IHSA Boys basketball Class 3A Supersectional Preview!!!!!!
Updated: Mar 7
It's been a crazy post season full of drama, buzzer beaters, upsets, and teams have survived and advanced. Supersectional Monday to me is the best day on the calendar for boys basketball in Illinois. Most of these teams are senior laden squads (rightfully so). All four teams that played in Champaign last year may make it this year (Simeon, St Ignatius, Sacred Heart Griffin, Metamora). So close to the holy grail (Champaign), yet so far. Here we go:
Hillcrest (Country Club Hills) vs Simeon Career Academy (Chicago) at University of Illinois Chicago: Both of these schools have won state titles in their history. This is Coach Robert Smith's last run at Simeon.
Hillcrest (Country Club Hills): Rebound, rebound, and rebound some more. Akron commit Darrion Baker (6'9' senior wing), Reuben "Tolu" Samuels (6'6" wing), and Quentin Heady (6'7" wing) will have to be fearless. They'll have to play their usual game and attack the basket on the offensive end, and rim protect on defense. Guards Bryce Tillery (5'10" senior) and Jayquan Ratliff (5'10" junior) will have to be efficient on offense and pests in defense. Will be hard with Simeon's point guard. Needs to hit some threes in the college gym.
Simeon Career Academy (Chicago): Loaded with division one players, size, length, and just enough outside shooting. Everything starts with Jacksonville commit Jalen Griffith (5'10" senior guard). He controls tempo, can shoot from three and mid range, and is a pest on defense. X-Factor is Toledo commit Sam Lewis who loosens up defenses with his three point shooting. 6'9" senior Rubin twins Miles (Loyola Chicago commit) and Wes (Northern Iowa commit are elite rim protectors, can step out and hit outside shots, and score on putbacks. Other starter is Michael Ratliff (6'0" senior guard). They have a couple of players off the bench Steve Turner (6'10" senior forward), Stonybrook commit Kaiden Space (6'0" guard), and Rashard McKinnie (6'2" junior guard).
St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago) vs Central (Grayslake): St Ignatius is back for second straight year, Central (Grayslake) won their first ever Sectional title.
St Ignatius College Prep will have to lean on it's experience of being this deep last year. George Mason commit Richard Barron (6'6" senior wing) has come on in the post season. Miami, Ohio commit Jackson Kotecki (6'9" senior forward) have been here before on the floor. Reggie Ray (6'3" junior wing) watched a lot last year but is making the most of his time on the court this season. Slashing wing puts pressure on the defense. Phoenix Gill (6'3" sophomore point guard) will have to be steady running the show.
Central (Grayslake) will need huge games from they big three seniors of Dennis Estepp (6'2" point guard), Sam Cooper (6'3" guard), and College of Lake County commit Jake Gibson (6'7" forward). Estepp and Cooper are knock down three point shooters and Estepp is a slick passer that can run an offense. Gibson is a rebounder and rim protector who can score on post ups on the block. If they are all clicking they can pull the upset and get to Champaign for the first time.
Marmion Academy (Aurora) vs Metamora at Ottawa Township High School: The only game left on a high school floor. Which team will that help the most? Marmion has already made history with first Regional and Sectional titles since 1976. Metamora finished 2nd last year and wants to win it this time.
Marmion Academy has a big three themselves all seniors Collin Wainscott (6'0" point guard), Lewis University commit Jabe Haith (6'3" guard), and Trevon Roots (6'7" wing) who have been through a tough Chicago Catholic League schedule. Wainscott can run an offense, is good at drawing fouls, and hits the three pointer at a high rate. Haith can take you off the bounce and hit step back threes. Roots is an inside/outside force who rim protects and blocks shots like a madman. Hits the glass and can hit three pointers. This team moves the ball well and gets an open shot in their half court offense. Hits you with quick three pointers on the fast break. Other starters are Jacob Piceno (6'1" senior guard) and Henry Dalmann (6'4" senior forward) who helps on the glass.
Metamora is an experienced team who's been this far before, moves the ball well, sends everyone to the defensive glass, and can spread you out and hit threes. Have a current winning streak of 29 straight and has not lost in 2023. South Alabama commit Ethan Kizer (6'6" wing) can slash and dunk on you, or hit a stand still three. Senior wing Tyson Swanson (6'3" senior ) can jump out of the gym and hits the glass. Tyler Mason (6'1" junior point guard) runs the show and athletic Luke Hopp (6'7" junior forward) helps on the interior. Briar Creemens (6'1" senior forward) does the dirty work for Metamora.
East St Louis vs Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield) at Bank of Springfield Center: Rematch from this same round last season. Sacred Heart Griffin won by a blowout. East St Louis will be looking for revenge this time around and look to knock out the defending champs.
East St Louis has Kansas State commit Macaleab Rich (6'7" senior wing) who can jump out of the gym and is a double/double machine. His partner is Cal Poly commit Antwan Robinson (6'6" senior wing) who can score from outside and slash to the rim. They have more size in Demarion Brown (6'8" senior forward), Cameron Boone (6'10" senior center) and Davis Bynum (6'7" junior). Guard play will be key with McKenly Falconer (5'8" senior point guard) and D'Neeco Rucker (6'5" senior wing).
Sacred Heart Griffin may need another huge game from forward Zack Hawkinson (6'6" senior forward) as he had 25 points and 20 rebounds in Sectional Final. He's a double/double machine but will have to stay out of foul trouble against East St Louis size. These guys know how to win as a lot of them have both football and basketball state title rings. Guards Ke'Shon Singleton (6'1" senior guard), an Air Force football commit, Hamilton twins Jake(6'4" guard), a Quincy commit and Will (6'3" guard) will have to help Hawkinson on the glass. J'Veon Bardwell (5'11" senior point guard) runs the show.