High school basketball: A look at this weekend’s biggest games


A rough weekend forecast where the pick was 2-3 a week ago, but we’ll get to that in a moment. This is a big, big weekend highlighted by four great matchups on Saturday in Benet’s annual When Sides Collide Shootout, which were previewed on Thursday.

Here are half a dozen other standout matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.

Last week: 2-3

Overall: 14-7

Kenwood (16-3) vs. Camden (NJ) (12-2) at DePaul, Friday

Some of the best players in the country and a legendary name in high school basketball travel to Chicago to take on the top ranked team in Illinois.

Camden’s tandem of DJ Wagner, son of DaJuan Wagner and grandson of Milt Wagner, and the 7-foot Aaron Bradshaw are two of the top five prospects in the country. Both are five-star recruits en route to Kentucky.

A few big questions for Coach Mike Irvin’s team: Can Kenwood’s young frontline hold out against Bradshaw and contain him, and how are the Broncos recovering from a stunning loss to Hyde Park on Thursday night?

The choice: Camden 70, Kenwood 63

Yorkville (18-3) at Joliet West (15-5), Friday

In one of the biggest turnaround seasons a year ago, Yorkville is looking for a statement win. That would be it. Are the young foxes ready for the challenge of Jeremy and Jeremiah Fears and the relentless pressure Joliet West will put on them?

Yorkville, which is on an eight-game winning streak, has three double-digit scorers in the junior trio of 6-9 Jason Jakstys, LeBaron Lee and guard Jory Boley.

Joliet West can’t be caught looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with Young. Tigers do the work at home while the foxes learn a lot from this.

The choice: Joliet West 67, Yorkville 57

Lyons (17-2) at Hinsdale Central (17-3), Friday

Behind Penn recruit Nik Polonowski and brave point guard Jackson Niego, Lyons has lived up to expectations and is exactly where it wants to be.

This time of year brings those early season surprises to real winners. Hinsdale Central is exactly that. The Red Devils just keep winning and haven’t lost in over a month. As a result, coach Nick Latorre’s team at the West Suburban Silver have moved up to a tie with Lyons.

It all starts with Ben Oosterbaan, a 6-5 senior, putting on a stellar senior season. The Red Devils aren’t deep, but the six seniors play together and click.

The choice: 47 Hinsdale Central, 45 Lyon

New Trier (18-3) at Glenbrook North (18-2), Friday

If Glenbrook North can serve at home it would really tighten things up and make the Central Suburban League South race more interesting. New Trier are unbeaten in league play 5-0 while GBN are just behind them at 4-1. And a GBN win would also put Glenbrook South back in the mix with two losses.

The two goalscorers on the wing – New Trier’s Jake Fiegen and Glenbrook North’s Ryan Cohen – receive many accolades. But the game within the game will be point guard. GBN’s Josh Fridman can control a game and change the game with the ball in his hands, while New Trier’s Evan Kanellos is a nuisance for opposing guards. He doesn’t put up big numbers, but he’s tough, defended, and so instrumental in what the Trevians do.

New Trier finds a way down the street and takes command of the CSL South.

The choice: New Trier 62, Glenbrook North 60

Loyola (17-5) at Brother Rice (19-2), Friday

Brother Rice has been at the forefront of high school basketball since the beginning of the season. Coach Conte Stamas came in with a stable of returning players and placed in preseason. So far they have lived up to expectations.

Loyola, meanwhile, sneaks up on some people thanks to the perimeter attack of senior Alex Engro and junior Miles Boland.

Ahmad Henderson, Brother Rice’s scintillating point guard, will have his hands full. Loyola’s Defense has been activated. And that’s not exactly new. The Ramblers always make it difficult for themselves.

But since Coach Tom Livatino’s side lost three straight games in December — and conceded more than 50 points in each of those three losses — Coach Tom Livatino’s side have gone 9-1 in the last 10. Neither team has scored 50 goals in that run, and the Ramblers only allow 35 points per game.

The question is how does favored brother Rice react to difficult timing? The Crusaders came off an emotional victory over rivals Marist on Tuesday and have a marquee match with top-ranked Rolling Meadows on Saturday.

The choice: Brother Rice 44, Loyola 42

Oswego East (17-4) vs. Hillcrest (19-2) in Batavia, Saturday

This is without question the featured game in this year’s Batavia Night of Hoops series. Both Oswego East and Hillcrest are riding a wave of momentum.

Oswego East competed in Joliet West last week and walked away with his biggest win of the season.

Hillcrest not only took care of business earlier this week, they did so in an impressive way, beating both conference opponents Lemont and Curie.

Now the two ranked teams will go head-to-head in an exciting non-conference duel.

Yes, Hillcrest point guard Bryce Tillery makes this team work. But the size and length of the hawks will be the difference. Akron recruit Darrion Baker is a 6-9 matchup problem for Oswego East while 6-6 Quentin Heady, who scored 33 points in the win over Curie, is getting better.

The choice: Hillcrest 70, Oswego East 66