First Day of R-B Summer Shootout in the Books

Riverside Brookfield High School was packed on Friday evening (June 21, 2019) for the Summer Shootout. Fun to see this year’s versions of high school teams.

There were a million college coaches in attendance. The special seating areas were packed.

I only saw parts of a few games: Notre Dame v. Ridgewood, De LaSalle v. Nequea Valley, Whitney Young v. Oak Park River Forrest, DePaul Prep v. Belleville West.

I got a preview of the Notre Dame Dons with recent Evanston transfer Luis Lesmond. The Dons did not impress in win over Ridgewood. They just looked they were going through the motions but poured it on in the end winning 63-37.

DeLaSalle did not not impress. Lots of reckless individual effort without a whole lot of team coordination. I did not get a good sense of Nequea Valley, except they were big.

I saw a little of the Whitney Young v. Oak Park River Forest game. I was impressed with the OPRF’s point guard Demetrius Dortch.

DePaul Prep knocked off Belleville West 46-30. The Rams led the whole way. Brian Mathews dominated early play on the boards and scoring inside. He made the difference early. In the second half, the Maroons dialed up the pressure. The Rams struggled to score inside and Maroons cut into the lead. Three 3-pointers late kept the Rams ahead. Under two minutes, the Rams made their free throws and expanded their lead to 16 points.

It was a typical Tom Kleinschmidt win. Get a lead, push the ball up the floor—“Go with it,” run a weave, shoot the three and make free throws.

Headed back out there this afternoon to see the rest pool play.

As for the photos, I really wasn’t there to take photos. So I apologize if the photos were not up to my usual standards. The light was pretty good in the Fieldhouse. I pushed the ISO high and didn’t worry about it too much. The photos are pretty grainy but the only purpose for the photos is this blog post. They are not going to a newspaper or website so it doesn’t matter.

Come out and see next year’s players and teams.

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.

Half Over and Plenty Left to Do for DePaul Prep Rams

The season is half over. 29 regular season games with 14 in books. The DePaul Prep Rams record stands at 11 wins, 3 losses and 5-0 in the Chicago Catholic League. The Rams are ranked #12 in the Sun-Times Super 25 and #15 in the Chicago Tribune top 20.

The Rams have wins over #23 Providence St. Mel and #13 Leo. The three loses have been to Benet Academy, (12-3, 4A, currently ranked #16), Marian Catholic (14-1, 4A, #4) and Oswego East, (11-2, 4A, #17) by a total of nine points. So basically, the Rams have a couple good wins and three “good” losses.

It has been a long time since a DePaul Prep or Gordon Tech team has been this good. The Rams last won the Catholic League in 2000. The 11-3 mark is the best in the tenure of Coach Tom Kleinschmidt.

The first part of the year made believers out of those that thought the Rams might not be very good given the loss to North Chicago in last year’s sectional final. The Rams made a believer out of me early when the just appeared to play angry. Serious as a heart attack. Ask Notre Dame and Lane Tech. Those games impressed me. The Rams put those good teams away. Providence St. Mel came into the Tom Winiecki Gym hot and with a lot of hype. The Knights left soundly defeated.

The Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic, while disappointing for the Rams, was not a failure. They lost a close game to a very, very good Marian Catholic team. I have seen a lot of good teams this year: Evanston, St. Viator, Bloomington, Morgan Park, Curie, Uplift and Bloom. Marian Catholic looked just as good as any of those teams. As for losing to Oswego East in a double overtime 3rd place game, that means nothing. Who cares about a third-place game? Not me.

Still, the season is half over. It’s too early to be a good season. There is a great deal of work left to do and many very good teams to overcome.

The best teams left on the regular season schedule are #5 Morgan Park, #21 St. Laurence, #22 New Trier, and then CCL rivals Brother Rice, Fenwick, Loyola and St. Rita. The best is yet to come, a preview game against Morgan Park, a trip to Quincy, a fun one in a big shootout against New Trier and then the Catholic League games. Win the Catholic League. That’s what I want to see. Win the Catholic League.

After that, we’ll just have to see what happens.

DePaul Prep Defeats Notre Dame 65-46

The DePaul Prep Rams defeated the Notre Dame Dons 65-45 on Wednesday evening (Nov. 21, 2018) in the DePaul Prep/Lane Tech Battle of the Bridge Thanksgiving Tournament.

Notre Dame Defeats Lake View 47-35

Dons survive a challenge from the Wildcats at the DePaul Prep/Lane Battle of the Bridge Thanksgiving Tournament 47-35.

ESCC v. CCL All Star Game

I have to apologize for a previous version of this blog post. My remarks about Notre Dame College Prep's gym comparing the it light to light in some other gyms were, well, unfunny and ill-considered. I wrote:

Notre Dame "has a dated fluorescent lighting system. Clearly, one ought not judge the merits of a school by the quality of the light in its gym but maybe we ought rethink that a little. The light in DePaul Prep's and St. Viator's gyms is excellent. (Just a tip for you parents with kids in elementary school.)

I apologize. I wasn't trying to insult Notre Dame. The gym is just fine. It was a humorless attempt at some photographer inside baseball reference to different qualities and quantities of light in school gyms for the purposes of taking photographs. No other purpose than that. 

I feel especially bad from causing a problem for Coach Shea Boyle who I have been lucky enough to know for years now. He has always been so gracious to me. Forgive me. 

So, with written, back to the matter at hand.

Notre Dame College Prep hosted the all-star game on Friday, April 20, 2018. It was a typical all-star game--all shooting and no defense. But fun nevertheless. Nice to see these kids have some fun without all the pressure. I didn't really have a rooting interest. I attended St. Viator, a million years ago and my brother Dan teaches there now. But my kids went to Gordon Tech/DePaul Prep and I shoot a lot DePaul Prep events as you might have noticed if you looked at my portfolio page. 

The game wasn't exactly a true all star game. It was only seniors. And not all the schools sent players--DePaul Prep, Loyola, Mt. Carmel for starters, probably others but I didn't exactly keep count. 

I included more photos than I usually do so I could include as many of the players as possible. Some images might not be up to normal publication standards. I included a photo of the referees which I do not ordinarily publish. However, I wanted to honor these refs. Two of whom I see regularly working CCL games. They do excellent jobs. For the most part, all the refs that work CCL games are very good. On occasion, some are not so good but that's pretty rare. 

I hope you like the photos.