Riverside-Brookfield Shootout Preview

Time to get back into basketball. The June 21-23, 17th Annual Riverside Brookfield Summer Shootout field and schedule have been announced. The field is packed with top teams including a Chicago area appearance by two-time 4A state champ Belleville West.

The 64-team tournament includes: Belleville West; 4A runner-up Evanston; 4A third place Curie; 3A state champ East St. Louis; 3A runner-up Bogan; 3A third place DePaul Prep; 1A state champ Providence-St. Mel; 4A sectional champs Stevenson, Bolingbrook and Simeon, 3A Regional champs St. Viator; 2A regional champ Uplift.

A couple of first round games should prove interesting. The DePaul Prep Rams, (CCL Blue champs and 3A third-place), take on Belleville West, 4A state champ the last two-years, late Friday at 8:45 p.m. The Rams recently murderous schedule adds a doozy. The Rams graduated three starters among the best in school history, Perry Cowen, Raheem Anthony and Pavle Pantovic. This game should prove quite a challenge for the Rams even though the Maroons will not have two time player of the year and Ohio State recruit E. J. Liddell. We should get a good preview of the Rams new look with the talented group of sophomores as well as juniors D.J. Shower and Brian Mathews.

Another interesting first round game is ESCC 2019 champ Marian Catholic against rival St. Viator, Saturday at 12:35 p.m. Pool M is curiously packed with Marian Catholic, St. Viator, defending 1A state champ Providence-St. Mel as well as Northern IL-Big 12 East conference champ DeKalb.

The Chicago Catholic League is well represented with 10 of its 16 teams in attendance. Conspicuous in its absence is CCL White Division champs St. Rita. Perhaps this has something to do with the recent dismissal of this coach Gary DeCesare.

The Chicago Public League also has top teams in attendance (in no particular order): Curie, Bogan, Simeon, Whitney Young, Uplift and Lincoln Park.

Frequent viewers of this channel know that I tend to concentrate on Chicago Catholic League and CPS games. I am looking to branch out some this year and take in more suburban games. I definitely have to see Max Christie at Rolling Meadows. The Mustangs take on Curie on Friday at 6:55 in R-B’s main gym.

I am also looking forward to seeing Notre Dame’s talented young team with juniors Anthony Sayles and Troy D’Amico. Marian Catholic better watch out for Notre Dame this season. The Dons are going to be good.

The thing about these preseason games is that they are not really like an in-season matchup. The games are quick, the lineups are fluid and don’t reflect the probable in-season starting line-up. There isn’t a whole lot of defense played. I wish I was a more seasoned analyst to tell one exactly what to look for. But I am neither a sportswriter nor a basketball expert. I am photographer and a fan.

As for the photography of this event, it doesn’t lend itself to great picture taking opportunities. Many of the games are in a field house and small gyms without the best light. I am also not as prepared as usual on which players to watch. I am not there to take photos as much as gain intelligence on the best teams to photograph in the upcoming season.

Nevertheless, I am jazzed about the start of the pre-season, at least for me. Hope to see you there—June 21-23 at Riverside-Brookfield High School. I see what I can do about getting some stories and photos up in IL Preps Insider as well.

Benet Comes Back to Simeon 77-66 and Win 4A Regional

In very well played and high scoring game, the Benet Redwings came back from a late deficit against to the Simeon Wolverines and captured the 4A Benet Regional title, 71-66, on Thursday, (February 14, 2019).

CPS Quarterfinals: Simeon 66, Lane 59

Lane Falls to Orr 72-53

Last night (Jan. 18, 2019), the Lane Tech Indians fell to the Orr Spartans 72-53 at Lane. Lane played their hearts out but Orr was just too good.

I wish I could write more about the game. But last night, more than usual, I wasn’t paying much attention to the game. I was concentrating on the getting good shots, on being in the right position to get good shots and on anticipating the action.

As it turns out, I did okay. Not my best work, but respectable work on short notice without an opportunity to prepare. A good day. The day of my first photo credit in the Chicago Sun-Times.

I hope you like the photos.

#5 Morgan Park Defeats #12 DePaul Prep 62-56

Coach Nick Irvin and his #5 ranked Morgan Park Mustangs came to the DePaul Prep this evening (Jan. 12, 2019) for a shootout with the #12 ranked DePaul Prep Rams. In a high energy game, the Mustangs held off the Rams throughout the whole game despite good shooting by the Rams. Although the Rams drew within 3 points late in the fourth quarter, Morgan Park prevailed in the potential state championship preview by the score of 62-56.

More on the game and the rest of the inaugural Steve Pappas Shootout later. Let get right to the photos.

Day One Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic

I saw three games of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic. I planned to stay there all day. But I can’t seem to ever stay for a whole day of games.

I arrived in time for the second game, Marian Catholic Spartans v. Glenbrook North Spartans. The Glenbrook North Spartans played a spirited first quarter staying with the Marian Catholic on the strength of outside shooting. But it did not take long for the other Spartans to pull away. Marian Catholic excelled in all phases; they shot well, scored off the fast break and played outstanding defense. Final: Marian Catholic 67, Glenbrook North 47.

I didn’t photograph the third game, St. Charles East v. Stevenson. I caught up on preparing for the DePaul (9-1) Prep v. Urban Prep Englewood (0-9) game next.

