The When Sides Collide Shootout at Glenbard East this past weekend was a time to shine for a talented Simeon freshman and a super sophomore at Evanston. Jaylen Drane and Blake Peters are highlighted in this week’s Three-Pointer, along with a look at how the city has remained dominant.
In a big game, on a big stage and against two senior guards headed to play Division I basketball, you would have never guessed Jaylen Drane was a freshman leading Simeon to a convincing win Saturday over Bolingbrook.
The 6-2 point guard was sensational, showcasing an easy-to-see basketball feel and scoring ability in the absence of Kejuan Clements, who missed the game with the flu.
“His toughness stands out,” says Simeon coach Robert Smith. “Plus, he’s played against some really good guards over the course the season with the schedule we have played. He’s been really tested.”
While he’s still scratching the surface in certain areas of his game, Drane constantly created scoring opportunities for himself and others in the win over Bolingbrook. Drane finished at the rim in transition, drained a couple of three-pointers and set the table for teammates.
Plus, the aforementioned toughness and natural point guard instincts are why he’s survived the national and rugged in-state schedule Simeon has faced.
Drane and Simeon teammate A.J. Casey are the top two prospects in the Class of 2022 in Illinois and have the look of being high-major recruits.
Blake Peters is on an absolute shooting tear. The Evanston sophomore was scorching hot this past weekend from beyond the three-point line.
Peters tied an Evanston single game school record with nine three-pointers in a Friday win over Maine South. He then followed it up with seven three-pointers, including five straight in the fourth quarter, in helping the Wildkits roll Normal West on Saturday.
In fact, Evanston thrived as a team from beyond the arc in the two wins, making a combined 29 three-pointers. Peters connected on a ridiculous 16 of 22 in the two games.
After making 79 three-pointers a year ago as a freshman in helping Evanston to a 27-6 record and third-place finish in Class 4A, Peters has already connected on a whopping 83 threes this season through 24 games. More impressively, the 6-1 guard is shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc.
Behind the perimeter attack of Peters, Lance Jones, Jaheim Holden and Ryan Bost, Evanston is even more prolific from the three-point line this year than last year. The Wildkits are shooting it more and shooting it better as a team, already surpassing last year’s 211 three-point basket total.
Fueled by the gaudy shooting numbers of Peters, Evanston has already made 216 three-pointers this season while shooting 37 percent from the three-point line.
This was supposed to be the year to get to the Chicago Public League powers. The belief was the basketball heavyweights in the city were not as dominant or as talent laden as past teams.
There is still a lot of basketball to be played between now and March, so maybe beating the Public League’s best will still come to fruition. But if the first two months of the season are any indication, Chicago Public League basketball still has a stranglehold on the Chicago area.
Curie, Young, Bogan, Morgan Park, Simeon, Orr and Farragut are a combined 33-2 against suburban and Chicago Catholic League teams this season. Those 33 wins include victories over top suburban and Chicago Catholic League teams that have been ranked this season, including Bolingbrook (two wins), Leo, Bloom, New Trier, Proviso, DePaul Prep and Homewood-Flossmoor among others.
The two lone losses among those seven teams came back in December when Oak Park knocked off Orr and Bloom beat Morgan Park.