IHSA Boys Playoff Weekend Recap

We are a week separated from the IHSA 3A and 4A Boys Playoffs now and I am now getting around to the recap. I spent last Friday and Saturday in Peoria photographing as many games as I could.

I found out one cannot photograph and process all the games in real time. Two games per day is about all I can do and get galleries and stories up on a timely fashion.

As for the games themselves, they did not disappoint. Well, except for the first game, where m y DePaul Prep lost to Bogan. The Rams had good shots early but they would not fall. Credit to Bogan. They put on a stellar defense effort basically shutting down everyone on DePaul except Perry Cowen. After that East St. Louis impressed against a tough and scrappy Peoria Manual team in a very entertaining battle.

4A was especially fun. I have seen Evanston five times this year and a couple times last year. Very good and entertaining team. Extremely well coached. Sr. guard Jaheim Holden has to be one of the most exciting players I have seen in the past few years. The Wildkits handles Rochford East who I had not seen. Evanston posses so many matchup problems. Rockford constantly lost track of sophomore Blake Peters and he made them pay. Peters was 7 for 8 from beyond the arc—just deadly.

Then the biggest game of the season so far, Curie v. Beilleville West. E.J. Liddell is better than advertised. Gonna be star at the next level. He has it all. Curie lost composure at the end. The Condors just ran out magic and one by one their best players fouled out.

DePaul Prep refocused and came out wanting to end the season with a win in the 3A Third Place game on Saturday morning. They did just that, soundly defeating a Peoria Manuel team that did not want to be there.

Frankly, I was busy working on photos of the DePaul v. Manuel game and I didn’t see much of the 4A Third Place game. As I recall, Curie won but what I remember is that they didn’t want to be there eight.

Then the premier Evanston v. Belleville West 4A Championship on Saturday night. What a game! It was tough for the Maroons to matchup against Evanston early. The Wildkits came out running and opened a seven point half time lead. As good as the Wildkits looked, Belleville West was playing Evanston’s game and stayed right with the Kits. One just got the feeling at the half that the Maroons would overcome.

That they did. No three pointers for Blake Peters. E.J. Liddell got the ball inside and either scored or dished it off for an easy backdoor bucket. The Maroons overcame and pulled away. It was quite a show.

And then, all the sudden, it was over. Time to go back to Chicago. It just left me wanting more.

Thanks to all for another wonderful high school basketball season. The R-B summer tournament will be here soon. Then the Thanksgiving tournaments. See you then.

As for the photos, these are a few good ones I got over both days. I hope you like them.

DePaul Prep Falls to Bogan 51-31 in 3A Semi

The DePaul Prep Rams lost to the Bogan Bengals 51-31 in the IHSA class 3A semi-final this afternoon (March 15, 2019) at Peoria’s Carver Arena. The Bengals, ranked #2 in Sun-Times Super 25, 29-3, topped the Rams in all phases. The Rams struggled out of the gate. They were getting good shots but they would not fall. Rams Sr. Guard and Brown recruit Perry Cowen was the games leading scorer with 14.

The Rams will face the Manuel, also the Rams, tomorrow in the 3A game at 11:00 a.m. Bogan advances to face East St. Louis in the 3A championship tomorrow afternoon.

DePaul Prep Defeats Ridgewood 56-32 to win 3A Regional

The DePaul Prep Rams took care of business against the host Ridgewood Rebels 56-32 on Friday (March 1, 2019) to win their fifth IHSA Regional Playoff Championship in a row.

This is the last phase of the season—the IHSA 3A Playoffs. Been through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Shootouts, CCL games, now the playoffs. Another Regional championship in the books now its only good teams in front of the DePaul Prep Rams. Carmel, St. Viator, Farragut, Morgan Park and Springfield Southeast. That’s all. No problem.

The Rams have played the schedule for it. They played everyone tough. Took Morgan Park to the end. They can play. They know what to expect. Dribble, shoot, play defense, make layups and most importantly—make free throws. Do those things, get a little luck and who knows.  

Go Rams!

DePaul Prep Defeats St. Ignatius 51-38

DePaul Prep Rams clinch a Chicago Catholic League Blue title with victory over Wolfpack.

