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Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who grew up…

Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson (left) earned two big awards for her recent goal-scoring spree. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Swanson picks up Best XI of Month honors

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Swanson picked up some big honors recently, including being named to the NWSL’s Best XI of the Month for June. This is the seventh time in Swanson’s career and the fourth time as a Red Star she has won a best of the month award. In…

St. Laurence finished second in the state in Class 4A and is looking to win it all in 2024. Photo by Jeff Vorva

A bevy of changes ahead for the 2024 high school football season

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The IHSA’s annual posting of the coming season’s football schedule always gets people talking. This year is no exception. Tears for Fears meets David Bowie as there are changes, changes and more changes; fans might need pencils and scorecards to keep track. As a public service, we here at Southwest Regional…

Houston's Natalie Jacobs (left) and Red Star Ally Schlegel jostle to get to the ball on June 6 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Swanson scores again, Naeher has clean sheet as Fire edge Dash

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Mallory Swanson is Olympics-ready after scoring her fourth goal in four games. Swanson’s left-footed shot in extra time in the first half was the difference in the Chicago Red Stars’ 1-0 win over Houston on July 6 in an NWSL battle before an announced crowd of 5,566 at SeatGeek Stadium in…

Orland Park's Krysta Stanko (in sunglasses) has won the women's division of the Veterans Liberty run three straight years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park woman wins third straight Veterans Liberty Run

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent She did it again. Three for three. Orland Park resident Krysta Stanko won her third straight women’s division championship at the Veterans Liberty Run, held July 3 at Centennial Park in Orland Park. Stanko, an Andrew graduate who will be a sophomore at Governors State, ran the 2-mile course in 12:40.2,…

Worth resident Calista Stefaniak won the Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K run for the second year in a row. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Worth resident Calista Stefaniak wins Stars and Stripes 5K

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Calista Stefaniak won her second straight women’s title in the Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K, held June 29 at the village’s McCarthy Park. Stefaniak, 25, of Worth, ran the course in 20:22.6. She also won the event in 2023 and was runner-up in 2022. “I love how it makes me…

Sandburg junior Jackson Canellis has made hundreds of sandwiches for BEDS Plus. He plans to run 12 miles from Wrigley Field to Guaranteed Rate Field to raise money for the organization. Photo supplied

Sandburg junior to run from Wrigley Field to Sox Park

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Sandburg junior Jackson Canellis isn’t sure if he will be wearing a Cubs or White Sox jersey on Aug. 10 during a 12-mile run. That decision will be up to those who donate to his cause. Canellis, a volunteer at BEDS Plus, is organizing a unique 12-mile run from Wrigley Field…

The Chicago Red Stars' Mallory Swanson was selected for her second Olympics. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Swanson, Naeher headed to Paris seeking gold

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Two Chicago Red Stars standouts are going to Paris to represent the U.S. in the Summer Olympics. Goalie Alyssa Naeher and forward Mallory Swanson have been named to the United States Women’s National Team. Naeher was on U.S. Olympic teams that played in Rio de Janeiro and 2016 and Tokyo in…

Stagg alum Laurie Markatos is an assistant coach with the Greek national softball team.

Laurie Markatos, Dylan Jacobs looking toward 2028 Summer Games

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Laurie Markatos predicted there would be a “flood of tears” her first day on the job. Markatos, The Regional News and The Reporter’s Softball Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997 when she played for Stagg, is an assistant coach of the Greek National Softball Team, also known as the…

basketball stock

Stagg tabs Allee Hernandez to guide girls hoops

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Allee Hernandez has accrued many years of basketball experience as a player and as an assistant coach. She will soon embark on a new experience as a head coach at Stagg, where she will be the Chargers first new head coach in 16 seasons. She succeeds Bill Turner, who stepped down…

St. Laurence senior guard Zerrick Johnson finds an opening against Metea Valley during a game at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Hoops | St. Laurence, Marist, Oak Lawn among teams striving to reach next level

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent   High school boys basketball does not stop in March and pick back up in late autumn. For many players, playing hoops is a year-round commitment. AAU ball is a big reason for, that there are summer camps, shootouts or other events at most schools during the summer. The 21st annual…

Alyssa Naeher clears a ball at North Carolina on June 23 in a 3-1 Red Stars loss. IMAGN photo

Loss to Courage brings Red Stars’ winless streak to five games

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars historic start to the season is all but forgotten. In the last five matches, the Red Stars have failed to win, with the latest setback being a 3-1 loss on the road to North Carolina on June 23 in an NWSL battle. The Red Stars are 5-7-2…

Mount Carmel guard Grant Best looks to drive to the basket while be defending by Lyons senior Ian Polonowski during a game at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Summer League Basketball | Illinois powers compete at Riverside-Brookfield Shootout

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent School’s out for the summer, but high school athletes across Illinois are remaining active during the summer sports season. This includes basketball players, who can be found at camps, open gyms, camps and even weekend tournaments. Among the more high-profile hoops action in the area was the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout, which featured…

