Prep notes

O'Rourke and Smith to face each other

2013-12-19T18:00:00Z 2013-12-26T15:00:07Z O'Rourke and Smith to face each otherMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
December 19, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Rich Central coach Bobby Smith joked that his former player will probably take it to him.

Smith's Olympians will play T.F. South and coach John O'Rourke at noon Saturday in the first game of the Crete-Monee Shootout.

"Tell him to take it easy on me," Smith laughed. "Actually, I love it. One of my former players and his team playing us.

"I really am looking forward to a good game with John. I had him, Marc Brewe, their athletic director, (Bremen coach Brian) Flaherty. Great guys."

Smith was an assistant to Fred Jacobeit in the 1990s. O'Rourke said he loves the opportunity and said Smith and Jacobeit had a tremendous influence on them.

"He not only taught us how to work hard and play together, but he (and Jacobeit) taught us how to compete to the best of our ability," O'Rourke said. "We had a winning season in the 1994-95 season, defeated Hillcrest and almost won the conference that year. It was truly remarkable how he and Coach Jacobeit transformed our team.

"Some of my fondest memories as a high school athlete are from the two years we spent together."

O'Rourke said his memories include trying to guard Smith.

"He was unguardable," O'Rourke said.  "It didn't help that he would always have a big smile and a little something to say after he pulled off a ridiculous shot or made an incredible move to the basket. It was so frustrating, but yet so much fun."

Crete-Monee Shootout: Saturday's six-game extravaganza will feature some good matchups.

Crete coach Tom Cappel said he is excited about the pairings. His team will play Lincoln-Way East at 7:30 p.m., right afer Marian Catholic takes on T.F. North.

"We are expecting great games and a great day of basketball," Cappel said. "You will see some great players."

He also credits Lansing Sports Shop owner Tony Rosati for being a sponsor.

"Tony goes back to when I was at Hillcrest with the 'Shootout on the Hill,' and he is a big part of the the community," Cappel said. " ... their support means a lot to us and the coaches."

Taking on all comers: Looking at the T.F. North boys basketball schedule you might notice a lot of games against Chicago Public League schools.

This isn’t because Meteors coach Tim Bankston, a 1984 Simeon graduate, feels an obligation to return to his high school roots or because he thinks playing a schedule loaded with city teams will better prepare T.F. North for the playoffs.

“No one wants to play us,” Bankston said. “When we were down and T.F. North was an easy win, everyone wanted to schedule us. Since we turned things around, I can’t get games in the South Suburbs.”

Although Bankston said the current schedule will have his team ready for a push in March if it can put things together with a young roster, he’d like more games closer to home.

“We’ll play anybody anytime, almost anywhere,” Bankston said. “They just have to call us and sign a contract for a home-and-home, and we’ll play.”

Battle in the desert: The Homewood-Flossmoor girls basketball team is in Chandler, Ariz., to compete in the Nike Tournament of Champions.

The Vikings will played Santa Ana (Calif.) on Thursday in the Joe Smith Division.

Coaches on the floor: Thornton coach Troy Jackson wasn’t taking any bows for brilliantly deploying a 2-2-1 press Tuesday against Andrew, even though the Thunderbolts turned the ball over 27 times in a 66-41 Wildcats win.

Why? It wasn’t his idea.

“The kids basically put the press on themselves,” he said. “And it worked.”

How often does Jackson give his players that latitude?

“When it works,” he said.

There was a pretty good chance it was going to work against the Thunderbolts. Andrew, which turned the ball over on seven of its first eight possessions in the second quarter and six of its first nine in the fourth, came in averaging 22 turnovers per game.

Chicagoland Shootout: The 24th annual McDonald's Shootout will be Jan. 17 to 20 at Willowbrook High School.

It features some of the top girls programs in the country.

Locally, Bloom Township will face Pickerington North (Ohio) at noon Jan. 20. Later in the day, Marian Catholic is scheduled to face Vernon Hills at 3 p.m.

However, if Marian and Rolling Meadows do not play at the Montini Christmas Classic, the two will meet at 3 p.m., according to event organizer Jim Oboye.

— Times correspondents Phil Arvia and Jason Vignone contributed to this report

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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