DePaul Prep Basketball Season 2017-2018

I thought I might put together a gallery of photos from DePaul Prep mens basketball last season, 2017-2018. Last year's Rams were the best group in many years. Very fun to watch. It has only been a few years and Tom Kleinschmidt and the rest to the DePaul Prep coaches and staff have brought the Rams back to the top of the Catholic League and rest of high school basketball. Interestingly, moving up from 2A to 3A improved the Rams playoff chances. This next season with this formidable group of seniors will be fun indeed. 

DePaul Prep's Season . . . So Far

With DePaul Prep’s regular season in the home stretch, indulge us in a brief recap and look ahead. With five games to go, the Rams have a 18-4 overall record with quality wins over Notre Dame, Leo, Benet, St. Rita, St. Joseph and Evanston. The four loses have all come at the hands of ranked, or previously ranked, teams, Niles North, St. Rita, Lincoln Park and Loyola.

The Rams dominated opponents in the first part of the season except for the game against highly regarded Niles North. Lance Mosley’s last second three pointer sealed the road victory over Benet Academy. Another very nice road win in the Chicago Catholic League Blue division against the ranked Leo Lions impressed fans and critics alike.

Next came the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic where the Rams scored wins over Crete-Monee and Stevenson. In what had to be the Rams worst game of the year, DePaul did not look good at all against St. Rita—a painful loss to eventual tournament champion. Next was a close loss to a hot Lincoln Park team in the consolation game (which pretty much does not count because it was a tournament consolation game).

The third phase of the season was the Martin Luther King Day tournament with some non-conference games sprinkled in. The Rams won the MLK Tournament with wins over St. Francis (Wheaton), Lindbloom, Riverside-Brookfield and Loyola.

The Rams scored a big CCL rematch win at St. Rita and took care of a very good St. Ignatius team next. The head scratch game of the year was Loyola. Just could not get a shot to drop against a red-hot Loyola team. Another head-scratcher at St. Joseph with only 10 points in the second half saved by a long gaming three-pointer from Raheem Anthony and brought home a key CCL Blue game.

An invitation to Joe Henrickson’s “When Sides Collide” Shootout brought a match-up with Evanston. The Rams scored another season defining 59-52 win over the Wildkits. Perry Cowen putting two 20 plus point totals up in two games.

Looking ahead a little, the Rams have games left against Fenwick, Brother Rice and DeLaSalle in the CCL Blue plus a CCL White crossover game against Montini. Fenwick can take the CCL Blue with two road wins against DePaul and Loyola. Fenwick travels to DePaul this coming Friday and Loyola on February 26th. If Fenwick falls to one of those teams, we may be looking a three way tie between Fenwick, DePaul and Loyola in the Blue.

Don’t hold your breath, Fenwick is ranked 7th and has looked good against the area’s top teams despite suffering some losses. The DePaul/Fenwick is Friday at DePaul. It will be a special night at DePaul’s Tom Winiecki Gym because DePaul is retiring current head coach, former Gordon Tech star and former DePaul University All American Tom Kleinschmidt’s #34. Coach Kleinschmidt enters the game with a 108-59 win/loss record at Gordon Tech/DePaul over the last six seasons.

I know it is bad luck but let’s look ahead to the IHSA playoffs. DePaul Prep elected to move up to 3A where they have been assigned to North Chicago Sectional in the Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional. The Rams avoided the Joliet Central Super-Sectional with the other ranked teams in 3A. There are no Sun-Times Super 25 ranked teams in Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional. Other than DePaul, the best team is probably Carmel, a lesser light in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. DePaul also has the advantage of hosting a regional again this year.

There are some good teams in 3A has ranked teams. Morgan Park, North Lawndale, Hillcrest, Marian Catholic are all ranked. Previously, ranked teams include St. Laurence, St. Rita.

In terms of downstate 3A teams, MaxPreps has Champaign Central, Springfield Southeast and Centralia all ranked ahead of DePaul Prep. But none of those teams are in the Hoffman Estates Super-sectional. In fact, the highest MaxPreps ranked team in the Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional is Carmel ranked #18 in 3A and #78 in the state.

So, here is what’s left to do: take care of Fenwick, win the Catholic League Blue, win the home regional, win the North Chicago Sectional, win the Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional at the Sears Centre, go to Peoria, beat Marian Catholic, Morgan Park and/or Champaign Central and collect state championship trophy. See how easy that is?