Dana Rettke, a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, will play on the U.S. women's volleyball team at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Dana Rettke and Ryan Murphy heading to Paris Summer Games

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area fans of the Summer Olympics will have extra reasons to cheer athletes from the United States in the upcoming Paris Games. Dana Rettke of Riverside is a member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team and Palos Heights native Ryan Murphy will represent the country in swimming. Rettke, a 6-foot-8 middle…

Shepard basketball coach Corey Wolf draws up a play during the Astros game against Argo June 14 at the Stagg Shootout. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Corey Wolf ‘living the dream’ as new Shepard hoops coach

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent For Corey Wolf, obtaining the ultimate high school basketball prize started in the summer of 2007. Wolf was playing for a Richards team that had showed much promise, having gone 26-3 and winning a regional title the previous season. Then-Bulldogs coach John Chappetto let his players know when summer league play…

Mallory Swanson of the Chicago Red Stars had a goal and assist in a 2-2 draw with Kansas City. IMAGN photo

Staab header helps Red Stars forge draw with KC

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Heading into the weekend, only Kansas City and Orlando were unbeaten among NWSL teams. The teams were tied atop the league standings, with each sporting 8-0-4 records. They now share another common denominator: Both have forged draws with the Red Stars. Red Stars defender Sam Stabb’s header in the 90th minute…

NWSL ball

Red Stars unhappy with Riot Fest conflict

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Among the bands that will headline the newly minted Riot Fest music festival are Chicago-area natives Fall Out Boy. The annual concert featuring an eclectic mix of musical acts will be held in Bridgeview Sept. 20-22 — and boy, oh boy, there is a lot of fallout from the Chicago Red…

Sandburg sophomore Daniel Morakinyo is looking forward to the 35-second shot clock, which will be used for the first time in Illinois high school basketball when he is a senior. Photo by Jeff Vorva

It’s about time | Illinois high school hoops gets 35-second shot clock beginning with 2026-27 season

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Count Sandburg sophomore Daniel Morakinyo as someone who can’t wait for the 2026-2027 basketball season. The rising guard/forward will be a senior that year, and he will embrace the IHSA’s implementation of a 35-second shot clock for varsity boys and girls basketball. “It’s a good feature,” Morakinyo said after a game…

Softball stock

Softball | Marist will play for state title for fourth straight season

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Marist returned to the state title game for the fourth straight season with a 7-1 victory over Mundelein in the semifinals, held June 7 at Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria. The Mustangs (36-2) were making their first appearance at state since 1996. “We have a core group of returners,” Marist coach…

Chicago Red Stars player Penelope Hocking signs autographs before the team's match against Bay FC on June 8 at Wrigley Field. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Record crowd sees Bay FC top Red Stars at Wrigley Field

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Historic Wrigley Field hosted its first professional women’s sporting event in 80 years when the Chicago Red Stars hosted Bay FC on June 8. An NWSL-record announced crowd of 35,038  came out on a cool, rainy evening on the North Side and saw the expansion team from the San Francisco Bay…

Marist seniors Caroline O’Brien (left) and Camryn Lyons hold the Class 4A state runner-up trophy after St. Charles North defeated the RedHawks, 7-2, in the championship game on June 8 in Peoria. Photo courtesy of Marist High School Athletics

Softball | St. Charles North rides big inning over Marist for Class 4A state title

By Randy Whalen Correspondent The final game was in doubt until the late innings but, in the end, Marist came up short in its bid for a second consecutive state championship. St. Charles North (25-6) broke open a tied game by scoring five times with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, eventually capturing…

Marist's Nathen Toth (3) was named the boys volleyball state finals MVP by the Illiniois Volleyball Coaches Association. File photo

Boys Volleyball | Marist’s Nathen Toth named state finals MVP

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent   With the IHSA boys volleyball state semifinals and finals championships held on the same day, the round of four tends to get overshadowed once the smoke clears. But Marist’s 28-26, 26-24 semifinal win over Glenbard West in a battle of two of the top five teams in the nation, according…

York's Ben Brown, shown getting ready to serve against Marist in the state championship on June 1, is the son of Chris Brown, who helped Oak Lawn finish fourth in the state in 1993. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Brown family legacy continues in world of Illinois boys volleyball

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Brown family’s legacy continues in the world of boys volleyball. Twins Chris and Eric Brown helped Oak Lawn finish fourth in the IHSA volleyball tournament in 1993, the second year the boys state tournament took place. Though the twins graduated that year, that season served as a springboard for the…

Two-time national wrestling champion Austin O'Connor, a St. Rita graduate, won his MMA debut on June 9 in Texas. North Carolina photo

Don’t sleep on grappling great | St. Rita grad Austin O’Connor starts MMA career with a win

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The “Irish Nightmare” was not about to be put to sleep. Austin O’Connor, a four-time IHSA state wrestling champion during his years at St. Rita, made his professional MMA debut on June 9; and despite some pre-match taunting from opponent Camden Fontenot — who claimed he would put O’Connor to sleep…

