On Friday PHI bounced all around the state for high-quality basketball games. The slate included Joliet West vs Lanier (GA), Hillcrest vs Marian Catholic, Riverside Brookfield vs Curie, Normal Community vs Pewaukee (WI), and Oswego East vs West Aurora. Read…
On Friday PHI bounced all around the state for high-quality basketball games. The slate included Joliet West vs Lanier (GA), Hillcrest vs Marian Catholic, Riverside Brookfield vs Curie, Normal Community vs Pewaukee (WI), and Oswego East vs West Aurora. Read all about it in Around the State: Friday Notebook!
Joliet West Falls to Georgia Squad at TOC
In their third game at TOC Joliet West couldn’t continue their winning ways as they fell to Lanier (GA) 82-74. They actually had a lead most of the game, but Lanier took over late to win. Michigan State commit Jeremy Fears Jeremy Fears 6'1" | PG Joliet West | 2023 State #31 Nation IL had 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 dimes in the loss. In this one he was using his burst off the bounce to get to the rim for scores. Also played above the cup for several dunks including a sick jam on a lob from his brother. Crisp passing as always especially to his shooters. Class of 2025 star Jeremiah Fears Jeremiah Fears 6'2" | PG Joliet West | 2025 State IL dropped 17 points again for the third straight contest. More of the usual from the dynamic sophomore guard as he drilled deep threes along with floaters. Inside UNC-Wilmington commit Matthew Moore Matthew Moore 6'7" | PF Joliet West | 2023 State IL struggled at times against Lanier’s star, but you can also see what makes him intriguing with a mid-range jumper, spin move, massive dunk, and a few blocks for 8 points. Strong bodied 2023 guard Jayden Martin Jayden Martin 6'2" | SG Joliet West | 2023 State IL knocked in a trio from deep for nine points.
Lanier (GA) 2024 Post Looks Like High-Major Material
We came away extremely impressed with 6’8” Lanier (GA) power forward Jayce Nathaniel. Long and lanky four man that shoots it with such an easy stroke from three and finished in traffic over and over again. Rim runner and switchable defender at the next level had 24 points. Also credit Tahai Morgan in this win as well. The lead guard pushed the tempo, made threes, and used his athleticism at the rim for 19 points. The toughness and leadership was brought by Osmar Garcia and Landon Suarez who each had 12 points in the W.
Hillcrest Captures Chicago Heights Title Behind Senior Forwards
Next up we caught the Chicago Heights Tournament title game between Hillcrest and Marian Catholic. Hillcrest jumped out 13-1 and despite a couple of runs by Marian were never really in any danger as they won 57-46. Akron commit and top 10 2023 Darrion Baker Darrion Baker 6'8" | PF Hillcrest | 2023 State #227 Nation IL was a man among boys inside for Hillcrest. So physical and athletic finishing everything around the rim and displaying improved handles creating on his own. One of the more physically dominating players in the state had 21 points. His senior running mate up front Quentin Heady Quentin Heady 6'5" | SF Hillcrest | 2023 State IL had a nice outing as well. Long and rangy wing made threes off the catch and used his quickness on both ends. Good rebounder and defender went for 16 points. Bryce Tillery Bryce Tillery 5'10" | PG Hillcrest | 2023 State IL is the third key senior on this team. The floor general pushed the pace and made shots for 7 points. Really like where the game of 2025 small forward Adam Page is heading. The 6’4” wing is a plus spot up shooter and multi positional defender who went for 8 points. Hillcrest is going to be a really tough team all season!
Jones Leads Way for Marian Catholic, Miss Their PG
Cal Poly commit Quentin Jones Quentin Jones 6'5" | SG Marian Catholic | 2023 State IL was the primary option for Marian Catholic all night. The top 25 senior is a big and strong two guard that was excellent taking it coast to coast for scores in transition. Most of his 19 points came in the open floor or at the free throw line. Physically imposing wing getting downhill. Class of 2024 power forward James Bullock James Bullock 6'7" | PF Marian Catholic | 2024 State IL is really becoming a reliable floor spacer hitting two from distance along with rim running and showing versatile defensive potential in a 12 point outing. Marian Catholic was without their floor general Tre Davis Tre Davis 5'10" | PG Marian Catholic | 2023 State IL and it showed in this one as they turned the ball over too much against Hillcrest’s pressure.
Curie Gets Road Win at RB Behind Toughness of Harris, Harrington, and Ofoma
Anytime you have to play a road game against a team with 3 legit D1/D2 prospects during the first week of the season it is tough. Curie passed the test netting a 67-57 win against Riverside Brookfield. They completely dominated the interior throughout the contest. Top unsigned big man Chikasi Ofoma Chikasi Ofoma 6'6" | C Curie | 2023 State IL showcased why he is a no doubt D2 post with his rebounding, strength, and impact on both ends. He scored 16 points on put backs, spin moves, dunks, and even hit a three to close the half. Jeremy Harrington Jeremy Harrington 6'5" | PF Chicago Curie | 2023 State IL is an undersized post that might not look the part, but he always produces. Scored 10 points in the win and was a presence down low getting put backs and playing defense. On the perimeter it was the Carlos Harris Carlos Harris 6'1" | SG Curie | 2024 State #234 Nation IL show. One of the top combo guards in the 2024 class Harris did what he often does offensively which is get downhill for scores or fouls. Like a running back with the rock when attacking. He showed growth as a passer making several really nice reads on quick decision plays. Defensively he checked the RB star who did get his but Harris made quite a few impactful plays on the night as well for steals that ended up in Curie points. Went for 18 points.
