Weekend Wrap — Finke excels for surging Chargers

Weekend Wrap — Finke excels for surging Chargers

Every week during the high school basketball season, recruiting blogger MATT DANIELS will give a wrap-up of how Illini commits and targets fared during the previous week's worth of games.

THE RECRUITS
LERON BLACK, a senior forward from Memphis (Tenn.) White Station High School who signed with Illinois on Nov. 15 after committing on Sept. 1, and the Spartans lost a Region 8 AAA championship on Thursday night at Memphis (Tenn.) Central High School, but are still in the postseason. The Spartans suffered an 81-78 loss to Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton High School in the championship game, with Black scoring six points. Prior to the title game, Black scored 11 points during White Station's 67-48 win against Memphis (Tenn.) Overton High School last Tuesday night. Black and the Spartans (30-2) will now square off against Arlington (Tenn.) at 7 p.m. this  Monday in a AAA sectional title game at Arlington. A win against Arlington would advance the Spartans to a spot in the state quarterfinals, set to begin on Wednesday, March 12.

MICHAEL FINKE, a senior forward from Champaign (Ill.) Centennial High School who signed with Illinois on Nov. 13 after committing on Dec. 12, 2012, and the Chargers ended the regular season on a 14-game winning streak. The Chargers beat Decatur (Ill.) Eisenhower High School 64-49 on Friday night, with Finke scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Finke had a career-high 42 points to go along with 15 rebounds during a 68-58 victory at Kankakee (Ill.) High School last Tuesday night. Finke and the Chargers (23-4) are set to open Class 3A regional action at 7 p.m. this Tuesday against either Rantoul (Ill.) High School or Urbana (Ill.) High School in a semifinal game at Champaign (Ill.) Central High School.

AARON JORDAN, a junior shooting guard from Plainfield (Ill.) East High School who committed to Illinois on Jan. 4, and the Bengals won their regular season finale 58-42 at home against Plainfield (Ill.) Central High School on Thursday night. Jordan had 25 points in the win, which gave the Bengals the Southwest Prairie Conference title outright. Jordan and the Bengals (18-9) — who host a Class 4A regional — will start postseason play at 8 p.m. this Monday against Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South High School in a regional quarterfinal game.

D.J. WILLIAMS, a junior forward from Chicago Simeon High School who committed to Illinois on Nov. 5, and the Wolverines (18-6) had the week off. Simeon begins Class 4A regional play at 6 p.m. this Tuesday in a regional semifinal game at Palos Heights (Ill.) Shepard High School against either Shepard or Chicago Hubbard High School.

THE TARGETS
CARLTON BRAGG, a junior power forward from Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, and the Vikings won a Division III sectional championship on Friday night, beating Cleveland Martin Luther King Jr. High School 83-55 at home. Bragg had 11 points in the victory. Bragg and the Vikings started the postseason with a 103-39 victory last Tuesday night against Oberlin (Ohio) High School on the Vikings' home court, and Bragg had 10 points. Bragg, who has offers from Illinois, Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Connecticut, Dayton, DePaul, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Texas, UCLA, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and the Vikings (15-8) are slated to play Columbia Station (Ohio) High School at 6 p.m. this Tuesday at Garfield Heights (Ohio) High School in a district semifinal game.

JALEN BRUNSON, a junior point guard from Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson High School, and the Patriots ended the regular season with a 98-69 win at North Chicago (Ill.) High School last Wednesday, with Brunson scoring 39 points. Brunson, who has offers from Illinois, Connecticut, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, Virginia and Xavier, and the Patriots (26-1) will start Class 4A postseason play at 6 p.m. this Tuesday against either Fox Lake (Ill.) Grant High School or McHenry (Ill.) High School in a McHenry Regional semifinal game.

NOJEL EASTERN, a freshman guard from Evanston (Ill.) High School, and the Wildkits ended the regular season with a 65-52 win at Des Plaines (Ill.) Maine West High School last Tuesday. Eastern, who has interest from Illinois, Creighton, Duke, Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Xavier, among others, and the Wildkits (19-8) will start the Class 4A postseason at 6 p.m. this Tuesday against either Chicago Foreman High School or Chicago Lake View High School in a regional semifinal game at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Ill.
 
HYRON EDWARDS, a junior point guard at East Chicago (Ind.) Central High School, and the Cardinals concluded the regular season with a 71-64 loss at South Bend (Ind.) Washington High School last Friday, which came after an 86-71 loss at Gary (Ind.) Bowman Academy last Tuesday. Edwards scored 18 points against Bowman Academy. Edwards, who has offers from Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, and the Cardinals (11-9) open postseason play at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday against Gary (Ind.) West Side High School in a first-round sectional game at East Chicago.

