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Public League enters spotlight for week of big matchups

High School Sports Weekly
Good morning,
This should be the best week of Public League basketball in two years. Last year’s weird and short season was played in empty gyms. The labor issues between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union canceled most games last week.
We’ve had some good matchups already. Curie and Simeon played for the title in Pontiac and Young and Kenwood met for the Proviso West championship, but those games don’t have the same electric atmosphere as a Public League gym with students in the stands.
Hopefully the CPS labor issues are worked out early this week and students get to attend the games. I doubt many will attend if school isn’t in session. 
Simeon is at Kenwood tomorrow. Kenwood is at Curie and Hyde Park is at Simeon on Thursday. Young travels to Orr for a Red-North/West showdown on Friday.
Those are just the top tier games. There are excellent rivalry games scheduled all over the city. It should be fun. 
Michael O'Brien, High School Sports Editor

Super 25 rankings
Burlington Central’s gym. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
Burlington Central’s gym. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times
It was a week where a lot of teams played themselves out of the rankings but absolutely no one played their way in. That always makes things tough. A lot of teams hold on despite losing this week.
Bolingbrook drops out for the first time this season. The Raiders lost to Andrew and St. Ignatius. They have a challenging week ahead and could get back into the Super 25 next Sunday if they pull off a nice win.
Evanston also drops out. The Wildkits lost to Maine South. I think Mike Ellis’ squad has a chance to be pretty good this season, but like many teams in the area they are a work in progress right now.
Bloom is back. The Blazing Trojans were upset by Joliet West at Pontiac (playing a good team in back to back games is tough, just ask Glenbrook South) but they have a very solid resume.
DePaul Prep also returns to the rankings. I dithered around about what to do with this spot for awhile. Barrington and Huntley were both considered but their overall strength of schedule just isn’t strong enough at this point. I’m also keeping a close eye on Lake Park, Andrew and Glenbrook North
It’s striking how many good teams are currently not in the rankings. Thornton, Clark, Marian Catholic, St. Ignatius, St. Rita, and North Lawndale have all shown the potential to beat the very best teams in the area, but are sitting outside the Super 25 for various reasons.
1. Glenbard West (16-0) 1
2. Kenwood (12-3) 2
3. Simeon (11-1) 3
4. Glenbrook South (14-1) 4
5. Curie (15-1) 5
St. Ignatius beats Bolingbrook, starts to fulfill preseason promise
Barrington’s Will Grudzinski heats up in third quarter to take down Palatine
Michael O’Brien’s high school basketball notebook for Jan. 8
Phillips community excited for Billingsley
When Alabama takes on Georgia in college football’s national championship game tonight, the Phillips community will be watching Crimson Tide star Jahleel Billingsley closely throughout the game.
Billingsley, a former Phillips star, may have modest numbers, but he plays an important role in Alabama’s passing game.
Current Phillips coach Joe Winslow, who was the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator during Billingsley’s prep years, said there’s been a buzz around the school as players make plans for a viewing party this evening.
Former Phillips star Jahleel Billingsley looks to add another championship ring with Alabama
More high school sports news
  • J.W. Smith, one of the Public League’s most successful football coaches before introducing numerous innovations as its executive director of sports administration, died on Saturday at age 84.
  • Last week St. Patrick hired Luke Mertens, a 1994 graduate of the school, to be its next head football coach. Mertens previously served as the football coach at Lakes and Lake Zurich.
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