Friday night battles for first place in various conferences and Saturday night’s When Sides Collide Shootout at Glenbard East headlines the Weekend Forecast.
■ Orr (16-8) at Young (18-6)
The biggest attraction Friday night will take place in the Public League’s Red-West/North. Orr is unbeaten in league play and can lock up a Red-West/North title. Young sits one game back after edging both North Lawndale and Uplift last week by a combined five points.
Orr has a physical, athletic, defensive stopper in Greg Outlaw to throw at Young’s perimeter talent of DJ Steward, Myles Baker and Tyler Beard, while the long, explosive and talented Tujautae Williams is a handful when he’s attacking the rim. Will newcomer Sherif Kenney, who has made an early splash, be available for Orr? The big-bodied guard has been nursing an ankle injury.
Both of these teams have city title and state title aspirations. But first things first on Chicago’s West Side. And Young should be motivated after falling to Orr twice last season.
Hoops Report pick: Young 70, Orr 68
■ Downers Grove South (15-6) at Proviso East (14-5)
A big one in the West Suburban Gold as both head into the Friday night tilt sporting identical 6-1 league records.
Although a bit under the radar, senior guard Justin Eagins has been a major perimeter scoring threat for DGS all season with his shooting ability. After starting the season 1-4, the Mustangs are 13-1 since losing to Proviso East 63-48 nearly two months ago.
Balanced Proviso East counters with shooter James Hobson, junior guard Terrance Thomas, senior guard Devin Spencer and 6-4 Aaron Sykes.
Hoops Report pick: Downers Grove South 63, Proviso East 60
■ Naperville North (11-8) at Waubonsie Valley (18-2)
These two are tied for first in the DuPage Valley Conference. Red-hot Waubonsie Valley already owns a win over Naperville North, although it came when Loyola recruit Tom Welch did not play for North.
Waubonsie Valley, with its glistening record and just on the outside of the Super 25 rankings, are fueled by senior guard Eric Cannon (12.2 ppg) and versatile 6-5 junior Marcus Skeete (15.4 ppg) lead the Warriors.
Hoops Report pick: Waubonsie Valley 50, Naperville North 48
■ Benet (16-5) at Carmel (15-9)
After dropping two games on Monday at the Wheaton South MLK Tournament, Benet looks to bounce back in hopes of remaining unbeaten and staying even with Marian Catholic in East Suburban Catholic Conference play.
Quietly, Carmel has rejuvenated itself a bit and would be right in the thick of things in the ESCC if it can hold serve at home Friday night. While he has come off the bench for the Corsairs, star sophomore guard Kimahri Wilson is back to playing at a high level. Damone Williams-Gray and Johnny Roeser are two other weapons for a team that’s won four of its last five.
Hoops Report pick: Benet 60, Carmel 56
■ Hillcrest (13-7) at Kankakee (13-5)
Even with Hillcrest owning a two-game lead over Kankakee in the South Suburban Blue, it’s a pivotal game for both teams.
After an up-and-down two months, Hillcrest appears to have things going in the right direction with five straight wins to start the new year. Coach Don Houston wants to see his team maintaining the positive momentum.
Kankakee, meanwhile, has been scuffling a bit. The Kays have big expectations this season but have dropped three of their last five. A win here on its home floor could re-charge Kankakee.
Hoops Report pick: Hillcrest 58, Kankakee 54
When Sides Collide Shootout at Glenbard East
■ St. Viator (16-4) vs. Bloom (18-1) at Glenbard East
The injury to St. Viator star Trey Calvin takes a little steam out of this one. The loss of a primary ball handler and the lack of depth could make things challenging in a fast-paced game that Bloom will want to play. But the Lions still have one star remaining in Jeremiah Hernandez, who is closing in on 1,200 career points, and overlooked junior Connor Kochera.
The Bloom talent is well documented, well rounded and real. The junior guard trio of Keshawn Williams, Dante Maddox and Donovan Newby, along with 6-9 junior Martice Mitchell, gives the Blazing Trojans multiple players an opposing defense must prepare for.
