The future of University of Wisconsin basketball is rising up in Chicago in a big way.
Wisconsin recruit Frank Kaminsky
, a 7-foot senior center, has helped Benet Academy (Lisle)
to an eye-opening 26-0 record entering the start of the Illinois Class 4A boys basketball tournament next week. In a season of big games, Kaminsky scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds in a 58-54 victory over defending 4A champ Chicago Simeon, which had risen to No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 boys basketball national rankings
Kaminsky isn‘t the only future Badger who is bringing his game. Now that he is healthy, Wisconsin signee George Marshall
led Brooks College Prep (Chicago)
to the coveted Chicago Public League championship. He scored a game-high 23 points in the 67-54 title-game win over city powerhouse and 2009 4A state champion Whitney Young.
"We're still not done. We've still got the state tournament," Marshall told the Chicago Tribune.
Brooks, a No. 1 sectional seed, is a title contender in Class 3A.
But the truly significant Chicagoland story is Benet, which not only knocked off Simeon in the City/Suburban Showdown in front of more than 8,000 last weekend at the UIC Pavilion but earlier in the season won the Proviso East holiday tournament for the first time in school history. This week in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, the Redwings jumped past Simeon (Chicago)
and into the No. 8 spot. They haven‘t lost since a double-overtime setback to Simeon in the 4A Supersectionals last year.
In addition to Kaminsky, Benet is also led by Northwestern recruit David Sobolewski
, who scored 15 points in the win over Simeon.
Benet, a No. 1 sectional seed, opens play in the 4A tournament next Wednesday against Plainfield East or Geneva in the Naperville North Regional.MaxPreps Illinois boys basketball playoff bracketsGIRLS BASKETBALL: BOLINGBROOK FACES BENET FOR SECTIONAL TITLE
Two-time defending Class 4A girls basketball champion Bolingbrook
, the No. 4 team in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 rankings
, will play Benet (24-6) for a sectional championship Thursday. The Raiders (24-2) have won their last two tournament games by an average of 38 points.MaxPreps Illinois girls basketball playoff brackets
Also, Central Catholic (Bloomington)
, which has lost one game in two seasons, will go after its second consecutive Class 2A state championship this weekend at Illinois State University in Normal. The Saints are a perfect 31-0 this season. They'll play Bishop McNamara (Kankakee)
(22-8) in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday. The winner will meet Notre Dame (Quincy)
(29-1) or Nashville
(29-4) in the title game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.
In Class 1A, River Ridge/Scales Mound (Hanover)
brings an impressive 28-1 record into its 2 p.m. Friday semifinal-round game against Ridgeview (Colfax)
(26-6). Whitney Kieffer averages 23.6 points per game for Scales Mound, which has won 24 straight and is seeking the first girls basketball state title in school history. A victory Friday would send Scales Mound into Saturday's 2 p.m. title game against Shiloh (Hume)
(29-4) or West Central co-op [Winchester-Bluffs] (Winchester)
(30-3).5 BIG PERFORMANCES
* Dre Henley of De La Salle (Chicago)
scored 28 points, leading the 20-2 Meteors to a 70-49 win over Kentucky recruit Anthony Davis and Chicago Perspectives Charter on Tuesday night. Henry also had seven rebounds and five steals. He has scored 48 points in his last two games.
* Louisville recruit Wayne Blackshear
of Chicago Morgan Park had an impressive double-double in the City/Suburban Showdown at UIC, scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a 57-54 win over Rock Island. The Mustangs (16-6) open up play in the Class 3A tournament next Tuesday against Lemont or Chicago Julian. Rock Island
is a No. 1 seed in a regional it hosts next week.
* Joey Kielbasa and Trevor Jauch of Central (Crystal Lake)
each won an Illinois state wrestling championship for the third time. Kielbasa defeated two-time state champ Stephen Robertson of Montini, 8-3, the Class 2A 152-pound title match. Jauch defeated Thomas Gantt of Cahokia, 3-1, in the 140 final.
* Jenny Covers of Prairie Ridge (Crystal Lake)
won her third consecutive state gymnastics title on the vault and also won the uneven parallel bars, the sixth and seventh gold medals of her high school career. Both scores were 9.850.
* Juanita Robinson
of Zion-Benton scored 23 points in a 57-32 Class 4A girls basketball tournament win over Hersey, earning a regional championship for the Zee-Bees (23-6). The victory tied a school single-season record for wins.STORYLINES AROUND CHICAGOLAND
* De La Salle rules in Chicago Catholic League basketball. The Meteors won their fifth consecutive Catholic League title with a 64-48 win over Chicago Hales, overcoming an early 10-point deficit to win for the 19th time in 21 games. Henley scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds. The big test for De La Salle will come in the Class 4A state tournament. The Meteors are a No. 1 seed in the Elmhurst York Sectional, and will meet Chicago Lane or Chicago Clemente on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Oak Park-River Forest Regional. Beyond that, De La Salle could meet city powerhouse Whitney Young in the sectional semifinals and defending state champ Chicago Simeon in the Supersectionals.
* Marmion Academy (Aurora)
wrestlers were perfect in the final round of the Class 2A individual championships. Five Marmion wrestlers made it to the championship round, and all five won, including freshmen Johnny Jimenez (103 pounds), Jered Cortez (112) and Bryce Brill (135).
* The Carmel (Mundelein)
girls gymnastics team repeated as state champions, winning the title by nearly a full point over Lake Forest. Kristin Mirski, a junior, won her first state title in the floor exercise and Lauren Feely, a sophomore, won the balance beam.
* The Glenbard East (Lombard)
boys basketball team finished off an unbeaten DuPage Valley Conference season for the third year in a row, defeating West Aurora, 63-59. Glenbard East (21-3) has won 27 straight in conference play. "It's a big thing for us to be able to go undefeated. Every night we step on the court, we have a big target on our back," East's Johnny Hill told the Chicago Tribune. The target will be back up Tuesday, when the Rams play Wheaton North or Naperville Central in a Class 4A Regional being hosted by Glenbard East.
* Jahwon Akui of St. Rita (Chicago)
, a senior who was unbeaten in 26 wrestling matches this season at 171 pounds, was unable to compete for a state title in last week's individual championships at the University of Illinois because he was suspended from athletic activities at St. Rita. School officials did not elaborate, citing student confidentiality rules. Akui was also a star running back at St. Rita, but wrestling was thought to be his best chance at a college scholarship. "As administrators, we hope it's a teachable moment for Jahwon. In my 15 years of experience at St. Rita, we have never put athletics in front of our three main cornerstones of academics, spirituality and family," St. Rita athletics director and head baseball coach Mike Zunica told the Southtown Star.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.