When Sides Collide Preview!!!!!!!
This is the premier event of the season with two potential games of the year this coming Saturday. Joe Hendrickson of the Chicago Sun Times always puts great matchups together. Six of the eight teams are ranked. Records are as of today. Breakdown of all four games and my predictions:
Game 1: Christian(Yorkville)(1A)(11-10) vs #5 New Trier(Winnekta)(4A)(17-2)- Throw the records out in this one. Yorkville Christian has played one of the toughest schedules in the state. New Trier had Simeon down 15 in the fourth quarter in the Semifinals at Pontiac before losing in overtime. This one will be competitive, fast paced, and a tight game. Keys for both teams.
Christian(Yorkville): 6'5" guard Duke commit Jaden Schutt is the man. He will get his shots and get his points. Can score on all three levels of the court. Question will be how efficient will he be? This will be key for them to win the game. He will have to get help and contributions from 6'3" senior guard KJ Vasser and 6'3" junior guard David Douglas Jr. Will be at a size disadvantage so will have to have everyone hitting the defensive glass. If they stay close to even have a good chance to win.
New Trier(Winnetka): They have lost only two games all year to the #1 and #2 teams in the Chicago Area. Both play each other in this event. 5'9" senior Peter Kanellos will be key to control the tempo for the Trevians. Yorkville Christian loves to run and shoot a lot of threes.
6'8" senior Dartmouth commit Jackson Munro will be key inside. He should dominate proceedings in the paint and will have to get a double/double. If he punishes Yorkville Christian inside it will be a long night for them. Junior wings Jack Fiegen(6'4") and Noah Shannon(6'5") are three point snipers from the perimeter. Will they play some zone? Could be dangerous if they allow the three point shooting in it.
Coaching: Aaron Sovern of Yorkville Christian and Scott Fricke of New Trier have very talented teams. Key will be which coach gets his players to play at the pace they want their teams to play. Yorkville Christian wants to push it and get up as many three point shots as possible. New Trier wants to get up three pointers also, but want more inside/outside balance. Not be much mystery as Mustangs play strictly man to man, while the Trevians play man to man, 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone. I say this matchup is even.
KEY: Will New Trier be able to control the pace of the game? I say they will be able to do it just barely.
Prediction: New Trier by 7.
#3 Glenbrook South(Glenview)(4A)(18-1) vs #2 Simeon Career Academy(Chicago)(3A)(15-1)- Game of the year Part 1. These teams are in different classes so won't see this matchup again. Glenbrook South's only loss is to #1 Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn) by 3 at the Ridgewood Shootout. Simeon has not lost to an in state opponent this season as they dropped a game to Dream City Christian(AZ) in South Dakota. Both teams won Holiday Tournaments, Glenbrook South(Wheeling Hardwood), Simeon(Pontiac). Simeon has played a national schedule, while Glenbrook South has played a decent schedule. Will this be the key to who wins?
Simeon Career Academy(Chicago): Great guard play has been key as their three guard set of seniors Jaylen Drane(6'3"), Avion Morris(5'8") and junior Jalen Griffith(5'9) can hit threes, penetrate and dish or score on the floater. Morris is tough defensively and will likely get the assignment to slow down Cornell commit Cooper Noard. He has been a pest over the years to guys from 6'4" to 5'8". Gets up into you with his toughness and low center of gravity. The Rubin twins(6'8" juniors Wes and Miles) have been key with inside scoring, rebounding, and rim protecting. Great balance as they play a 2-3 zone, man and zone press.
Glenbrook South(Glenview): Senior Elon commit 6'7" forward Nick Martinelli has played like a potential Area Player Of The Year. I named his brother Dominic my Player Of The Year two years ago. He scores inside going left mostly, nice mid range jumper, and will shoot the occasional three. Senior Cornell commit 6'1" point guard Cooper Noard is a deep three point shooter and can now score in the mid range. Will have a tough time with Avion Morris on him. I think that will be the key to the game. Titans need a third scoring threat and 6'1" junior Rodell Davis Jr has done that lately. He's not only hit threes, but he's driving more to the basket and finishing. Juniors Spencer Brown(6'4") and Gavin Marr(6'2") will be key on both backboards. Man to man defense team but can they guard Simeon or have to play some zone?