Winona State Signee in Conversation for Top Shooter
One of the best pure shot makers in the state was on full display in this game as Winona State commit Arius Alijosius Arius Alijosius 6'4" | SG Riverside Brookfield | 2023 State IL poured in 30 points for Riverside Brookfield. It was three after three. Moves excellent without the ball to get open and can hit them pulling up as well. Really likes the corners off the catch. Also got to the line several times in his big outing. The 2024 top 25 duo of Will Gonzalez Will Gonzalez 6'4" | SF Riverside Brookfield | 2024 State IL and Stefan Cicic Stefan Cicic 6'10" | C Riverside Brookfield | 2024 State IL each flashed, but wasn’t consistent enough for them to get the W. Gonzalez is a point-forward that is an excellent connector finding his sniper on multiple occasions. His value comes in his ability to dish, defend, and stuff the stat sheet. He had 10 points including a couple of athletic takes to the cup. Cicic is a Niles Notre Dame transfer that brings a huge body inside for RB. Tough matchup with the smaller but more experienced Curie posts. He showed glimpses as a rebounder and post defender scoring 6 points.
Battle of Bigs in Pewaukee (WI) vs Normal Community
Checked out the first half of this showcase game from the Kevin Brown TOC in Washington. The intriguing matchup was between 2023 Iowa State commit Milan Momcilovic and top 10 prospect in Illinois junior center Normal Community’s Jaheem Webber Jaheem Webber 6'10" | C Normal Community | 2024 State #156 Nation IL . Different types of post players. Momcilovic is more of a perimeter oriented power forward that can stretch the floor with his shooting to well beyond the arc with a nice looking three point shot. He had 17 points, 7 boards, and 3 dimes. Jaheem Webber Jaheem Webber 6'10" | C Normal Community | 2024 State #156 Nation IL is a powerfully built five man that is an old school back to the basket center that rebounds well in his area and was most effective finishing around the hoop when he got deep post position and sealed. Rebounded well in his area. Tried a couple threes that didn’t go so well and struggled with length a bit. His stat line was 9 points and 8 rebounds. Pewaukee won 53-32. Couple of other notes on Normal Community Braylon Roman Braylon Roman 6'3" | SG Normal Community | 2024 State IL was out with an injury and Top 30 2024 and potential D1 prospect Noah Cleveland Noah Cleveland 6'8" | PF Normal Community | 2024 IL is no longer playing basketball according to multiple sources.
Oswego East Takes Home Hoops 4 Healing Title Behind Balance
Everyone knows about Oswego East’s star Mekhi Lowery Mekhi Lowery 6'5" | SF Oswego East | 2023 State IL . Don’t get me wrong the Towson commit was excellent, but their top six rotation players are really good with five ranked seniors in the PHI Top 200 along with a potential D1 junior. This is definitely a team to be reckoned with as they defeated West Aurora in the Hoops 4 Healing title game 69-51. Let’s start with Lowery. The long and angular top 15 senior is a versatile and skilled prospect on both ends. He worked well in the mid-range creating space for his jumper, hit a three from the top of the key, and was an absolute force on the glass all game long. His passing might be his most underrated quality as he made sound decisions all night in the half court while netting 10 points. Oswego East got their floor general in transfer Bryce Shoto Bryce Shoto 5'4" | PG Oswego East | 2023 State IL who did a nice job running the show at the point getting others involved in both the half court and transition. Also is a pesky defender and has a sneaky scoring game finishing with 8 points. It seemed like all night Ryan Johnson Ryan Johnson 6'6" | PF Oswego East | 2023 State IL and Mason Blanco Mason Blanco 6'2" | SG Oswego East | 2023 State IL were racing down the court on fly patterns for layups or dunks in transition. Johnson also shot it well from distance netting 14 points. Blanco scored all of his 15 points in the paint or open floor. Jehvion Starwood Jehvion Starwood 6'3" | SG Oswego East | 2024 State IL is a highly ranked junior that was quiet in the first half, but in the second he was a major factor with his shot making from three and getting to his spots for 9 points.
West Aurora Falls Short but has Successful 3-1 Week
It wasn’t the result that they wanted, but a very positive week none the less for West Aurora going 3-1 at the Hoops 4 Healing Tournament and they will get a rematch with Oswego East on Tuesday. In the backcourt top 10 junior Josh Pickett Josh Pickett 6'5" | SG St. Laurence | 2024 State #228 Nation IL had 11 points. He knocked in a couple threes and was solid as a passer. He was just ok to what his lofty standards are. CJ Savage CJ Savage 5'10" | PG West Aurora | 2024 State IL didn’t quite have the touch he did the other day in his monster shooting performance only going for 10 points on a pair of triples. It was three from distance for Jordan Brooks Jordan Brooks 6'2" | SG West Aurora | 2024 IL as the lefty had a nice showing at this event finishing with 13 points. Highly ranked sophomore wing Terrence Smith Terrence Smith 6'4" | SF West Aurora | 2025 State IL showed flashes defensively against Lowery and offensively scored 6 points using his athleticism cutting off the ball and getting on the offensive glass.