Hoops Report pick: Bloom 67, St. Viator 58
■ Bolingbrook (14-4) vs. Simeon (12-12) at Glenbard East
Bolingbrook has certainly answered some questions over the past week with road wins over No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor and No. 7 Evanston while losing to No. 4 Morgan Park at the buzzer. Now it’s Simeon’s turn to hopefully answer some questions and concerns.
Can the much-maligned Wolverines with their uncharacteristic record and equally odd season turn the corner? Can they beat a highly-ranked team? Does Simeon have an answer for the Raiders perimeter trio of Joseph Yesufu, Tyler Cochran and Darius Burford? How big of an impact has it been not having their leader, coach Robert Smith, who isn’t expected back on the bench until next week?
Here is a big in-state test for Simeon, led by senior scorer Antonio Reeves, who is averaging right around 20 points a game. With senior guard Kejuan Clements and the young tandem of sophomore Ahamad Bynum and freshman AJ Casey, there is talent and potential. A win for Simeon here would be the kickstart it needs heading into the city playoffs.
Hoops Report pick: Bolingbrook 71, Simeon 66
■ Naperville North (11-8) vs. Benet (16-5) at Glenbard East
This caps off a big week for Naperville North, which played ranked Marian Catholic earlier in the week and faces Waubonsie Valley on Friday with first place on the line in the DuPage Valley Conference. There is a go-to player in Tom Welch, but the Huskies must take care of the basketball and knock down some perimeter shots to ease the Welch workload in this neighborhood rivalry.
Benet has size inside with Colin Crothers and Kendrick Tchoua to try and make things difficult for Welch around the basket. But Welch, a 6-8 Loyola recruit, has the versatility to move Benet’s bigs away from the basket and create for himself and others while facing up.
Hoops Report pick: Benet 55, Naperville North 47
When Sides Collide full lineup: Evanston vs. Normal West at 1 p.m.; Glenbard East vs. Glenbard West at 2:30 p.m.; Bloom vs. St. Viator at 4 p.m.; Simeon vs. Bolingbrook at 5:30 p.m.; Naperville North vs. Benet at 7:15 p.m.
■ Orr Breast Cancer Shootout
A jam-packed 11 games will fill the day on Saturday at Orr with several intriguing matchups.
The best of the bunch will be the host school squaring off with Trinity Catholic (15-1) out of St. Louis and a Farragut-Proviso East matchup.
Here is a look at the full lineup and times: Hyde Park vs. Lindblom at 9 a.m.; Hope Academy vs. Harlan at 10:15 a.m.; Westinghouse vs. Vocational at 11:30 a.m.; North Chicago vs. St. Mel at 12:45 a.m.; Bowman Academy vs. T.F. North at 2 p.m.; Farragut vs. Proviso East at 3:15 p.m.; Orr vs. Trinity Catholic (Mo) at 4:30 p.m.; Morgan Park vs. Zion-Benton at 5:45 p.m.; Curie vs. Hazelwood Central (Mo) at 7 p.m.; Uplift vs. Thornton at 8:15 p.m.; Springfield Lanphier vs. Milwaukee Washington at 9:30 p.m.
■ Batavia Night of Hoops
The four-game lineup includes No. 24 ranked West Aurora facing a better-than-its-record St. Charles East. Downers Grove North and its talented backcourt of Sema’j Henderson and Trey Boston matches up with Oswego East and star guard Ray J Dennis.
Batavia Night of Hoops full lineup: DeKalb vs. St. Joseph at 3 p.m.; West Aurora vs. St. Charles East at 4:30 p.m.; Downers Grove North vs. Oswego East at 6 p.m.; Willowbrook vs. Batavia at 7:30 p.m.
■ Fremd (14-4) at Notre Dame (13-8)
An interesting non-conference battle as an ever-improving Notre Dame has crept back in the Super 25 rankings with wins over Loyola and St. Viator in the past two weeks. The sophomore tandem of Anthony Sayles and Troy D’Amico are about as good as it gets when it comes to a 1-2 punch in the Class of 2021.
After playing a very un-Fremd-like game in a loss to Schaumburg, the Vikings have drilled both Maine East and Barrington.
Hoops Report pick: Notre Dame 47, Fremd 44