch the Red-Central title. Both teams had 7-0 league records entering the game.
* Jahwon Akui
, a football and wrestling star at St. Rita (Chicago)
, won a Chicago Catholic League wrestling championship for the fourth time when he defeated Michael Paoloian of Loyola Academy 20-5 in the 171-pound title match. Akui has won all 21 matches this season and is the defending Class 3A champion at 171 pounds.
Northern Illinois recruit Claire Jakubicek
scored 25 points, and had nine rebounds and five steals in Cary-Grove's
57-52 win over 2010 Class 4A semifinalist Hersey (Arlington Heights). The Trojans have won 19 of 22 games.* Kyra Navarrete
of Oak Park Fenwick scored her 1,000th career point in a 61-44 win over Geneva. Overall, she scored 15 points and had eight rebounds as the Friars won for the 20th time in 22 games.STORYLINES AROUND CHICAGOLAND
* University of Kentucky basketball recruit Anthony Davis
of Chicago Perspectives Charter will play in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. Davis was among 10 players named to the USA Junior National Select Team, which will play the World Select Team in the nationally televised Hoop Summit on April 9 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. Davis was the only prep player from Illinois selected. Kevin Sutton of Montverde (Fla.) Academy is head coach.
* The Brooks College Prep (Chicago)
boys basketball team has double power in twins Kevin Gray
and Keith Gray
. In a 54-51 win over St. Ignatius and 6-foot-10 University of Illinois recruit Nnanna Egwu in the Whitney Young Shootout, the Gray brothers combined for 32 points and 25 rebounds. Keith had the bigger scoring day, with 17 points.
* Chicago Whitney Young‘s boys basketball team, just two years ago the toast of the state when Marcus Jordan led the Dolphins to the Class 4A title and a national ranking, has fallen into troubled waters. Despite having an Ohio State recruit (Sam Thompson) in its lineup, the Dolphins have lost five of their last six games, dropping to 11-8 overall. Tuesday night, Chicago Crane defeated Young, 60-53, for its ninth consecutive victory. The Dolphins also lost 64-61 to Hales in overtime in the Young Shootout, their own tournament. "The regular season is a pretense to the postseason. That is the most important time," Young coach Tyrone Slaughter told the Chicago Sun-Times after the loss to Crane.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