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The top 30 high school basketball games of the season

All high school basketball fans can get the calendar out and circle these dates to catch 30 must-see regular-season games. 

Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt (2) controls the ball as the Mustangs play Kankakee.
Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt (2) controls the ball as the Mustangs play Kankakee.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

With all the Thanksgiving tournaments wrapped up, it’s time to look ahead. All high school basketball fans can get the calendar out and circle these dates to catch 30 must-see regular-season games.

Glenbrook South vs. Glenbard West, Dec. 5

A monster matchup featuring two top five teams and Player of the Year candidates in Braden Huff and Nick Martinelli.

Marian Catholic at Bolingbrook, Dec. 8

Speed, speed and more speed. A fun early-season non-conference matchup which will showcase Marian Catholic senior guard Jeremiah Jones and Bolingbrook junior point guard Mekhi Cooper.

Glenbrook South at New Trier, Dec. 9

Take advantage of a stand-alone Thursday night early-season showdown in Winnetka. The Central Suburban League South race will be a dandy and the winner here gets a big leg up going forward.

Glenbard West at Yorkville Christian, Dec. 10

Both teams have state title hopes in their respective classes. Both are led by a player headed to a college basketball powerhouse –– Glenbard West’s Braden Huff to Gonzaga and Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt to Duke.

Burlington Central at Rolling Meadows, Dec. 11

This is a chance for a talented but overlooked Burlington Central to grab a headline in what is arguably its toughest game on the regular-season schedule.

Glenbard West vs. Hillcrest, Dec. 11

There were some unknowns regarding Hillcrest going into the season. Now coach Don Houston’s team is 4-0 and champions of one of the strongest Thanksgiving tournaments in the state. The Hawks will soon get the ultimate measuring stick against the No. 1 team in the state.

St. Rita at St. Ignatius, Dec. 17

Chicago Catholic League basketball takes center stage just prior to holiday tournament time as two highly-ranked teams square off. Plus, it’s a chance to see a whole lot of young talent, including St. Ignatius junior Richard Barron and St. Rita’s sophomore tandem of James Brown and Morez Johnson.

Lake Forest at Oak Park, Dec. 18

The North Suburban Conference is a bit down in comparison to past years, so this is a stiff non-conference test for Lake Forest. There is also some terrific individual talent on display in Lake Forest junior Asa Thomas and Oak Park’s tandem of junior Sam Lewis and senior Justin Mullins.

Benet at DePaul Prep, Dec. 18

These programs have evolved into consistent, high-level winners under Benet coach Gene Heidkamp and DePaul’s Tom Kleinschmidt. They get together for a pre-holiday test.

Curie at Simeon, Jan. 6

Might these two meet a week earlier at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament? These two powerhouses continue to provide plenty of highlights each season playing one another.

St. Rita vs. Peoria Notre Dame, Jan. 8

The Highland Shootout in southern Illinois is always one of the best events of the season. This matchup brings together the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top three prospects in the Class of 2024. Notre Dame’s talented 6-8 Cooper Koch faces St. Rita’s 6-9 James Brown and 6-8 Morez Johnson.

Simeon at Kenwood, Jan. 11

What a huge stretch for Simeon –– Pontiac in late December, Curie in early January and then a talent-filled Kenwood team. This is a Kenwood team that will be ready and waiting for its shot at Simeon.

Bolingbrook at Oswego East, Jan. 12

Both these teams are favorites in their respective conferences and both are off to fast starts, winning Thanksgiving tournaments this past weekend. And both are fun and fast. This will be a very good midseason test for these two teams.

Benet at Marian Catholic, Jan. 13

While Notre Dame also should play a role in deciding the East Suburban Catholic Conference regular season championship, this is a midseason showdown that could determine the champ.

Kenwood at Curie, Jan. 13

A big time Public League showdown between legit top 10 teams. Kenwood is the new power on the block with star power while Curie is the traditional power that gets it done year after year.

Young at Orr, Jan. 14

It’s never easy going into Orr’s gym. And in coach Lou Adams’ final year and with the Public League’s Red-West/North on the line, you better believe the Spartans have this one circled on their schedule.