The DePaul Prep Rams came out a little flat but Perry Cowen added seven in the second quarter and the Rams never looked back. Granted this was not the most serious test for the Rams but this team of seniors just seems to take care of business.

St. Charles East should prove a tougher test for the Rams on Thursday. Assuming they survive this Kane County test, the Rams are likely to face one of their toughest games so far. Marian Catholic is as good as the Rams have faced with the possible exception of Leo.

And then after Marian Catholic, either Lincoln Park, H-F or Oswego East. The Hinsdale Central tournament is tough.

Team Rose Shootout

Team Rose Shootout.

The Team Rose Shootout is a great event with top match ups. The Mount Carmel facility is excellent. The light in the gym leaves a little to be desired in terms of quantity but the color temperature is better than most.

St. Viator 72, Oswego East 69. I am more impressed with Trey Calvin and Jeremiah Hernandez every time I see them play. These two young Lions hit their shots. I don’t remember either missing a free throw or a lay up when it counted. The Lions are one of the top 3A teams. We may be looking at a Sectional or Supersectional match up between the Lions and the DePaul Prep Rams in 3A.

Uplift drops Br. Rice 71-59 in OT. I was really looking forward to the Markese Jacobs v. Marquiese Kennedy matchup. It did not disappoint. Almost like a DePaul v. Loyola matchup. Both players put there respective teams on their backs in crunch time. It will fun watching them in years to come.

I couldn’t stay for the big game between Bloom and Morgan Park. I understand Bloom won. I saw Bloom last weekend at the Chicago Elite Classic. They are for real. Balanced. Talented. State title contenders.

Morgan Park I have yet to see this year but I think we all know what to expect. They will be there at tournament time. I will get out to see them at least a few times before. Put the Morgan Park v. Whitney Young game on your calendar.

Here are some photos from the games.

Basketball Season Starts; DePaul Wins Thanksgiving Tournament

The DePaul Prep Rams survived a very tough Lane Tech Indians team, 45-38, to win the fifth annual Lane/DePaul Prep Battle of the Bridge Thanksgiving Tournament. First time the Rams have won their own tournament.

What I saw on Friday evening was toughness. The first half was close. Defense and missed shots predominated. With the Rams leading by nine at the half, I expected Perry Cowen to come out and take over the third quarter the way he did against Notre Dame. Perry scored four points but by the end of the third but Lane had rallied on some three pointers to take a one point lead early in the fourth quarter.

It was Raheem Anthony who took over the game in the fourth quarter with seven of his game high twenty-one points. At the start of the quarter, Raheem committed a foul and got t-ed up. I couldn’t see or hear exactly what happened that lead to the technical foul. But it didn’t seem to bother him. He went right back to work running the office. At one point, his drive and crossover dribble literally caused Lane’s star point guard Michael Molloy to fall down leaving Raheem a wide-open jumper in the paint.

In the last minute, with the Rams up by seven Raheem was fouled on successive possessions. He walked up to the line as confident as could be and drained the 1-1 free throws sealing the victory all the while shooting looks to his pals in the front row.

This senior group doesn’t panic. They take care of business.

So far.

The first part of the season over. Now on to Catholic League play.

As for Lane, that is one tough determined team. DePaul Prep is one of the best teams in the Chicago area and the Indians almost beat them.

I was very impressed with toughness in the paint. Sr. center Vuk Djuric battled DePaul’s Pavle Pantovic. It was actually more of boxing match. Neither player could make shots underneath because the other would not allow it. Djuric took a elbow to the nose spilling blood on the floor and sending him to the locker room until the second half. When he came back, they picked up where they left off.

Lane’s Michael Molloy scored 14 points including a couple late layups to keep the Indians close at the end. (The photo below is of Michael Molloy in the fourth grade “Big 10” championship game at St. Benedict.)

I don’t know how Lane will fare in the tough Red North against Farragut, Lincoln Park, Crane and Marshall, but if tonight was any indication, those teams better come to play. They are going to be in for a fight.

DePaul Prep Defeats Taft 60-15 in Battle of the Bridge

The DePaul Prep Rams played angry. The Rams defeated the Taft High School Eagles 60-15 in the season opener last night in the Tom Wienicki Gym. The game wasn’t as close as the score suggests. 24-2 at the end of the first and 34-5 at the half. Taft played hard; they just ran into talented team that wanted to play hard.

It did not seem to matter who the Rams were playing. They were focused. Not a lot of cheering or congratulations on the lopsided score—just focused, serious business.

Perry Cowen looks like he has added muscle. Sophomore Ty Johnson started the game at point guard and looks a foot taller that the last time I saw him in March. The Rams starting line-up of Cowen, Pantovic, Anthony, Mosley and Johnson is going to give a lot of teams trouble. Shower and Matthews off the bench can keep up the pressure. This team is poised to win a lot of games and make a deep run in 3A.

Based upon the Rams Super 25 rank at #21, Sun-Times Reporter Michael O’Brien sees the Rams obvious talent but doesn’t appear to believe at they have the mental toughness to be a top tier team. City Suburban Hoops Report’s Joe Henricksen does and puts the Rams in that top tier of his rankings at #10. I know it was Taft but last night at least, it looks like the Rams have what it takes.

The season has just begun 30 or so games to play. It will go quick. Stay tuned.