A rather tame weekend as far as prime time games and even conference showdowns are concerned. But there are a few, highlighted by a showdown in O’Fallon between Kenwood and Belleville Althoff Saturday night.
Here is the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s weekend primer.
Friday, Feb. 5
■ Evanston at New Trier
A terrific rivalry with added significance due to the fact New Trier has ripped off eight straight wins. Evanston is in control of the Central Suburban League South, but the Trevians are hot and boast size and length –– something Evanston lacks with 6-5 junior Elyjah Williams out of action. Evanston will still have the best player on the floor in 6-5 junior Nojel Eastern.
■ Thornton at Bradley-Bourbonnais
Aside from a hiccup at Andrew a few weeks ago, Bradley has won 10 of its last 11 games. Micah Bradford and Zach Hollywood remain a tough 1-2 punch for the Boilermakers, who get their biggest home test of the season against Thornton and its backcourt of Sam Taylor and Pat Rucker. Thornton beat Bradley 58-44 in Harvey in mid-December.
■ Naperville North at Lake Park
A road win here and Naperville North will virtually wrap up at least a share of the DuPage Valley Conference. These two met in early December, with North beating Lake Park 70-67. The Huskies are balanced, led by junior Mitch Lewis, senior guard Jelani McClain and a host of capable scorers. After winning eight straight, Lake Park (14-6) has dropped its last two, including a 49-26 loss to Wheaton-Warrenville South. But the Lancers, who have shown an ability to win tight games this season, rely heavily on versatile 6-5 senior Kenny Bogus.
■ Benet Academy at Marist
With five games left in which it will be favored and sitting here in early February with 19 wins, it’s pretty remarkable the regular season Benet is in the midst of putting together. Marist has a pretty sparkling record of its own at 17-4 and could have the most talented player on the floor in this one in Chamar Hawkins. The difference, however, is Benet has beaten Fenwick and has several quality wins under its belt. Marist, meanwhile, is still in search of that signature win on the season. A win over a ranked, 19-win Benet team would do the trick.
■ Downers Grove South at Hinsdale South
Downers Grove South needs this road win to keep pace with Proviso East in the West Suburban Gold. With similar records, this one could separate the two come sectional seeding time. DGS (16-7) is fueled by senior guard Sam Ebersold and the junior duo of T.J. Clifford and Denis Alibegovic. Hinsdale South (15-7) will ride big man and Northwestern recruit Barret Benson as far as he can take the Hornets.
Saturday, Feb. 6
Bank of O’Fallon Shootout at O’Fallon
■ St. Joseph vs. Christian Brothers (MO)
Nick Rakocevic and company get a CBC team that’s 13-7 and is led by point guard Jordan Barnes, an Indiana State recruit. Barnes averages 17 points a game while 6-8 senior Duane Clark provides some size to contend with Rakocevic.
■ Morgan Park vs. Hazelwood Central (MO)
Will the top-ranked team in Chicago get a test from an 18-win Hazelwood Central? With Kansas State recruit Xavier Sneed (19.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and 6-6 Dominique Dobbs (17.2 ppg) leading the way, Charlie Moore and the Mustangs have themselves an opponent that will help prepare them for a city and Class 3A run in coming weeks.
■ Kenwood vs. Belleville Althoff
The game of the week in Illinois. Althoff (19-2) is a Class 3A state title contender with just one loss –– to St. Louis Chaminade and the great Jayson Tatum –– since the football-playing stars returned from an Althoff state title run this past fall. Junior Jordan Goodwin (16.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is a star and stat-sheet stuffer, but the Crusaders have so much talent and depth. Althoff boasts UIC recruit Tarkus Ferguson (14.6 ppg), Southern Illinois recruit Brendon Gooch (13 ppg) and promising juniors in Marvin Bateman (12.8 ppg) and C.J. Coldon. Althoff will get the very best from a Kenwood team aching for a confidence-building, showcase win.