Larkin at Bartlett, Jan. 18

No, this won’t be a game featuring two ranked teams. But it will be a key matchup this season in the Upstate Eight Conference and one highlighted by some intriguing individual talent. Bartlett’s Conrad Luczynski is a 7-2 center who puts up big numbers while sophomore Kelton McEwen is a big-time scorer. Larkin’s Damari Wheeler-Thomas is headed to North Dakota State while Jakob Blakely is a top-notch young talent set to blossom.

Hyde Park at Kenwood, Jan. 20

A couple of resurgent programs collide in the Public League’s Red-South/West. Maybe even more significant is the fact it’s a local battle as Hyde Park travels a mile and a half north to prove Kenwood isn’t the only top 25 team in the neighborhood.

Young vs. Glenbard West, Jan. 22

On paper, at this time, this has the makings of the Game of the Year as the preseason No. 1 and No. 2 teams square off in the When Sides Collide Shootout’s headline game. The individual matchup of Glenbard West’s Braden Huff and Young’s AJ Casey, two highly-regarded and versatile big men, is a tasty one as well.

Yorkville Christian vs. New Trier, Jan. 22

There is a lot of intrigue in this matchup as one of the featured games in the When Sides Collide Shootout at Benet.

For starters it’s a Class 1A power with an enrollment of about 160 students taking on a Class 4A giant with 4,000 students. Intriguing and fun. New Trier is a preseason top 10 team led by 6-8 big man Jackson Munro. Yorkville Christian features Duke-bound Jordan Schutt and a high-scoring, three-point shooting team that will test the Trevians’ size and length.

Thornton at Bloom, Jan. 25

The second of two intense Thornton-Bloom matchups in the south suburbs. Will Thornton’s Ty Rodgers be in the midst of a Player of the Year run by then?

New Trier at Glenbrook South, Jan. 28

This matchup is so guaranteed good it’s on this list a second time. The Titan Dome will be absolutely rocking for this huge top 10 battle that could decide one of the state’s toughest conferences.

Lake Forest at Evanston, Jan. 29

Asa Thomas and company have the look of a bonafide top 25 team and one that’s going to win 20-plus games. This will be a good late-season road test for the Scouts.

New Trier at Evanston, Feb. 4

No, Evanston may not be the team it’s been over the past five years, but it’s still a talented group playing in the new role of darkhorse in the Central Suburban League South. And it’s still Evanston-New Trier, one of the best rivalries in the state.

Oak Forest at Hillcrest, Feb. 4

This has become the game in the South Suburban Blue in recent years and this will be no different. Oak Forest’s highly-productive big man Robbie Avila takes one more crack at league power Hillcrest.

Simeon vs. Sierra Canyon, Feb. 5

This is the lone out-of-state vs. local matchup that’s included, due to the fact Lebron James’ son, Bronny, and former Chicagoan and highly-ranked Amari Bailey are headed to Chicago. Plus, Sierra Canyon could be the No. 1 team in the country at the time this game is played.

Rolling Meadows at Glenbrook South, Feb. 8

This just might be the Mid-Suburban League’s best vs. the Central Suburban League’s best. Star junior Cam Christie and senior Orlando Thomas lead Rolling Meadows as it takes on Glenbrook South’s dynamite duo of Nick Martinelli and Cooper Noard.

Brother Rice at Mount Carmel, Feb. 11

A couple of South Side Catholic League teams ranked in the preseason hope it’s still a battle of ranked teams three months from now. But the added pleasure of watching two of the most talented junior guards go at it –– Brother Rice’s Ahmad Henderson and Mount Carmel’s Deandre Craig –– will be a highlight.

DePaul Prep at St. Rita, Feb. 11

Quite a night in the Chicago Catholic League. It’s Brother Rice at Mt. Carmel and these two squaring off in this battle royale. DePaul Prep is reloading after graduating all five starters, but coach Tom Kleinschmidt’s Rams will have had two months of seasoning before getting a crack at one of the Chicago Catholic League favorites on the road.

St. Charles North at Batavia, Feb. 16

The DuKane Conference race will be very competitive. But the final regular season game of the year for both of these teams could prove to be the biggest game of the year in that league.