Coaching: I think the edge here is obvious. Simeon Coach Robert Smith six State Titles(a record), six City Titles and the most accomplished coach in Boys Basketball State History. Phil Ralston has resurrected the Glenbrook South program over the last 5 years. He was very successful at Geneva. Which coach will get his team to play at the pace they want them to play?
KEY: Can Simeon slow down Nick Martinelli and Cooper Noard? Can Avion Morris bother Noard? Can Glenbrook South guard Simeon man for man?
Prediction: Simeon by 8.
#9 Whitney Young(Chicago)(4A)(12-6) vs #1 Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn)(4A)(20-0)- Game of the Year Part 2? This was a highly anticipated game from when it was announced before the season. All of us basketball hoopheads have been looking forward to this one all year. People might say not as hyped because of Whitney Young's record. Don't let the record fool you, they have played a rugged national schedule. Some of the losses have been blowouts so that's a little alarming. Glenbard West has played a tough state schedule as they have been 9 teams ranked at one time this year. They've had two close games this year, three point wins over #3 Glenbrook South and #4 Hillcrest. The rest have been blowouts and been very impressive.
Whitney Young(Chicago): A ton of talent mostly wing talent. Seniors 6'7" Miami(FL) commit Andre Casey Jr and Northern Illinois commit 6'7" Xavier Amos who's had an outstanding season. Senior wings 6'6" Marcus Sommerville and Jordan Streeter are long, athletic, and fast. Junior guard Dalen Davis(6'0") and Marcus Pigrim(6'3") will have to shoot well from the outside and not turn the ball over. 6'5" freshman wing(yes another wing) Antonio Munoz comes off the bench.
Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn): This team is huge and uses it in that suffocating 1-3-1 zone. Start with senior 6'11" forward's and Gonzaga commit Braden Huff can score from anywhere on the floor. He can also bring the ball up the court, pass out of the press, rebound, and rim protect. Is the hub of that nasty zone defense. Senior guards Princeton commit Caden Pierce(6'6"), Bobby Durkin(6'7), Illinois commit Paxton Warden(6'4") can shoot, dribble, and pass. Are good athletes and underrated in this area. They move, cover, and get steals in the zone when opponents think they see gaps in the zone. Senior guards Jack Cardwell(6'0"), Andrew Dauksas(5'8") come off the bench.
Coaching: This one the edge goes to Whitney Young Coach Tyrone Slaughter. Three state titles, one runner up finish and two City titles. Glenbard West Coach Jason Opoka is a young coach but very good. He has used the teams length to their advantage and pushed the team to play at a high level.
KEY: Can Whitney Young's athletes get some offensive rebounds in the 1-3-1 zone and convert? Has the national schedule toughened this team up? Can Glenbard West slow Whitney Young down and make them play half court? Can Glenbard West avoid having turnovers in bunches? Can Whitney Young speed Glenbard West up? Can Whitney Young hit enough threes to loosen up the 1-3-1 zone? Can Glenbard West Bigs convert their shots in the lane?
Prediction: Glenbard West by 5.
#24 St Ignatius College Prep(Chicago)(3A)(11-7) vs Benet Academy(Lisle)(4A)(15-5)- Last game of the day is a great matchup. St Ignatius just made it back into the poll and Benet Academy is just outside it. St Ignatius is playing well right now and living up to their preseason billing.
St Ignatius College Prep(Chicago)- Senior point guard 6'3" AJ Redd has been playing at a high level lately as has 6'5" junior guard Richard Barron. This has been key to the resurgence the last few weeks. Senior Air Force commit 6'4" forward Kolby Gilles has to hit the glass with 6'9" forward Jackson Kotecki hits the boards and can step out to hit threes.
Benet Academy(Lisle)- Host team has recent Eastern Illinois commit 6'9" forward Kyle Thomas who's been playing well on the interior and can hit the corner three. Senior Brennan White and junior forward Brady Kunka will have to provide scoring punch to win this game.
Coaching: Gene Heidkamp of Benet Academy is one of the top three coaches in the state. He always gets the max out of his players and they are great at executing their offense and defense. St Ignatius Coach Matt Monroe is a good young up and coming coach. He's been patient with his team and has let them develop into a dangerous club in Class 3A.
Keys: Can Benet Academy keep St Ignatius off the glass? Can they keep AJ Redd from getting to the basket? Can St Ignatius make Benet get out of their system?
Prediction: Benet Academy holds serve at home wins by 6.
Games are at Benet Academy High School in Lisle, Illinoi.