Stunning array of basketball powerhouses playing in Chicagoland Summer Showcases

ROCKFORD – In less than two weeks, Rockford will be hosting the most varied group of high school basketball powerhouses in the United States over two weekends.

The Chicagoland Summer Showcases I and II take place June 21-23 and June 28-30 at Rockford Guilford, Rockford East, Rockford Auburn High Schools and Rock Valley College.

There will be 29 of these high school basketball tournaments taking place over those weekends throughout the country, but Rockford has attracted some of high school basketball’s top programs from Chicago to Ohio to Florida.

Archbishop Moeller High School of Kenwood, Ohio, is a headliner for June 21-23. The Crusaders have won the top division of Ohio’s state tournament the past two seasons and have gone 88-4 over the past three.

Among the other top programs who will be playing in Showcase I:

  • Moeller rival, Centerville, which went 23-6 this past season and fell to the Crusaders in the regional finals. Centerville is 101-37 over the past five years.
  • Lima Senior, another Ohio powerhouse, finished 22-5 this past season. The Spartans lost in the regional finals to eventual state runnerup, St. Vincent-St. Mary, the alma mater of LeBron James.
  • Evansville Bosse of Indiana also is in the June 21-23 field. The Bulldogs qualified for the 2016-2017 state finals in 2016-2017 and then finished second in the 3A tournament in 2017-2018 before going 17-8 last season.
  • Belleville Althoff Catholic, which is trying to rebuild to its past glory. The Crusaders finished second in the IHSA 3A state tournament in 2014-2015 and then won the 3A state title in 2015-2016 under hall of fame coach Greg Leib. Althoff Catholic suffered a down year in 2017-2018 but improved to 17-14 this past year.
  • Springfield Lanphier is in the field, hoping also to reach past heights. The Lions were just 16-16 this past year but have gone 145-56 under coach Blake Turner over seven seasons, including winning five regional titles and finishing fourth in Class 3A in 2017.
  • Bellevue West is coming off a 26-2 season. The Thunderbirds made it to the semifinals in Nebraska’s largest division where they lost to Omaha Central.
  • Madison La Follette of Wisconsin was 23-7 in 2018-2019, its second straight 20-win season under coach Reggie Williams.
  • Sheboygan Area Lutheran, the Wisconsin Division 5 state champions, has entered coming off a 27-2 season. The Crusaders are 46-8 over the past two years.

Nearly 50 schools have committed for June 21-23. Fourteen of the entrants come from Ohio, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana or Michigan.

The big addition in the past couple of weeks to Showcase II from June 28-June 30 is Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s powerful Westminster Academy program.  The Lions have won the past three Class 4A state championships and finished second in 2015-2016. Over the past four seasons, Westminster is 101-22.

Among the top programs who will be in Rockford for Showcase II:

  • The storied Wolverines of Chicago Simeon will be in Rockford looking to build back to another title run. Simeon has won six IHSA state titles since Robert Smith took over the program in 2004-2005. This past year, though, the Wolverines were just 20-15. It was the school’s most losses in a season since before 1980. That is a little deceiving, though. Simeon now is a national program. The Wolverines played powerhouses from Ohio, California, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Maryland.
  • Mehlville of Saint Louis is coming off a 25-8 season. The Panthers made it the Elite Eight of Missouri’s Class 5 state basketball tournament.
  • Chicago Bogan finished 30-4 this past weekend, losing the 3A title game to East St. Louis in overtime. The Bengals are 108-36 over the past five years.
  • Chicago Providence St. Mel, the defending 1A state champions, has entered the small school division. The Knights crushed Cissna Park, 52-29, to win the school’s second IHSA state title.
  • Neenah, which went 19-8 this past year and made it Wisconsin’s Final Four in its largest high school class. The Rockets are 84-41 over the past five years.
  • Vashon is the defending Class 3 champion in Missouri. The Wolverines went 26-4 and beat Springfield Catholic, 69-59, in the title game. It was Vashon’s third Missouri state title in the past four years. The school is 100-17 in those seasons.
  • Saint Louis De Smet Jesuit is looking to build upon a remarkable turnaround in coach Kent Williams’ first year. The Spartans were just 33-55 from 2014-2015 to 2017-2018. Williams took over in 2018-2019 and coached De Smet to a 23-7 record.
  • Omaha Central finished second in Nebraska’s largest division. The Eagles went 22-6 and lost the championship game to Omaha South, 58-56, on a last-second shot. Omaha Central is 83-22 over its past four seasons.

Nearly 60 schools have entered the big school division for Showcase II. Twenty of those teams come from Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska.

Posted on 06.12.19