Providence's Enzo Infelise dives into third for an RBI triple with Pancho Vazquez ready to field the throw. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Providence edges Mount Carmel in extras to punch ticket to state

By Xavier Sanchez Correspondent After a stirring upset of unbeaten Nazareth to win the Class 4A Reavis Sectional championship, Mount Carmel’s bid for a trip to the state finals ended with a 3-2 extra-inning loss to Providence in the supersectional round. Celtics shortstop Jackson Smith’s single off Matt Murphy drove in Eddie Olszta with the…

Local News

countryside police

Countryside police seek grants for tasers and solar-powered cameras

By Steve Metsch The Countryside Police Department is applying for two grants that are intended to help improve safety. Police Chief Paul Klimek told the city council at its June 12 meeting that he is seeking a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority for tasers. “The state is going to award tasers to…

The retiring owners left this message on the sign at the Saunoris Garden Center in Frankfort. (Photos by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: U-Haul buys Saunoris Frankfort location

By Bob Bong Two years after closing its Chicago Ridge location, Saunoris has closed its garden center in Frankfort. U-Haul has acquired the former garden center at 19600 S. Harlem Avenue. No price was announced, but the property had been listed for $2.5 million on real estate websites. The 6.88-acre property, now called U-Haul Moving…

Nicholas Lipinski now wears the lieutenant’s badge his father Terry, the former chief, wore for the Bridgeview Fire Department. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Son of former Bridgeview fire chief promoted to lieutenant

By Steve Metsch There were a few damp eyes and many big smiles at the most recent meeting of the Bridgeview Village Board. Yep, even firefighters get a bit sentimental, especially when family history is involved. The reason for the emotions was former Bridgeview Fire Chief Terry Lipinski pinned his old lieutenant’s badge on the…

The iconic Arby’s sign at 5656 S. La Grange Road in Countryside, will go dark forever the night of July 7. Arby’s is closing there and Jack in the Box is moving in (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Jack in the Box to replace Arby’s in Countryside

By Steve Metsch Fans of Arby’s in Countryside will have to travel to Downers Grove, Elmhurst and points beyond to get their fix of curly fries and beef sandwiches. The final day for Arby’s in Countryside is July 7, a manager said Saturday night. Arby’s will be replaced by Jack in the Box, Mayor Sean…

Ray Hanania

Orland Park once had a great mayor

How do you assess the failures of Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau? Compare him to his predecessor when it comes to helping people. In July 1996, when Dan McLaughlin was mayor, a dozen areas of Orland Park had been slammed by heavy rainstorms and extensive flooding that caused massive property damage. The Village of Orland…

Pete Fejzuloski, president of the Paisans Pizzeria restaurant chain, cuts the ribbon during the official grand opening ceremonies on June 25 at the Oak Lawn location in the Stony Creek Promenade. He is surrounded by family, employees, and members of the community. To the left of Fejzuloski is Mike Sutko, a member of the Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, Trustee William "Bud" Stalker (5th), Mayor Terry Vorderer, Natasha Miller Williams, president of the chamber; and Steve Loulousis, president of the Oak Lawn Parks Foundation. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizzeria has impressive grand opening in Oak Lawn

Local officials ecstatic about new restaurant By Joe Boyle The origins of Paisans Pizzeria were humble as immigrant Luigi Fejzuloski created the business in a small corner store in Cicero. He was making pizzas in 1985 out of a household kitchen. Soon after that, Luigi was joined by his son, Pete. They both responded to…

Jose Reyes (center) learning at an F.H. Paschen construction site at a suburban housing development. --Supplied photo

From high schooler to civil engineer

. West Lawn man’s 8-year path leads to job with top company . It’s a daunting question for any high schooler: what do you want to be when you grow up? Had anyone asked West Lawn resident Jose Reyes in 2016 when he was in high school, he might not have had a clear answer.…

The crucifix from St. Bernadette Church was put up outside on an Evergreen Park Fire Department truck before a procession to take it to St. Gianna Parish on Sunday. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Large gathering attends final St. Bernadette Mass

Emotional parishioners say their final goodbyes By Joe Boyle They arrived from the nearby neighborhood and from communities far away to attend Mass for the final time Sunday morning at St. Bernadette Church in Evergreen Park. The closing of St. Bernadette Church, 9343 S. Francisco Ave., was announced in January of 2022 as part of…

Janae Banks

Woman charged in Palos Heights robbery

From staff reports A Chicago woman was charged last month with robbery in connection with an incident in May in the parking lot of the Jewel-Osco at 12803 S. Harlem Ave. Police said Janae Banks, 26, was taken into custody on June 22 at a home in the 8800 block of South Indiana Avenue in…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said at the July 1 board meeting that those who have issues with the board should show up at meetings or identify themselves. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park’s Pekau blasts anonymous critics

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau used a little Independence Day history to hammer home a point about anonymous critics on social media who are hammering him and the board of trustees. At the July 1 board meeting, Pekau said attacks were unproductive. “We used to have anonymous robocalls and anonymous letters and…

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