MONTAQUE GILL-CAESAR, a junior small forward at Huntington (W. Va.) Prep and the Irish ended the regular season with three wins. Huntington beat Legacy Charter out of Greenville, S.C., 71-61 on Sunday afternoon, with Gill-Caesar scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The win Sunday came after the Irish defeated Bull City Prep out of Durham, N.C., 113-72 on Saturday afternoon. Gill-Caesar had 22 points in that victory. Prior to the weekend, Huntington Prep soundly defeated Teays Valley Christian (W. Va.) 108-25 on the road last Thursday. Gill-Caesar, who might reclassify for the Class of 2014 and who has offers from Alabama, Baylor, Kansas, Memphis, Missouri, Providence and West Virginia for the Class of 2014 and offers from Illinois and Ohio State for the Class of 2015, and the Irish have a 27-4 record.

KAIN HARRIS, a junior shooting guard at Chicago Morgan Park High School, and the Mustangs had the week off. Harris, who has offers from Bradley, DePaul, Minnesota, South Carolina and West Virginia, along with interest from Illinois, Creighton, Iowa State, SMU and Tennessee, and the Mustangs (17-6) are set to start postseason play at 6 p.m. this Wednesday in a Class 3A Dolton (Ill.) Thornridge Regional semifinal game against either Olympia Fields (Ill.) Rich Central or Thornridge.

LUWANE PIPKINS, a junior guard at Chicago Bogan High School, and the Bengals had the week off, but are eligible to play in the Illinois High School Association postseason after initially being declared ineligible for having played too many regular season games. Pipkins, who has offers from Bradley, Illinois-Chicago, Massachusetts and Northern Illinois, along with interest from Illinois, Creighton, DePaul, Indiana State, LaSalle and Valparaiso, and the Bengals (24-4) are slated to play either Burbank (Ill.) St. Laurence or Chicago Gage Park at 6 p.m. this Tuesday in a Class 3A St. Laurence Regional semifinal game.

NICK RAKOCEVIC, a sophomore forward at Westschester (Ill.) St. Joseph High School, and the Chargers ended the regular season with a 67-64 win at Chicago St. Rita High School on Friday night. Rakocevic had 20 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Rakocevic, who has offers from Illinois, Creighton, Miami (Fla.) and Northern Illinois, and the Chargers (21-6) are set to start Class 3A postseason play at 7 p.m. this Tuesday in a regional semifinal game on the Chargers' home court against either Chicago Little Village or Chicago Wells.

DIAMOND STONE, a junior center at Whitefish Bay (Wis.) Dominican High School, and the Green Knights won their first two postseason games. Dominican beat Brookfield (Wis.) Academy 69-48 at home on Saturday night in a Division 4 regional championship game, with Stone scoring 32 points. The Green Knights opened the postseason with a 74-31 victory against Greendale (Wis.) Martin Luther High School on Friday night, with Stone scoring 21 points in the regional semifinal victory. Stone, who has offers from Illinois, Arizona, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, Georgetown, Indiana, Marquette, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas A&M, UCLA and Wisconsin, and the Green Knights (21-3) are slated to play Racine (Wis.) St. Catherine's High School at 7 p.m. this Thursday in a sectional semifinal game at Milwaukee South High School.

JAYSON TATUM, a sophomore forward at St. Louis Chaminade College Prep School, and the Red Devils ended the regular season with a 69-59 victory at St. Louis Jennings High School last Thursday night. Tatum had 27 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Prior to Thursday, Chaminade won 78-51 at St. Louis Mary Institute and Country Day School last Tuesday. Tatum produced 29 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the win. Tatum, who has offers from Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Marquette, Missouri and St. Louis, and the Red Devils (23-2) will start postseason play at 5 p.m. on Tuesday with a Class 5, District 8 semifinal game against St. Louis Ritenour High School at St. Louis University High School.

JEREMIAH TILMON, a freshman forward at East St. Louis (Ill.) High School, and the Flyers picked up two wins in the final week of the regular season. The Flyers won 91-50 at home on Friday night against Collinsville (Ill.) High School, which came after East St. Louis won 80-23 at Granite City (Ill.) High School last Tuesday night. Tilmon did not play in either game. Tilmon, who has interest from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and St. Louis, among others, and the Flyers (17-7) open postseason play at 7 p.m. this Wednesday against Belleville (Ill.) West High School during a Class 4A regional semifinal game at Belleville West.

ELIJAH THOMAS, a junior power forward from Lancaster (Texas) High School, and the Tigers saw their season end with a 66-62 loss to Dallas Kimball High School on Saturday in a Class 4A regional final game. Thomas had 20 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks. Prior to Saturday, Thomas registered 17 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks in an 82-77 win against Dallas South Oak Cliff High School on Friday and compiled 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Tigers during an 84-64 victory against Whitehouse (Texas) High School last Monday night. Thomas, who has offers from Illinois, Alabama, Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, UNLV and USC, helped the Tigers finish 31-5 this season.
 

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